At Cunningham Intermediate School, students are obsessed with a game that turbocharges their progress in math. As schools look for ways to improve STEM skills among students, educator Shawn Petitt has turned math into a competitive contest where sixth grade students can become a Math Master. In the process, they’re jumping months ahead of grade level curriculum through self-guided learning, much of which is done after school.
High achievers can win personal pizza lunch with the teacher, seating privileges, an engraved medal and the title of Math Master for their achievements. Students must complete seven levels of math curriculum to reach Master status. A sticker chart outside of Pettit’s classroom shows progress club members make.
Pettit says all students do regular math curriculum, but the competition challenges students to achieve, which is a reward in itself. The game makes them better students whether they make it to Master or not.