WATCH: School district to boost math performance through movement

Aug 19, 2015

Students walk on numbered floor mats to learn math concepts through Math & Movement program.
Credit SASHA-ANN SIMONS/WXXI NEWS

The Rochester City School District plans to shake things up in the classroom with some new math moves this September.  The Math & Movement program pairs physical activity with crunching numbers, and is designed to help kids learn more, retain more and gain valuable basic math skills while exercising their bodies as well as their minds.

It is a kinesthetic, multi-sensory approach to learning. The nationally-acclaimed program has been used in more than 50 schools Upstate. It allows students to physically touch, hop, walk, crawl, and dance their way to mastering math concepts.

Founder Suzy Koontz, from Ithaca, developed the concept nearly a decade ago.

"It's very extensive in terms of the materials: fractions, positive and negative numbers, multiplication, division. All math concepts that are included in the modules right now are included in Math and Movement," says Koontz.

Research results show American students have been lagging behind children in other parts of the world in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.

"This is the answer to the STEM crisis. In the future, there are going to be jobs in math and science and STEM careers and that's why there's the push," adds Koontz.

In early August, New York State released student scores on the 2015 state-mandated Common Core standardized tests in math. Now in its third year, Common Core test results edged up slightly from last year. But a comparison with last year only provides a part of the picture, given that approximately 20 percent of students opted out of the tests this past spring, much more than last year. 

Teachers are taking part in a two-day training course this month to prepare to bring Math & Movement to city School District classrooms.

Watch as students and teachers try out activities included in the math program.

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