6th Grade Students Review Math Concepts by Participating in the Amazing Race
Math does not always have to be dull worksheets. Sixth grade teacher, Jim Wallis at Parker School figured out a way to make math review exciting and engaging. “When we came up with the amazing race idea several years ago, we found that students really bought into the idea and were highly engaged” Jim Wallis said.
The amazing race was held this week at Parker School. The amazing race is a series of math problems that the kids have to solve around the school. Students go to various locations such as the library, health office, gym, hallways, and several classrooms. A card at each location describes the math problem. Students work together in the group to solve the problem. Each student has a clipboard showing all of the work that is required. The group cannot move on until each person in the group has shown their work. The top four groups that finish in the shortest amount of time gets to move on to the next round.
Katie Swanson, who helped design the race several years ago and is currently the principal at Parker said, “The amazing race is an engaging way to review math concepts. The students do collaborative problem solving activities over the course of three days. We make sure the students are broken up into heterogeneous groups. Throughout the amazing race, structure is put in place so that the group has to work together and no one is doing everything by themselves.”
Jim Wallis said, “The amazing race is a fun and engaging way to review previously taught math concepts. The kids love it! We make sure to include various staff members in the amazing race which allows kids to interact with other adults to problem solve. Some of the tasks are hands on, like when the students have to make a number on the wall. We try to include as much movement based problem solving as possible.”
As students rushed around the school to complete the problems, staff could tell how much the students were enjoying the activity. Student, Mia Gore said, “the amazing race makes our brains actually work. It was a lot of fun doing this. I liked that we got to move around and do active problem solving.” Each year the amazing race grows in popularity and the students look forward to the competition.