Students lead family math night in Darlington

Sixteen University of Wisconsin-Platteville elementary education students recently led “Power Up Your Math Skills Night” for students at Darlington (Wisconsin) Elementary School and their families.

The goal of the event was to provide worthwhile, exciting mathematics explorations for the Darlington elementary students and their parents and a meaningful public relations connection between the Darlington Title I program and the Darlington community. For UW-Platteville students, it was an opportunity to research and prepare enticing investigations and deliver them, tailoring them to the widely diverse audience of children and parents as they came to participate in the activities.

The UW-Platteville students are enrolled in Teaching Elementary Mathematics, taught by Dr. Jodean Grunow, senior lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and academic staff member in the School of Education at UW-Platteville.

Activities included investigations designed to develop number sense, counting skills and mathematical thinking skills as well as give participants an opportunity to work with money values, graphing, fractional identification and operations. In addition to the activities developed by the university students, Mathematicum explorations were offered by Dr. Jason Thrun, Dr. Barb Barnet and Dr. Mary Paler, all from UW-Platteville’s Department of Mathematics. Through these activities, children and families were able to think “outside the box” and solve puzzles, test building skills and interact with the university’s mathematics professors and students.

To prepare for the activities, UW-Platteville students carefully studied Darlington Elementary School’s curriculum and selected activities they thought would be interesting and fun for the children. They then met with Jean O’Neill, reading specialist/Title I at Darlington Community School District, who came to their class to discuss their activities and her expectations for the event. Next, they prepared the necessary materials, appropriate signage, listing of the standards and practices addressed in the activities, take-home activities for the students to continue learning at home and brief assessment measures to address success of the endeavors.

Grunow noted the Darlington Title I program, under the direction of O’Neill, has offered such learning opportunities for families with great success for the past 10 years, but this was the first experience with a focus on mathematics.

“This was a wonderful opportunity for our students to connect with students, parents, staff and the Darlington community,” said Grunow. “There were many positive comments from parents, children and the staff.”

“I was very pleased and impressed with the college students’ appearance, activities and professionalism,” said O’Neill. “Thank you for coming to Darlington.”