Excerpt from show: “I’m wondering, is there an equivalent fraction to one third…”
Houston-area students may already be familiar with the Houston Independent School District’s Math-A-Letics television show. But come tomorrow, the show will be aired live on the HISD Educational Access Channel every Tuesday at 4. That means students will be able to call-in to the program and get homework help on the spot from math experts, and even from the hosts themselves.
“Because students are always dealing with technology, they like to be on Facebook; they like to be on their cell phones. And we thought, if we went live, we would capture that audience and really help them with some of the issues they have in homework.”
Carolyn White is with the Rice University School Mathematics Project. She’s also the co-host of Math-A-Letics. On the show she’s called Coach Carolyn to go along with the program’s sports theme. She says math tools are increasingly important in Houston’s current career climate.
“We have a medical center; we have NASA; we have the sciences. We need students to be really great within mathematics and the sciences. We need that talent pool.”
White says it’s important to make the show entertaining so the kids can enjoy the learning process.
“We make it fun. We have puppets on the show. We have two puppets. We have Zero the Hero, that’s the boy puppet and we have a girl puppet, Arithmeticia.”
Weeden: “Hi! I’m Arithmeticia. Oh, and can’t wait to see you kids calling in for Math-A-Letics! That’s Arithmeticia.”
And that’s Dr. Tracy Weeden. When she’s not taking on the persona of a puppet, she’s the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment with HISD. Weeden says the show’s new interactive format will give kids the opportunity to call-in and ask questions.
“We want to make learning relevant and rigorous. And so we have to find creative ways of reaching them beyond the classroom, and this is one.”
The math show is the result of a collaborative effort between Rice University and HISD to get kids engaged with everything from algebra and geometry to basics like adding and subtracting. Producer and director of the show, Debra Sanchez says a major goal of Math-A-Letics is to familiarize students with practical applications of math.
“This program takes things that they use in everyday life, like going to the grocery store, or the use of money, or time, how they’re actually going to use it in their day to day lives.”
Math-A-Letics target audience is K – 5 students, but White and Weeden say kids of all ages can learn and get math tips from the show. Both are hoping that new live version of the program will instill in students an ongoing proficiency in math — something that is sure to help them in the world that awaits them after school.
From the KUHF NewsLab, I’m Wendy Siegle