MARCH 17, 1997
Third grader Garrett Green and his mother Kim Green at the Kokanee Travel Booth planning a trip to Washington D.C. and Orlando at the Math Mania Mall.
Photo by Deborah Stone/Northwest News.
by Deborah Stone
Welcome to Math Mania Mall, a place where kids can shop and use everyday math to buy food and books, play games, sing at a karaoke, plan their dream vacation, paint ceramics, and enjoy putting together their own plants. For one night, Canyon Creek Elementary School's gymnasium was transformed into a Math Mall where families came for fun opportunities to interact, learn, and apply math to real life experiences.
The Mall was the brainchild of Canyon Creek parent Linda Robertson who wanted to make the school's yearly family math night a different, more exciting event. Both Canyon Creek's PTA and Kokanee Elementary's PTA sponsored the innovative evening which provided an excellent opportunity for schools and the community to work together. Several local businesses were represented at the Mall and donated various items and door prizes.
"The response from the community was very positive and I think the stores involved were delighted to be a part of making math a real life skill," said Robertson.
Alexa's On Main provided free coffee and all the ingredients for making mini-pizzas. Tom Folger, owner of Karaoke Time, donated the equipment and his time for the students to sing karaoke style. King Books offered a ten percent discount on all purchases, Molbak's donated planting materials for each child to take home his/her own plant, and Paint This! owner Phyliss Haaland discounted tiles which kids could paint, glaze, and then have fired at a later time.
Shoppers at the Mall were greeted by human ATM machines that gave out funny money to kids in grades K-2 and checkbooks with a balance of $5,030 to those in grades 3-6. Each child also received a coupon book with discounts on purchases at the stores. Students went from shop to shop using their funny money or checks to buy their purchases. Only two shops, King Books and Paint This!, required real money. At each store, students needed to use math, to figure out discounts, decide on measurements, check the accuracy of their change, or tabulate a series of expenses. They added, subtracted, multiplied, and divided, as well as worked with percentages, estimates, and ratios. Parents were encouraged to let their children find the solution by asking questions and helping to break the problem into solvable parts, rather than by providing the answer.
At "Kokanee Travel," students planned their dream trips using travel brochures and figured out the costs on a Trip Expenses Worksheet. Canyon Creek third grader Garrett Green decided to go to Washington, D.C. and Orlando for a total cost of $2,275 for ten days, including airfare, hotels, food, and spending money. "This is great!" said Garrett. "It's like you're really going on a trip, and now I know how much it really costs to go there." His mother, Kim Green, was delighted with the activities at the Math Mall. "This is an awesome way to apply math to real life and allows kids to have such a positive interaction with math," she said.
Canyon Creek Principal Ann Panush and Kokanee Principal Ed Young were delighted with the big turnout from both schools. They opened the Mall with a special ribbon-cutting ceremony and were on-hand throughout the evening, visibly enjoying the experience. "Our schools have a natural connection," said Young, "as many Canyon Creek students became Kokanee students when the school opened a few years ago. We also do Camp Casey together each spring."
"Both schools have high parent involvement which is a definite ingredient in the success of this type of activity," Panush said.
According to Linda Robertson, there were over sixty volunteers who assisted with the planning, preparation and actualization of the Math Mall. The happy faces, excited voices, and enthusiasm present in Canyon Creek's gymnasium were definite indicators that the event was a resounding success.