Frame around article about federal funding for MOVE IT Math

Mexico School Principal Learns about MOVE IT Math

Scott Reese Willey, Staff Reporter

The principal of a Guadalajara elementary school visited Victoria Friday to find new ways of making math fun for her students.

Teresita Sainz, principal of Antonio Caso, the largest private school in Guadalajara, Mexico, spent the afternoon Friday with University of Houston-Victoria math professor Paul Shoecraft.

The two toured a Victoria elementary school where students as young as 5 years old were having fun solving algebra problems through an exciting new program known as “Move It Math.”

The program developed by Shoecraft … over three decades recently received nationwide recognition for improving student interest and performance in mathematics.

Move It Math also captured the attention of Gov. Ann Richards who visited a Victoria elementary school two years ago to get a first-hand look at the program.

The innovative program teaches children complex math problems through the use of games instead of relying on memorization and bookwork.

Sainz praised the program Friday as Richards praised it….

“Perhaps we can get Doctor Shoecraft to come to Mexico and teach us [Move It Math],” she said, as she circulated among students at Dudley Elementary School.

It wouldn’t be the first time Shoecraft visited the Guadalajara elementary school since he introduced the concept to some of the school’s second-graders two years ago.

Sainz was sent to Texas to find out more about the program.

She said she hoped to find a way of rejuvenating middle-school students who have grown bored of xxx

math or who have given up on math altogether. The smiles, laughter and interest displayed by math students at Dudley convinced her she had found what she was looking for, she said.

And 11-year-old Eric Castillo, a Dudley fourth -grader, was one of the key players in convincing her of that.

He spent about five minutes demonstrating to Sainz how Move It Math worked by playing a board game with a kindergarten student.

Castillo taught the principal addition, subtraction, multiplication and division through a game in which dice are rolled and different-sized blocks are subtracted or added to a playing board.

There are ... different sizes of blocks in the game, he explained. Each of the blocks are sized so that if they are put together, they form a block one size larger.

To begin the [subtraction] game, blocks of different sizes are placed on the board.

To win the game, all of the blocks must be removed.

That is accomplished through a roll of … a die.

If the die lands on the number three, for instance, then three [unit] blocks … must be taken off the board.

If three [unit] blocks are not on the playing board, then the player may exchange a larger block for smaller blocks [and so on until they have three or more unit blocks].

It’s like exchanging a quarter for five nickels … said Shoecraft....

Dr. Paul Shoecraft explains MOVE IT Math to principal from Guadalajara.

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