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Monday, October 27, 2014

New approach in math adds up for kids

"Lara Gurath wants to make sure her daughter can play more of her favorite video game." continues Sioux Falls Argus Leader.

It’s important to her education, Gurath said. The program, DreamBox, looks and sounds like a game, but it also teaches her daughter math.

Xaria Gurath (left), 5, plays DreamBox Math on the iPad while her sister, Kyra, 6, looks on Friday at their home in eastern Sioux Falls. The Dreambox looks and sounds like a game but teaches math.
Photo: Jay Pickthorn / Argus Leader)

The first-grader is more than halfway through exercises usually reserved for second-graders, and Gurath was told she might need approval from someone at Anne Sullivan Elementary School before Kyra, 6, can move on to the next grade level.

Fall teacher-parent conferences begin next week at Sioux Falls public elementary schools. For Gurath, DreamBox will be a topic of conversation.

“This is when you have to spark their interest in things,” Gurath said. “When they’re young.”

DreamBox is only part of the evolution happening in Sioux Falls School District classrooms as educators adjust to new curriculum standards and prepare for new state math and reading exams this spring.

Math in classrooms has changed so much that parents wonder how it might affect their childrens’ future. Even Gurath wonders, though she likes DreamBox and said she neither supports nor opposes the district’s altered approach to math.

About two years ago, Jenny Downey noticed a shift in her son’s third-grade homework. The 41-year-old mother of four saw fewer equations and problems to solve. She saw more writing and more charts, shapes and drawings.

“The papers that would come home from school looked more like artwork than math papers,” Downey said.

Source: Sioux Falls Argus Leader