Reinforce math skills at a family fun math night! Family math nights are a great way to promote family time at home with a math focus. Parental attendance demonstrates to children the value and importance of their math education. It also provides an opportunity for students to showcase the math they are learning. Even Microsoft has seen the importance of getting parents involved in math education and since 2006 has promoted Family Math Nights by establishing Microsoft Math Partnership which funds regional projects around the state of Washington that encourage math awareness and growth. In doing so, they hope to increase the number of students who achieve proficiency in algebra in their middle school or early high school years. Algebra is the “gatekeeper” for students’ participation and success in secondary math and science; the math concepts taught in algebra provide a foundation for higher level math competencies.
To make a successful family math night, MANGO Math provides one step to success. Set up “stations” around the gym, library or living room and let parents, siblings and friends spend 10-15 minutes at each, playing games, reading books, and doing activities together. Include some of the MANGO Math activities that mimic how you use math every day- in counting money, finding patterns, or using fractions to illustrate how math skills are important throughout life. Have parents share their experiences with math in their lives both at home and at work. Many games include supplies that parents may have in the home, like cards, coins and dice, and can then reinforce math skills at home in a fun, engaging way. The directions page for instructors includes games that can be copied and sent home with parents.
Other ways to enhance Family Math nights are to including math in a school science fair to help expand upon the experiments and inventions that promote STEM learning. Invite a scientist and a mathematician to come and speak about their Jobs and the role math plays in their every day lives. Include a local game store to come in and sell games, math kits and science kits. Create bulletin board displays of mathematical art like tessellations, geometrical shape silhouettes, and/or fractional quilt-like designs.