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News from Mathnasium of Greenville Five Forks

Math with a Mission

Jan 19, 2018

As published in Five Forks Neighbors Magazine
By Dawn Sheriff, Owner/Director
Mathnasium of Greenville Fiveforks

Did you know that children decide by the end of 3rd or 4th grade whether or not they are “math people”? Elementary school teachers know this is true and studies back this up. The fact is, though, that we are all capable of being math people. That psychological seed of doubt starts early and runs deep. 

Here’s more food for thought.  According to Business Insider (Dec. 6, 2016), the 2015 PISA (Program for International Student Assessment), “The US saw an 11-point drop in average score for math (from 2012), while remaining relatively flat in reading and science. The PISA is a worldwide exam administered every three years that measures 15-year-olds in 72 countries. About 540,000 students took the exam in 2015.” We are #40 on this list, factor in the ties and we’re #32. Either way, we’re not even in the top 10! How can our kids compete in a global marketplace when we are doing such a poor job of preparing them for it?

What’s the answer? We need to “math” with our kids the way we read to our kids. We need to teach math to kids in a way that makes sense to THEM. We need to teach it to them when they are developmentally ready to receive it. We need to stop teaching to the test and let teachers do what they do best—TEACH!  We also need to do math with our kids at home in a fun and valuable way. Cook with your kids and teach them about fractions with the measuring tools in your kitchen drawers. Talk about how to double a cookie recipe for a big crowd or cut recipe in half for a smaller meal.

It only takes one year of struggling with math in school to totally wreck a kid’s confidence. When confidence goes down, all the grades can suffer. Fix the math problem—at the source, and the reverse can happen.  It is truly life-changing! 

Our mission at Mathnasium is to provide parents and educators with the support they need to help every child succeed in math.  Together, we can make a difference!   

Now let’s go make some sugar cookies from scratch and math with the kids. (And please don’t tell my mom I published her recipe!)

Mom’s Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookie Recipe

1 cup of real butter (softened)
2 eggs
½ tsp. nutmeg
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp. of baking soda
3 cups of plain flour
½ tsp. vanilla
Colored sugars & sprinkles
Shaped cutters

In a large bowl, beat eggs, sugar, vanilla & butter. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, soda & nutmeg. Add flour mixture gradually to egg mixture using beaters first and then hands. (The complete mix is a bit dry.) Make 2 or 3 balls and place in refrigerator to chill. Then roll flat on a lightly-floured surface. Cut out w/shaped cutters, and place on cookie sheet. Decorate with sprinkles or sugars. (You can use the bottom of a glass to lightly press decorations in place.) Bake at 375 degrees for 5-8 minutes. (Makes about 2 dozen.)