Math, but fun: Teachers launch website to teach students in creative ways
EDMONTON — A group of Edmonton teachers has developed a program to learn math in a fun and creative way.
Grade 3 teacher Vanessa McLeod came up with the idea to launch MMMathMania back in November.
“I was kind of having a hard time. COVID had been dragging on for a long time, we had endured online teaching and learning and helping our own children with homeschooling in the past year,” she recalled. “I was just trying to think about something that would, a, help make myself feel better and reignite the spark, and, b, most importantly, help other people.”
Sylvia Greco, a Grade 2 teacher and member of MMMathMania, helped McLeod come up with the name.
“Within 30 seconds [Sylvia] responded with Mathmania,” McLeod said.
However, there was already another website online with the same name.
“We thought, ‘Let’s really emphasize the math, so we added two [extra] m’s in front,’” McLeod explained.
“The three m’s and three dice [represent] the six team members of MMMathMania.”
The goal of the online platform is to provide a free, fun and helpful site for students as well as teachers, Greco told CTV News Edmonton.
“One of the takeaways from this venture is that you can be good at math,” she said. “Math is a visual subject and in order for us to understand it we need to play around with it.”
Since launching the site, Grade 3 teacher Ashley Elford has noticed a change in overall student confidence.
“When we introduce a way that’s relaxed, it’s easy going, it’s fun, that shell starts to crumble,” Elford said. “We start to see this confidence bloom. [Students] actually start getting things in ways that are meaningful to them. They’re able to demonstrate their learning, and they’re excited to learn more.”
McLeod said the available games are created by team members, math gurus and in some cases adapted from programs already online.
The team tries to keep the games as simple as possible, Elford explained. “You’re using a deck of cards, maybe some dice, and a white board if you have it,” she said. “It’s very simplistic in terms of what they need for materials and can be incorporated at home, in the classroom or even the car.”
Since launching the group, there has been an influx of followers locally and from around the world.
“It took a little while for us to get to our first hundred followers,” McLeod said. “But, since then it’s just kind of exploded. In less than two months, we have close to 5,000 followers from around the world. It’s shocking, a little bit overwhelming at times, but also really motivating. It really shows us the need for this.”
She added: “Now that we have this amazing following, our community of math maniacs we just want to continue to promote a love and confidence in math with people around the world.”