Seattle Public Schools

Mercer Math Carnival

Summary: Mercer International Middle School’s Math Carnival gives families an opportunity to have fun while doing math with their students.

Adding Up the Fun: Mercer’s Math Carnival gives families an opportunity to have fun while doing math with their students 

Mercer International Middle School math teachers found a way to not only make math comprehendible but also more fun. The school hosted a Math Carnival where students and families were able to practice math using board games, puzzles, and games of chance. 

As part of the district’s strategic plan, one of the goals is to help students become strong mathematicians in middle school. By focusing on 7th grade math, students will be ready for more advanced math courses in high school. 

The event was organized by Mercer’s Math Department. Matt Evans, a 6th grade math teacher, said the carnival was a way to invite families to participate in components of lessons that might be taught in the classroom. By structuring it as a carnival, students can share about what and how they are learning while having fun at the same time. 

“We’re hoping that this will get those students who have a history of math being really hard for them in the past to see that math can be fun, math can be engaging because the things that they’re seeing here in our carnival are things that do happen in their classrooms as well,” Evans said.  

Agnes Gomez’s daughter Alena served as a helper at the event by hosting one of the tables. Agnes was excited to see her daughter in action. She wanted her kids to leave the event knowing that math is used every day in places you don’t expect. 

“Seeing the games, it was like, ‘Oh yeah! I have to like multiply,’ or ‘I have to divide’ … even the budgeting [table] is adding and subtracting,” Agnes said. “Basic skills are good to know.” 

Evans said he was proud of the way students took the lead in the Math Carnival activities. 

“It really shows how invested they are in sharing and [when] given a voice and an opportunity to share, a lot of them are really shining … and that’s really great to see.” 

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