DALLAS TWP., Pa. – Whether making music on cardboard instruments with different numbers of rubber-band strings, or matching quarter, half and whole notes in a game of musical-themed dominoes, the 200 students at St. Jude School in Mountain Top seemed to agree that mathematics is fun during a special Math Day program offered by students from Misericordia University.
Forty Misericordia Math Club and teacher education students spent Friday, March 23 offering lessons on using music to understand mathematics to the St. Jude students in pre-K through 8th grades.
Steven Tedford, Ph.D., associate professor of mathematics at Misericordia University, and his wife, Veronica Tedford, M.A., a former mathematics professor, coordinated the program with the help of Michele Brague, Ed.D., assistant professor of education, at Misericordia University, and Kevin Feifer, director of the Office of Service Learning at Misericordia University.
Mrs. Mary Anne Crofchick’s second grade students played a dueling dice rhythm game, did a word search in math and music, and had a lesson in the values that musical notes represent under the tutelage of Misericordia early childhood and special education majors Rebecca Kaschak of Hazleton, Sara Reichold of Dallas, and Amanda Rackliff of North Grandby, Connecticut.
Mixing math and music with some dance, fellow Misericordia students instructed their third grade charges to “Put the triangle in ... take the triangle out” of the circle during a round of Hokey Pokey designed to help them differentiate between and count the sides of triangles, squares and rectangles.
It was the fifth year that the two schools collaborated to celebrate mathematics in honor of Pi Day (3.14). Math Day is a service project for the Math Club, and the service-learning component of the Intro to Early Childhood Education and Math Methods I – courses teacher education majors take at Misericordia University. It is also an opportunity for the future teachers to gain hands-on experience working with children in a real world learning environment and engaging them in activities that make math fun.
St. Jude student Daryl Boich of Mountain Top has participated in the first five Misericordia University Math Day activities at his school. He says he and his classmates look forward to the annual event. “My favorite part today was playing songs on glasses filled with different levels of water – it helped us learn about hertz and frequencies. We had a challenge to see who could do the Star Wars theme the best,” the eighth grade student said.
“This is such a great opportunity for our students, especially as we work to increase interest in STEM areas – science, technology, engineering and math,” said Sister Ellen Fischer, SCC, principal of St. Jude School. “We are grateful for the relationship we have with the Tedfords and the work they do to coordinate this program each year. It is definitely a benefit to our students to see math as a fun thing and experience ways it applies to their everyday lives.”
“Math Day is a service project for our Math Club and a great opportunity for education majors to see what it is like in a classroom,” added Dr. Tedford. “They get to reach out past what they might find in textbooks to see firsthand the interaction between math and education, and create fun lessons that they can someday use in their own classrooms.”
Misericordia University education major Caitlin Prebish of Plymouth says the experience reinforced why she chose her career path. “I can’t wait to be a teacher,” Prebish, a sophomore, gushed following her first classroom session. “It was one of my first times in a classroom as an instructor and it really helped reinforce what I want to do. I am so excited to major in early childhood and special education at Misericordia.”
For more information about the Department of Mathematics and Computer Sciences or the Department of Education at Misericordia University, please call (570) 674-6400 or visit www.misericordia.edu. Founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1924, Misericordia University is Luzerne County’s first four-year college and offers 56 academic programs on the graduate and undergraduate levels in full- and part-time formats. Misericordia University ranks in the top tier of the Best Regional Universities – North category of U.S. News and World Report’s 2018 edition of Best Colleges. The Princeton Review recognizes MU as a 2018 Best Northeastern College and MONEY Magazine includes Misericordia in its 2017-18 “Best Colleges” list.