Photos by Valerie Urbanik | Oberlin News-Tribune
Stephen Francis scans a code on a piece of paper on the number line.
Thirty students took part this week in Oberlin’s seventh annual Du Bois Project, a week-long camp that uses soccer to help children learn how to complete math equations.
Kids worked on kicking, dribbling, passing, stopping, and juggling soccer balls while also learning how to complete math equations and graphing.
“We make math fun for children,” said camp director Ken Stanley. “It’s all about getting kids comfortable with numbers.”
Nearly 15 coaches worked with children in first through third grades this week. Next week they’ll work with students in grades three through five from 9 a.m. to noon at the Hamilton Recreation Complex soccer fields.
Stanley said he believes incorporating running and soccer into the camp is the single most effective way to make math fun for players.
One skills station had kids dribbling balls across lines representing fractions and using cell phones with bar scan readers to zap the correct answers to their equations.
“They have to have some success with soccer to move on to math,” Stanley said. “It’s not going to be fun if you force them to do it so we have them earn it.
Another station had students kicking balls as far as they could, then counting the number of lines the ball passed and graphing the results on paper.
“I’m convinced they’ll learn it because they’re graphing themselves,” said Stanley, whose mantra was that math can be fun when it happens with success.
“I believe math can be fun no matter what level you’re at,” he said. “We try to bring math to their level. We want them to learn they can solve challenges on their own.”
Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.