St. Dominic School Math Night adds up to educational fun

Posted: Nov. 24, 2012 9:22 pm Updated: Dec. 8, 2012 11:15 pm

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

Students at St. Dominic School and their families will be embroiled in a host of math-related activities during the school's "Math Night" from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday in the St. Dominic gymnasium.

The general public is invited to take part in this free event.

Nan Wood, the school's technology coordinator, said the aim of Math Night is to give students an opportunity to explore various math concepts in interactive ways that make learning fun and interesting.

"It's not just reading out of a textbook or doing worksheets or doing problems on the board," she said.

Activities will include a Metric Mania Olympics in which students will compete in events measured and scored using metric units. For example, a discus throw using paper plates, a paper straw javelin throw and a cotton ball shot-put event will all be measured in centimeters.

Meanwhile, a "sponge squeeze" event will measure liquids in milliliters, and a metric scavenger hunt will require students to locate items measured in metric units.

"We're about the only country in the world that doesn't use the metric system, so our kids need to learn it," Wood said. "They're going to get a really good grasp of what the metric system is all about just by doing these activities."

Another activity will focus on tessellations -- the process of creating patterns by repeating geometric shapes with no overlaps or gaps. A honeycomb, for instance, is a natural tessellation made by bees.

Wood said students will get a chance to create their own tessellation designs during Tuesday's program.

Another station will focus on tanagrams -- ancient Chinese puzzles that consist of seven pieces that fit together to form geometric patterns.

Younger students will get a chance to count to 100 by 1s, 5s and 10s.

Wood said students also will get some exposure to math concepts involving functions and sequences.

"Those are all math concepts that can be very difficult to understand. But when you have manipulatives that students can get in their hands and work with, it's much easier for that student to understand what it's all about," she said.

Tuesday's event is the latest in a series of "curriculum night" activities sponsored by St. Dominic School over the past few years. Some previous events included a Geography Night, Art Night, Forensics Night and Music Night.