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An Afternoon with Math

March 30, 2012


By Lalita Kaewsawang, Corps Member Proudly Serving at Sarah T. Reed High School with the Entergy Team

I love math and I want my students to love math too. On March 14th, a perfect sunny day, my team and I hosted a Pi Day (π =3.14) at Sarah T. Reed High School (we call it “Reed”). Pi Day is a day to celebrate the infinite mathematical constant. The goal of this afternoon was to bring new excitement for students and staff toward math and reenergize the campus as a whole.


This event is a part of my team mission.  As a math prototype school, we daily tutor and mentor in the 9th math classes to push our students on track toward graduation. I noticed right away that there was a lack of enthusiasm for learning math when I first walked in to a 9th grade algebra classroom at Reed. Within two weeks of school, I encouraged my team to implement a “Math Wall,” a wall that dedicates one side of our tutoring room as a space for students to feel comfortable exploring their mathematic skills with the corps members. The Math Wall we created have colorful and quirky Pi numbers, multiplication table, quotes from famous mathematicians, algebraic equations, weekly challenge math problems, number lines, and more.


For Pi Day, I made a bright orange Pi symbol and we hung colorful balloons to the trees. DJ Luke, a City Year Recruitment Manager, played upbeat and corny music, while 300 students and staffs circled around the courtyard to visit different math related game stations. The students wanted the assorted fluorescent stuffed animals that we gave out as prizes. I invited 9th and 10th grades math teachers to run a few game stations along with the corps members. We gave out all types of round shape snacks that were donated from the local businesses: pumpkin pies, apple pies, chocolate glazed donuts, pralines, cheese pizzas, you name it. The highlight, however, happened during the π memorization contest. Many students excitedly remembered as many π numbers as possible for a chance to “pie” a city year corps member, “Ms. Tai’Quay”, and a 9th grade math teacher, Mr. Jack Waldron. Mr. Waldron stood like a hero when the winner aimed a tray full of whip cream at him. “It was fun getting pied. It was fun teaching the 4th and 5th periods with sugary and sticky hair,” said Mr. Waldron.


I want math to be fun. The 9th graders I work with have various math backgrounds. While a few could do 10th grade math, the majority of them are still struggling with 5th grade multiplication and cannot add or subtract accurately. I have taught students how to count using their fingers. We even make multiplication tables together, and I encourage them to recite it with me. I sometimes choose to act silly to get their attention. I shared with my students how I recite (or more like singing) the multiplication table in Thai language, a language I grew up speaking. My students laughed with me and were amazed by how much they could learn—a reaction I was hoping for. Pi Day is a continuation for the City Year corps members to bring laughter and smiles out of our students while they’re learning. A 9th grade student in my class who participated in Pi Day said to me, “It was wonderful event that City Year and the students got to do together. I hope it happens again. I’m looking forward for the next Pi Day already! ”


3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 1, 2012 11:19 pm

    I laugh every time I see that picture of Mr. Waldron getting pied!

  2. leela permalink
    April 1, 2012 11:21 pm

    looks like you having a lot of fun!!!

  3. April 2, 2012 12:10 pm

    Great post Lalita! You made such a memorable day for them…I’m sure the students won’t be forgetting the numbers of pi anytime soon 🙂

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