Archive for Thursday, January 3, 2002

Counting on student help

Solving math problems helps solve children’s problems

January 3, 2002

The driving force in getting students to work math problems is usually the promise of a good or at least passing grade. At Eudora Middle School, however, 17 seventh-graders worked about 250 math problems each outside of their regular math homework, knowing other children were counting on them.

"We try to focus on (the fact) you're raising money for kids with cancer, and that kind of motivates them," said middle school math teacher Marla Johnson, whose students raised $1,627.54 in the Math-a-Thon for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

"They did a great job," she said. "For 17 kids, that's a lot of money."

The project had students find friends and family to sponsor them by pledging a certain amount of money for each math problem completed in a booklet of 250 problems.

Although some schools organize a program where businesses match the money raised by the students, Johnson said she tried to keep it low-key. She did offer the students extra credit as an incentive, even though most of the students liked math, anyway.

"Most of them do enjoy doing the math problems they had," she said.

The nation-wide program contacts the school each year. The contest begins around Oct. 1 and the booklets are collected two weeks later.

Seventh-grader Tim Durkin collected the most money for St. Jude by earning the hospital $264.68. He also won prizes, like a CD player and a theme park pass.

Although students didn't have to complete all 250 problems, Durkin did.

"I like math," he said. "It's my favorite subject."

He said he completed the problems over two nights, spending a half of an hour each time.

"They're pretty easy," he said.

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