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Adventurers Embark on a Noble Quest to…. Solve Math Problems?

  |   45th Street, Elementary School, Special Programs

By Isaac Losacco, Willow Room Assistant Teacher at 45th Street


The far reaches of outer space. The Federation starship, The F.A.S.C.H, whizzes through the cosmos. All of a sudden, the daring Captain Star, alongside her companion of pure energy, Starfriend, and her trusty Medical Officer, Oola Coola, are ambushed by a fleet of enemy flying saucers! They spring into action to defend their starship, noticing each saucer has a fraction written on its glossy dome. Captain Star, using the laser cannons, eliminates those less than ½, Oola blasts the enemies greater than 1, and Starfriend, outside the ship, using its cosmic energy disintegrates invaders equivalent to ½. Crisis averted. Phew!

Artist: Isaac Losacco

That was just one fifth-grade small-group math period of epic stakes. Fun Fridays was designed to add a sense of adventure and excitement to learning math through incorporating a variety of themes based on students’ interests. One week, our brave space explorers had to compare fractions in order to cross a river infested with robot alligators! A different week, they had to negotiate with a sketchy two-headed mechanic to repair their crashed ship by multiplying the number of parts repaired each day by a different random price and adding the total cost of Galactic Units they would be set back.


Now, after going through a wormhole to another dimension, the adventuring party has shifted to role-playing as young wizards at Abracadabra Academy, adding mixed numbers to brew potions, subtracting fractions to cast spells, and multiplying decimals to battle fierce creatures lurking in the forest. Later in the year, in a dimension inspired by Greek Mythology, the students will be applying their geometry skills to fight Medusa, find the Golden Fleece and make it through the Labyrinth of Crete.


Students come up with their own Fun Friday themes and provide input as they are guided through the mathematical concepts. Each student is given ample opportunities to practice their skills individually as well as review material with their peers in the small-group setting. Math is a challenging and sometimes stressful subject for students; however, by incorporating it in an environment of socialization, with opportunities to use their imagination, and encouragement to express their own humor and creativity, the stress of math is completely gone!