At the monthly meeting of Revere School Committee held on Oct. 23, elementary school students from the Lincoln and Garfield schools presented a Powerpoint presentation that they put together themselves regarding their new math interactive computer program–ST Math.
Third-graders Isaac and Fiona from the Abraham Lincoln School, as well as Justin and David from the Garfield School, showed School Committee members how ST Math works and improves math concepts through online games.
“ST Math is a computer program that we use in school to help us practice math,” said Isaac. “We play games and try to beat levels by helping Jiji (ST Math’s mascot) cross the path. The games are all about the things we have learned in class for math and the topics we are graded on. ST Math has no written directions, and is all about learning to do the math by taking risks.”
For every answer a student gets right JiJi moves across the path and records the student’s progress like how many answers they got right, how many answers they got wrong and how long it took them to solve the problem.
Fiona added that ST Math has helped her with her math skills since the program was started in her school.
“For example, I had a hard time with subtracting and regrouping,” said Fiona. “On ST Math I was able to keep playing a level where I had to regroup flower petals and it finally clicked for me and I got a 100 on my test in class.”
Fiona said she also uses ST Math at home to help her practice her math skills.
“When something is hard for me in class I use ST Math at home to get better,” she said. “I use ST Math at home to show my parents what I am learning and how we learn to do it.”
Isaac said that some things he loves about ST Math is that not only is it fun to play the math games and puzzles on the computer it helps you get better at math.
While Fiona said the program lets students practice the same thing over and over again, even if the class has moved on to a new topic.
“It is fun to be challenged and get to another level (on the game),” she said.
Fiona and Isaac then demonstrated one of the games to the School Committee members. Fiona showed off her skills for multiplication concepts while Isaac showed a ST Math addition, subtraction and regrouping game.
Then Justin and David, students at the Garfield School, talked about their experiences with ST Math ever since Revere school teacher Matt Costa brought the program to the school district.
Justin said the thing he likes the most about ST Math is that he gets to take math tests and quizzes on the computer instead of on paper.
“Kids our age like to play video games and ST Math is a point-and-click video game that is appealing to children,” said Justin. “ST Math also lets you see your accomplishments (in real time) and this encourages kids to do more and do better.”
David said what sets ST Math apart from other ways of learning math is that here is no shortcuts.
“ST Math doesn’t allow you to skip levels so each student has to pass to be able to move to the next level,” he said.
David also added that when his class moves on to a new concept the ST Math program has tutorials and shops students how to play the new math game while teaching the new concepts at the same time.
Costa told the School Committee that the program was funded through a grant from Mass STEM Hub, an organization that partners with schools to implement high-quality applied learning programs.
“We were very fortunate last year, Mass STEM HUB provided a grant opportunity to school district in Massachusetts to be able to access ST Math,” said Costa. “ST Math as you can tell is a very well designed program but as such it is very expensive. So Mass STEM Hub identified this high quality resource and issued 27 grants and all six of our elementary schools received a grant for ST Math. This was really a testament to our elementary schools who really did a lot of work to get these grants. We actually will have ST Math in our schools for as long as we want it.”
Revere School Superintendent Dr. Diane Kelly added that Revere was the only school district in the state to be able to secure the ST Math grant for all of its elemnetary schools.