A Rymfire Elementary School Community Problem Solving group called the Mathletes have created murals around school to help students learn math.
The Mathletes, a community problem solver group at Rymfire Elementary School, are helping fellow roadrunners tackle numbers and equations with artistic yet mathematical murals painted around the school.
“We wanted the students to see math while they’re walking around school,” sixth-grader David Trujillo said. “When they see these murals, they’ll be doing math even though they don’t know they are. They’ll just think they’re looking at a picture or seeing a cool design on the wall.”
The Mathletes are made up of fifth- and sixth-graders: Trujillo, Matthew Olsen, Connor D'Agostino, Roman Cook, Ava Wheaton, Cameron Nichols, Holden Slatinsky, Tyler Grady and Halley Londono.
After earning Grand Champion at the Future Problem Solvers state competition in March, the Mathletes will soon head to the FPS International Conference on June 6-10 at the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse to present their newly completed murals to judges.
“Basically, we saw that some math FSA scores were kind of getting lower as the years went by, and so we thought this group would be a good idea so we can help students that are just below grade level get up to grade level so they can pass and go on to further grades,” Grady said.
Slatinsky said the Mathletes met up with Allen Sauvelpahkick, the husband of RES Principal Barbara Sauvelpahkick, to design and paint the murals. After about a month of designing, the painting began.
“In the kindergarten hall, we put the Roadrunner counting numbers one through 10, so that’s kindergarten basic math,” Trujillo said. “In the second and third grade hall, it’s a roadrunner, and he has pieces of paper writing out math facts like 3+3, 3+4, and then putting the answer to them so it has math on there. And it shows the roadrunner struggling to answer the questions.”
Next, the students are working on a mural in the fifth- and sixth-grade hallway, as well as a stairway to success mural on the stairs.
“I think (students will) think that they’re actually just seeing a picture, but what they’re actually seeing are math facts,” Londono said. “So, each time when they pass, they’ll try to memorize that, and when it’s an actual test, they’ll say, ‘Oh, I know this answer, I’ve seen it before.’”
In addition to painting the murals, the Mathletes provided about 20 students with after-school math tutoring and held math games in physical education classes.
Wheaton said the Mathletes hosted a “Eureka Math” parent night in January to help parents learn how to help their kids with math homework.
“We thought since the style of math is different from the ‘80s, ‘90s, ‘70s, parents may not know how to help their children with math homework, so the children may not know how to do their homework since their parents can’t help them,” Wheaton said.
Ultimately, the Mathletes just want to help students get on grade level or higher in mathematics.
“All of us are more advanced students and we have skills in mathematics, so we want to give our skills,” Slatinsky said. “We are able to teach these are students who are struggling because we’re excelling, and we’ll be able to help them get to normal or excel in the future.”