On Friday mornings for the past three years, grades 1-3 students have met in mixed level teams for math enrichment. They travel to other classrooms to play games and participate in activities that review a variety of number concepts and skills. Each year, as a math department, teachers look for common threads that will focus on skills needing extra practice and review by the students, and those become the math mingle themes.
The first unit this year began with students in each grade being introduced to a different math-themed book and engaging in an activity related to the book: creating images out of different polygons, exploring area and perimeter of a rectangle, or using balances to weigh and compare various objects. The second unit focused on pumpkins students brought to school. In first grade they estimated the number of seeds in a pumpkin based on a story read aloud, in second grade students measured pumpkins in inches, tallied data, and created a bar graph, and in third grade, students measured pumpkins in centimeters and created a bar graph using that data.
Student reports about their learning reflected the range of opportunities to learn and grow in math, leadership, and collaborative skills. A second grader said, “We learned how to measure and use a ruler in both inches and centimeters, and find items that are equal in weight. We learned how to work with everyone and not just by ourselves.”
Math mingle has become a fondly remembered primary experience at our K-8 school. At a recent assembly when this year’s participants reported on what they had learned, audience members were asked to raise their hands if they had been part of math mingle and the audience buzzed as those students reminisced!