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Archive for Thursday, March 27, 2008

March Madness puts math skills to the test

Arithmetic + athletics = life lessons

Woodlawn School sixth-grader Isaac King, left, draws an expensive "meal ticket" for $54.97 per meal, plus 19% tip, which he has to budget into a imaginary road trip to Detroit during a Math Madness exercise Wednesday. At center is student Adam Withers and at right is teacher Haley Bruns. Working in teams, Bruns' students are using the imaginary road trip to the NCAA Sweet 16 games in Detroit to hone their math skills in figuring budgets and unexpected expenses on the road to the Final Four.

Woodlawn School sixth-grader Isaac King, left, draws an expensive "meal ticket" for $54.97 per meal, plus 19% tip, which he has to budget into a imaginary road trip to Detroit during a Math Madness exercise Wednesday. At center is student Adam Withers and at right is teacher Haley Bruns. Working in teams, Bruns' students are using the imaginary road trip to the NCAA Sweet 16 games in Detroit to hone their math skills in figuring budgets and unexpected expenses on the road to the Final Four.

March 27, 2008

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'Math madness' teaches students how to budget

As the Jayhawks head to Detroit, local elementary students are planning their own trip to the Sweet 16. But they won't actually make the trek. 6News reporter Lindsey Slater has more. Enlarge video

2008 NCAA Tournament

Get your March Madness fix at KUSports.com.

One classroom of Lawrence sixth-graders is in the midst of Math Madness. With the Kansas University men's basketball team in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, math lessons have turned toward getting students to Detroit.

"Having traveled to the Final Four a couple of times, I decided to do something fun and exciting after coming back from spring break with the kids," said Haley Bruns, a sixth-grade teacher at Woodlawn School in North Lawrence.

Here's what the students are figuring out.

Teams of students have to get themselves to Detroit to watch the Jayhawks play. But, as is the case in real life, they must live within a budget. And that's where the math comes in.

Students search the Internet for directions to Michigan, hotel rooms and activities on Saturday, when the Jayhawks aren't playing. They are given lunch and dinner bills, and some unforeseen expenses or bonuses : snowstorms, flat tires, a $100 birthday gift from parents.

"Yesterday we got a $200 dinner bill," Caleb D'Armond said.

"We've been trying not to eat so much, and we try to find the right gas prices for where to stop at," Hannah Copp said.

Each group must track its expenses and get to Detroit and back with the money it's given.

And it's not easy.

"It's way more than you would expect it to be," Caleb said.

"Finding a hotel (is hard). It's booked and it's really high (prices)," Mackenzie Adams said.

And the students aren't just learning math; they're learning life lessons that will carry them through adulthood.

"They had to figure gas mileage," Bruns said. "They have a much better sense of that now, a much better sense of what their parents are spending."

The class also "booked" trips to the Orange Bowl in Miami and to the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Omaha. If the Jayhawks win in Detroit, the students will be planning a trip to San Antonio.

"It makes me think how much money I need to go to these places, and how much I need to save," Hannah said.

Comments

BrianR 6 years, 8 months ago

This is a great idea! I remember that in sixth grade we learned how to maintain a checkbook and how revolving credit works -- extremely valuable lessons.

Godfather94 6 years, 8 months ago

Haley Bruns.......I nominate you for teacher of the year. It goes way beyond just math. Your teaching kids respect. Respecting what there parents have to go through in the real world. You are teaching them responsibility, which will allow them to give there kids a better life.

I commend you on a job well done. You are making a difference in our future. Amazing what a fantasy trip can do. PS. OK class, quit reading this and get back to work. And remember, if you run out of money, it's a long long walk back from Detroit. ha ha ha!

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