The Lydster, Part 142: First in Math

FIM512icon_singledigitsAt Thanksgiving, when we were at my in-laws, the Daughter became obsessed with being on the computer. But it wasn’t to be playing with the latest mind-numbing video trash. It was to play First in Math.

The variety of games include Measurement World, where one picks out the comparable length or weight in either metric, US customary, or mixed; Know and Show word problems; and Skill Sets. The latter uses the 24® Game, which, briefly, is getting four numbers and using the math functions, trying to get to 24.

For instance, if the numbers were 5, 6, 7, and 8, you could do: 5+7=12, 8-6=2, 12X2=24. But the actual timed play gets increasingly difficult, as the numbers include negative integers, fractions, and decimals. It gets even trickier when one has two sets of numbers, one number is unknown in each set and needs to be solved using the same missing variable.

FIM was designed to “Harness the power of digital gaming to build math skills.” Schools all over the country participated, but, as of the end of December, there wasn’t a New York State school in the top 100 of the country, less a matter of skill than a function of different emphasis.

Within the school district, the Daughter’s class was the last in her school, and her school among the last in the city to join First in Math, beginning in mid-October. At the end of the third week in November, she had about 4500 points, but by the time the turkey had digested in our stomachs, she’d reached 7500 points. And in mid-December, she obtained the coveted 10,000 points and got to first place in the city, overtaking some child two grades behind her at a different school.

Her class went from barely in the Top 50 in the state to the mid-teens. In the city, they are a solid #2, though it would be difficult – “Don’t say impossible!”, she implores – to catch them. A lot of that, though by no means, all of that rise came from her efforts.

I’d like to say that I have no idea where she gets this competitive streak. I’d like to say that, but it would be wrong.