Math is in the air at Holy Cross School. The Catholic elementary school has been revamping its math program and integrating more STEM projects both in the classroom and in extra-curricular activities.
Holy Cross has implemented a new math curriculum for K through Grade 4. Supervisor of Curriculum Mrs. Alison Mitchel states, “My Math, by McGraw-Hill, provides rigor, personalization, and engagement to students while being fully aligned with the Common Core State Standards. It inspires students to embrace math through real-world applications and enables students to steadily grow their math ability and confidence. Teachers can log on to ConnectED Teacher Center to customize and personalize their plans with presentations, differentiated instruction, Talk Math, Vocabulary Cards, Foldables® and learning stations.” Grade 1 teacher Mrs. Robin Arnheiter explains, “I have found My Math to be very engaging for the students. Each lesson includes many fun and interactive resources that we can use on our Smartboard. I like that manipulatives are used in each lesson. I also like that there are word problems at the end of each lesson, as well.”
To support math instruction, teachers are incorporating interactive STEM projects into the classroom. Grade 3 celebrated Halloween by having a Candy Corn Tower Challenge, in which student groups attempted to build the tallest structure made of candy corn and toothpicks. Each group received 100 toothpicks, 1 cup of candy corn, and a brainstorming sheet to plan their project. Cecilia Tur’s plan stated, “We have four different ideas: The Leaning Tower of Candy Corn, the Candy Easel, the Eifel Candy and Candy York. We brainstormed our ideas and put them together. We will make them with our bare hands. If our tower does not work, we have two back-up ideas.” Teacher Miss Emily Bagnell and In-Class Support Mrs. Diane Kelly were amazed at the children’s determination as they tried over and over to make more stable structures. Miss Bagnell states,”STEM is such a strong learning model that encourages the students to think outside the box. Through our candy corn tower, students learned how to think critically, work together, problem-solve and be creative!” The winning group was Jack Furlong, Matthew Huss and Briana Mascolo’s table.
On Wednesday, October 19, 2016, Holy Cross School hosted its first ever Family Math Night for students in Grades 3 to 5. Spearheaded by Advanced Math teacher Mrs. Kathy Chadwick and Paced Math teacher Mrs. Marcie Forsyth, the program was designed to get children and their parents excited about math. On arrival, each student was given a folder of interactive STEM projects, which were stationed in each of three classrooms. At their leisure, students and their parents worked their way around the stations. They did scavenger hunts for geometric shapes, played fraction golf, built tetrahedral kites, constructed geodesic domes out of toothpicks and gumdrops. The biggest hit of the night was the chance to build the tallest tower of plastic cups. Adele Mac Gregor and Matthew Makin, both third graders, earned bragging rights for the highest towers.
In Grades 6-8, the Holy Cross MATHCOUNTS National Math Club is hard at work, going for its third straight year of Gold Level status. The MATHCOUNTS website states, “The MATHCOUNTS Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides engaging math programs to U.S. middle school students of all ability levels in order to build confidence and improve attitudes towards math and problem solving.” Gold Level status recognizes Holy Cross for a consistently high level of student participation and completion of MATHCOUNTS projects over several years. This year’s project, proposed by the national organization, challenges student groups to a scavenger hunt. They will look for real world examples of the terms they discuss in math class. The list includes “acute angle,” “dilation,” “tessellation,” and “quadrant,” to name a few. The groups must create an activity or presentation to be used in the classroom or for future club members. Moderators Mrs. Marcie Forsyth and Mrs. Kathy Chadwick are confident their group will “go for the gold” again!
Holy Cross School, founded in 1941, is dedicated to educating the whole child in faith, knowledge and character in a God-centered, family atmosphere. For more information, please visit www.holycrossschoolrumson.org or call 732-842-0348, ext 1128, to schedule a visit.