Commerce teaches students math

The well-attended Math Night at Minden Elementary School Thursday helped teach students and their families the value of a Minden dollar.

Robyn Mattinson, third-grade teacher, said Math Night gave the students the opportunity to learn about money.

"The kids earned money in the classroom," said Mattinson. "Teachers gave incentives so the kids could earn as much as $50 in 'Minden money.' They have to purchase their own business licenses with Minden money and set up their Market Day booths.

"Market Day helps the students understand how to make change. They make their deposits at the end of the night into a school savings account to go towards another event. We hope to continue Math Night next year," she said.

The event included dinner of hot dogs, pizza, chips and soda, a math carnival, Market Day booths and families selling desserts for real money to go to an English as a second language school fund.

"We're trying to raise money to invest in a reading program and to buy bilingual books," said English as a second language teacher, Amanda Mikulich.

The carnival consisted of games created by teachers in stations along the walls of the gym. Families played games to learn the concepts of graphing, Venn diagrams and weights and measures.

There was a session in the library for parents to find out about the new math series started last year.

Market Day featured students' booths where they sold things, gave massages, painted fingernails and performed make-overs for Minden money.

Claudia Bertolone-Smith, first-grade teacher, said creating their own currency and having the students "buy" their own business licenses taught the students real-life skills.

"The students set up a micro-economy," said Bertolone-Smith. "They buy a $15 business license and rent table space. This encourages the kids to basically become entrepreneurs for the night.

"The lessons that went along with Math Night were so engaging, no one misbehaved in class all week. They're more interested in buying, selling and trying to invest to make more Minden money," she said.

Market Day booths were set up in the hallways and classrooms of the school. The students sold handmade cards, candy, cookies, monkey bread, popcorn, cupcakes, pet rocks and stuffed animals.

Fifth-grade students, Deidra Jacobsen, 11, and 10-year-old Kyrene Hagerman's booth was a table covered with items that looked as though they had been recently cleaned out of the girls' closets. A sign advertised the booth as "It's Junk to me but it's maybe treasure to you."

"We're selling junk and having a raffle," said Deidra. "It was our idea to sell knickknacks."

"We're selling the book marks I made and the pencils and flower pens we decorated," said Kyrene. "I've been collecting beads since I was 3 years old."

The students said they took advantage of the incentives in their class to earn Minden money.

"We turned in our pee-chees and did our homework," said Jacobsen. "If we didn't earn enough money for our license, we have to pay our teacher back."

"We learned about how math works, how a bank works and how to work for food," said Hagerman.


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