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“Radical” Math Collaboration: Elementary and Secondary Students

Students in Byrne Creek Community School’s math club, called “The Radicals,” have been leaving math challenges outside for younger students in one of their feeder schools: Stride Avenue Community School. Once a week for a month, a mysterious Byrne Creek Bulldog hid a math problem somewhere outside the elementary school for participating students.

Each of the “Math Walks,” as they’re called, are intended to help students develop their confidence with numeracy, mathematical reasoning and communication skills. The inspiration for the idea came from a teacher in San Diego who started Math Walks by leaving problems in chalk on the sidewalk for people to solve during quarantine.

The outdoor hunt at Stride meets online communication when students share videos of how they came up with their solutions. Byrne Creek Vice Principal Liliane De Oliveira has been working with math department head and Radicals teacher sponsor Louise Struthers:

We often hear students say, ‘I’m not good at math,’ and we wanted to find a way to provide provocation opportunities where there are multiple ‘right answers’ to allow students to feel success. We hoped students would engage in conversation around how they came up with their solutions.”

Vice Principal De Oliveira says there have been other, unanticipated benefits beyond the math objectives. With COVID-19 impacting opportunities for the younger students to visit their future high school, the weekly solution videos have also allowed for virtual introductions to secondary students, administrators, counsellors, teachers, and other staff – offering a glimpse of life at Byrne Creek.

Posted April 2021