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Kilby Shores math night is a big hit

Published 11:03pm Thursday, May 9, 2013

At the Food Lion on Holland Road on Tuesday, math suddenly became fun for a bunch of students from Kilby Shores Elementary School.

When textbooks, pencils and calculators are traded for things like shopping baskets, potatoes and boxes of breakfast cereal, it’s not hard to see why.

I don’t know if that means math done the usual classroom way is super-boring, but there’s no doubt the grocery store setting injected some zing into the equation.

Food Lion is an education partner of the school’s, and this week’s set of interactive lessons, called Family Math Night, was a good example of how these partnerships with the business community can be leveraged to good effect.

One thing I remember from math is constantly questioning when I was ever going to use what I was being taught.

I had no illusions about pursuing a degree in pure mathematics or quantum physics, so exponents and algebra all seemed a bit pointless.

Looking back, however, it’s clear there’s good reason to get excited about math. It’s something we use every day as adults — like when grocery shopping or calculating a tip — and it’s where the well-paying jobs are.

Getting kids excited about math should be a major focus of schools today. It can seem like such an abstract subject, completely disconnected from the rest of the world, but once the connection is made, the rest of it can fall into place much more easily.

Smiles were one thing I saw everywhere at Food Lion on Tuesday, and you normally don’t see a lot of them in classrooms where math is being taught.

The smiles were worn by students and parents, and that was another positive outcome of the event — encouraging moms and dads to take a greater interest in their children’s education.

It was also plain to see how the math night, the second one it has hosted, was beneficial for Food Lion.

The parents who accompanied students will develop a closer relationship with the store, and be more likely to call there when they need to pick up something for dinner.

I’ve heard a lot about Suffolk Public Schools’ Partners in Education program, much of it while attending a recent event at King’s Fork High School to honor the about 145 businesses and organizations that take part.

Seeing is believing, though, and it was great to see an example of how the program helps spread learning.

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