Local Phoenix Math Teacher takes Math out of the classroom and into the city

Phoenix Area Teacher Joey Grether Launching Math Wars at Jobot Coffee Shop to Increase Math Literacy on June 21, 2018.

PHOENIX, Arizona – (June 14, 2018) – United States test scores are well below average when it comes to mathematics. We spend more money per student than most countries, and math comprehension in the United States has not improved since 2003. There is very little motivation to learn it. These facts are all from the Programme for International Student Assessment or PISA. See here.

One high school math teacher believes he has found an approach to addressing this by creating a competition called Math Wars. Local experimental educator, Joey Grether, has taught math in public, alternative, and arts schools, and sees a common concern. “Many high school students lack a basic understanding of multiplication. Unless students know how factors and products work, they will not be able to solve more complex problems in Algebra and Geometry,” Grether suggests. “What better way to incentivize students than by gaming math and offering money? We spend thousands of dollars per student per year, yet motivation is minimal.”

Grether created Math Wars, to increase math literacy, highlight bright students and create an interest to learn math. Grether believes that by pulling math out of the classroom and celebrating it in a public venue we can reframe the structure of learning. “There is this odd notion that learning only happens in classrooms. We are always learning. We can turn any space into a learning environment. Let’s shift the culture and show the kids that we value learning, that we value understanding mathematical processes and that there is place on our world for learning outside of schools.”

So far, Captain J-034 (Joey Grether’s preferred teaching name) has been able to raise $300 and some gift cards as a jackpot for the winner, with contributions mostly from neighbors as well as Cobra Arcade and 12x Spiral (Grether’s learning tool company). He is looking to get more sponsors and potentially turn it into a regional or national competition. If you are committed to increasing math literacy, please contact 12xspiral@gmail.com for more information on how to become a sponsor.

J-034 held a few Math Wars tournaments at the last high school he was at with great success. He believes that this can inspire students of all ages to develop their mathematical thinking. It can also be played with any deck of cards so is extremely accessible to anyone. It is also a way to show students that we as a culture care about math literacy.

Math Wars is played like card wars. 2 players divide a card deck in half. Then they each lay a card face up on the table. The 1st person to say the product of the 2 numbers wins the cards. Whoever has the most cards, wins. Jacks are 11, Queens are 12, Kings 13, Aces 14.

Math Wars will take place at 6pm on June 21, 2018, at Jobot Coffee and Bar located at 333 E Roosevelt St, Phoenix, AZ 85004 in Downtown Phoenix. It is open to students of all ages. This will be a double elimination tournament with a class of players under 12 years old and another class of players over 13 years old, and yes adults can play too. Registration will begin at the door at 6pm.
facebook event link.


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