Do you believe in magic? For most, the answer would be “no.” A logical explanation can usually be found for how the rabbit was pulled from a hat, or the magician’s assistant placed inside a box and seemingly sawed in half. But rabbits and boxes are tangible items – a careful analysis of the illusion and perhaps some help from a slow motion replay will usually reveal the secrets behind the magic. However, the magic taking place right now in the Lower School isn’t as easy to explain.
Tomorrow begins the second week of our 1st Annual “Math is Magic” Challenge. Last week, all students in grades K-5 were given a different challenging math word problem each day. Students are working together with classmates, drawing bar models and pictures, and explaining their own unique ways of solving the problems. They are comparing their answers with one another and checking for the reasonableness of their solution. The total number of correct answers are tallied daily for each grade and recorded on a bulletin board for all to see.
So what is it that makes a school-wide math challenge so magical? The magic isn’t in the problem solving or the collaboration among students. It’s not in the graphing of the number of problems solved correctly. It’s not even in the students’ ability to apply learned skills to tackle math concepts not yet encountered in class. The magic is in the excitement and engagement level of the students. Students are discussing math problems while walking through the hallways and at recess. They are talking with one another about the best way to come up with a solution. They are actually protesting when they think the problem is too easy. And they are asking for MORE – more problems, harder problems, challenging problems. Posnack students are saying that math is FUN!
The fun and excitement continue this week as we welcome the world-renowned “Mathemagician,” Dr. Arthur Benjamin, to our school for what is sure to be an incredible performance showcasing the magic of math. We invite you to join us this Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m. in the Orlove Auditorium at the JCC. Will Dr. Benjamin pull rabbits out of a hat or saw his assistant in half? Probably not – but he will most certainly perform other incredible feats that will surely leave you amazed.
So, will the magic of math continue to take place at Posnack? Absolutely! There is incredible learning taking place in and around the classrooms, the hallways, and even the playground. With the discovery that math CAN be fun, the students are not likely to let that magical feeling disappear into thin air anytime soon.