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posted: Thu, Sep 18th, 2014
Fifth-graders Yash Patel and Nithilan Valan tackle a brain-teasing math problem

407,000 math problems in 11 days!

As of this writing, 11 days into the school year, Mountain View students have completed more than 407,000 math problems. “Wow” is the only reaction.

The school is piloting participation in First In Math (www.firstinmath.com), an online resource of math puzzles and games. For the last several years, Mountain View has made game play an important part of math instruction and enrichment, first with Minute Math and then with Math 24. First In Math kicks up the fun to addictive levels with games that not only emphasize numerical fluency and math skills, but also strengthen problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication skills.

The interactive games are tailored for each grade level and ability, and support the curriculum and the Common Core State Standards. There are games that test knowledge of angles, fractions, time, probability, geometry, decimals, algebra, and more.

Students play in class as directed by their teachers as part of the school day; however, the students are logging the majority of their time on the site at home. With unique sign-ins and passwords for each student, the First In Math site tracks the correct number of solved problems. Students accrue virtual stickers that equate to points, earn higher rankings as they progress, and vie to become a Player of The Day by answering the most questions among their classmates.

The website also gauges the ability of students and customizes math games to keep kids on their toes. 

“The games are fun because they improve your skills and bring you up to what you can do,” said Dhruva Raghuraman, a fourth–grader in Caralynn Ferrara’s class. “They learn what you can do and make things harder and more challenging as you go.”

Gloria Silva, a leave replacement basic math skills teacher, and Cathy Wilson, special education teacher, helped coordinate the implementation of First In Math at Mountain View.

“First in Math makes students forget they’re even learning because they get wrapped up into the games,” said Ms. Silva, who did extensive research on learning through game play while completing her masters in education several years ago. “First in Math also lets kids move at their own pace which puts them in control of their own learning.”

There is also a family link which gives students the opportunity to earn an extra First in Math sign-on to share with a family member once they earn 500 stickers and First In Math scholar status.

The class with the most points as of Thursday, September 18 is Tamara Lash's fifth grade class, with 21,106 virtual stickers for an estimated 63,318 math problems solved.

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Mountain View School
118 Cloverhill Drive Flanders, NJ 07836
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