By Samantha Marquise, Baylor University Intern
Math is notoriously one of the trickiest subjects to learn, especially at a young age. However, math is part of the foundation for higher level learning and an essential part of elementary school curricula. This predicament leaves many searching for better ways to teach math than typical fact-memorization lessons. One South Bosque Elementary teacher is taking on this challenge. By implementing the Think Tank Series into the classroom, Neta Kay Penson hopes to help students solve math at higher cognitive levels and change the way students view math.
The Midway Education Foundation was able to grant Ms. Penson the new Think Tank program in order to help children approach math from a new perspective. However, the program will not only help Ms. Penson’s classroom. All 1st through 4th grade teachers at South Bosque will have the opportunity to utilize Think Tank in their classrooms. The elementary school is even working to allow select kindergarteners with higher level math abilities to join in on the innovative learning.
The Think Tank Program is designed to be beneficial in all types of learning environments, from individual practice to whole class activity. The program consists of activities designed to go beyond the simple recall of information, instead reinforcing problem-solving practices and the use of strategy to complete the challenge. Ms. Penson says that, although the activities can be challenging, the program helps students master different math topics and advances their math abilities. As students progress through the activities, Think Tank rewards students for their accomplishments, encouraging them to continue working and learning. Furthermore, students have the ability to share their successes through IPad apps, allowing teachers, parents, and other students to view their progress and congratulate them. This new form of engagement with mathematics brings excitement to the learning process.
The Think Tank program is working to redefine learning math in South Bosque Elementary School. Both teachers and students are interacting with math in a new way, bringing a fresh face to the subject. For teachers, Think Tank makes math less daunting, fostering a healthy environment for students to learn. As for students, the program will not only benefit their basic math skills, but will also sharpen their cognitive and problem solving abilities, all of which are essential in the learning process.
This grant has been named in honor of Lone Star Truck Group in appreciation of their long-time support, but all of the Education Foundation’s donors made this possible. For more information about the Midway ISD Education Foundation and their programs, visit www.midwayisd.org/foundation.