Schaefer, Provident Bank kick off Math Mania

October 30, 1992|By Monica Norton | Monica Norton,Staff Writer

Gov. William Donald Schaefer sat before 15 South Shore Elementary School students yesterday and told them the basics of his education as a youth.

"When I was young, we had what was known as the three R's," the governor said. "Does anyone know what the three R's are?"

There was a long pause.

Then, 9-year-old Tracy Johnson raised her hand and said, "Recycle, reuse and reduce."

Well, Tracy's answer wasn't wrong. It just wasn't quite the answer the governor was searching for. He was referring to reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic, with the emphasis being 'rithmetic.

Governor Schaefer was joined by Provident Bank President Peter Martin to announce the kickoff of Math Mania, a program to help fourth- grade students in Baltimore and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford and Howard counties apply their math skills to real-life situations.

"We at Provident are proud to be part of a math enrichment program," Mr. Martin said. "Math Mania is a program designed to encourage the teaching as well as the learning of mathematics."

Math Mania, developed by school teachers, also is being sponsored by the Maryland Science Center and Towson State University. The program includes a series of five math challenges that begin in November and end in March.

Students will be given a challenge in their math classes and work on them in small groups. Once the task is completed, the student's name is placed on a poster.

If a student completes all five tasks, he or she is entered into the second stage of Math Mania, where students will be randomly selected to participate in a final challenge round at Towson State April 24. During the final round, students will be grouped into small teams and asked to solve three challenges.

Provident has agreed to give $15,000 to the first-place team, $10,000 to the second place team and $5,000 to the third-place team. The money will be used to purchase math teaching materials.

About 150 schools in the five jurisdictions already have signed up to participate, and there is still time for additional schools to join in.

"The purpose of Math Mania is to involve the students early, before math avoidance sets in," Mr. Martin said. "We want them to become math maniacs."

The students from South Shore told Governor Schaefer they already have an appreciation of the need for math in their lives. One said he needed to know math to become a police officer. Another said she used math to divide up her candy.

But Stephen Gray, who wants to be a baseball player when he grows up, said he had a very important reason to learn math skills.

"Math is important to me because when you get older, you can write checks correctly," Stephen said.

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