• 37°

A good jump start on math

Kids are more likely to remember their math concepts if they can play while doing it — or so goes the philosophy behind the Jump Start program, anyway.

The Virginia Sports Hall of Fame Education Foundation is putting on the program in Suffolk elementary schools this fall and winter for the third year in a row.

The program gives elementary-schoolers a “jump start” on learning their math concepts while moving at the same time. It is generously, and aptly, sponsored by a group of businesses familiar with another kind of jump start — Suffolk auto dealerships, including Mike Duman Auto Sales, Starr Motors, Barton Ford Suffolk and First Team Automotive.

Students worked on their math concepts by playing the “Twister” game with a twist — placing their hands and feet on the correct shapes, rather than colors.

They tossed baskets and then figured out the percentage of the shots they had made. They raced to put together fractions and did all sorts of other activities at the direction of Education Coordinator Elaina Kirk.

Teachers have said that the activities help reinforce what the students learned. Many students learn better with activities and movement than they do sitting at their desks, filling out worksheets and repeating facts.

And, of course, that’s the idea behind the Jump Start program, which — appropriately, for the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame Education Foundation — combines sports and movement with math concepts, a subject with which many Virginia students could use extra reinforcement.

Perhaps when these students across Suffolk take their Standards of Learning tests this spring, they will think back to the baskets they made or the fraction race they ran or the Twister game and recall the right answer. That’s a celebration worthy of a few honked horns.

We thank the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame Education Foundation for developing this program and the Suffolk auto dealers for sponsoring it.