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Thursday, May 26, 2016

'Mathletic' student leading kids to a love of numbers

Thursday, March 5, 2009

CEDAR FALLS - Many schools across the country struggle to raise math scores. One college group of future teachers says the key to math success is fun.

Sarah Demers, Storm Lake, is the president of the group at the University of Northern Iowa. She was recently profiled in a television report by NBC station KWWL while working to put on the 3rd annual Math Fair in Cedar Falls - a "mardi gras for math" with balloons, treats and prizes.

"It's probably my favorite subject," elementary school student Sydney Galles said.

Nearly 100 4th through 6th graders came to the party, sponsored by student group TEAM: Teaching Educators About Math, and organized by Demers, daughter of Frank and Cindy Demers of Storm Lake.

"I want to be a math teacher because I love to see the light bulb going off in someone's head," she said.

Demers says she once had a teacher who inspired her to teach.

"I had an awesome teacher named Mrs. Sprague. She could make anything fun in math, even for the kids who hated math," she said.

"Whatever they did here, they did it well because the kids are just drawn, trying to make it through every station that they could," father of 4th grade twins Michael Hoy said.

From math puzzles to origami, parents and teachers say they're thrilled to see these future-teachers inspire interest in a field crucial to progress.

"Getting our UNI students involved and the next generation of students who are going to be mathematicians and scientists out enjoying math is very important to us," mathematics professor Dr. Brian Townsend said.

Wearing t-shirts reading, "You can count on me, I'm mathletic," Demers and her fellow students made a party of a subject many youngsters struggle to appreciate.

The group is already planning another Math Fair for next year.

* As featured in a KWWL report by Sunny Layne

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