A group of Victoria area educators and business people previewed a new University of Houston – Victoria video Monday introducing “Move It,” an innovative math-ematics education program aimed at elementary teachers.
UHV professor Paul Shoecraft, who developed the “Move It” math program, said some innovations are very easy to accept.
“I’d like to see half the students in this country able to do monster math by the year 2000,” Shoecraft said. “It’s possible.”
He said 15 to 20 schools in the area already are trying the program. Calhoun County ISD has made terrific strides with the Move It program. Comal ISD is using it as a district. Other districts, such as Hallettsville, Gonzales, Waelder, Victoria, Beeville, El Campo, Bay City and Palacios, have initiated the Move It program into some of their classrooms.
University President Glenn A. Goerke said UHV received a $75,000 grant from Union Carbide which helped get initial introduction to several classrooms started this year. He said he would like to see a $1 million endowment to help extend the outreach of the Move It program.
“Move It is not that kind of innovation,” he said. “It doesn’t make what we now do better. It replaces it.”
A first-grade class from O’Connor Elementary School demonstrated their Move It math skills for the group, answering problem after problem and asking for more.
Goerke said UHV is on the cutting edge of revo-lutionizing how math is taught at the elementary level.
Goerke cited recent headlines in which the National Endowment for the Humanities raps training, testing, and textbooks, or others which say the U.S. is running short of scientific minds.
“Nationally, the number of college freshmen majoring in the physical sciences has dropped from 3.3 percent in 1966 to 2.2 percent last year. Math and statistics have fared even worse — 0.6 percent of freshmen plan to go into those majors this year,” he said. “If you look at our programs in engineering and math and science right now, you will find there are very few non-nationals moving through our programs,” he said. “Something has got to change and not just at the university level.
“We need to take a look at whether there are better ways and better methods of moving a great number of youngsters through the elementary school who are conversant and not turned off to math because it’s a base xxx
for just about everything else we do. There’s a direct corre-lation between success in mathematics and success in high school and college,” Goerke said.
The video states that American children are in jeopardy. “Unlike previous generations, they will live and work in a global economy and compete for jobs and opportunities on an international scale.”
According to Shoecraft, “The major reason why children from other nations are ahead of American children is because children from other nations are exposed to quality mathematics early on in their education.
“We have incredibly low expectations for our children. I think the American assumption is mathematics is hard. It’s not something that someone naturally likes. Only a very small elite group like mathematics and can do it. Basically, we protect our children from mathematics in kindergarten through the eighth grade.”
Move It is an acronym for “mathematics opportunities, valuable experiences, innovative teaching.” The program focuses on the skills and thought processes children must acquire to succeed in mathematics. The program meets children on their terms, and results in children demanding more, bigger and harder problems.
Move It projects mastery of whole number arithmetic by grades two or three [and mastery of] fractions, decimals, and percent by grades three or four.
Pam Dolezal, a teacher at Hallettsville Elementary, said her first grade students are doing algebra, solving equations like “3+X=5” or “10=Y+6.” They do monster addition and subtraction problems, adding any ten 10-digit numbers and subtracting any two 10-digit numbers and do them correctly.
According to Shoecraft, this achievement alone means a savings of more than two years of instructional time …. The conventional textbook-based curriculum “guarantees boredom and punishes learning,” he said.
“We’re asking teachers to retrain,” said Shoecraft. “The longer they stay in the standard curriculum, the greater their students’ risk of becoming math damaged.”
New UHV Math Video Screened
Don Brown, Staff Reporter
The Victoria Advocate, November 21, 1990
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