Program Helps Roosevelt Students Learn Math

Friday, May 15th 2009, 9:34 pm
By: News On 6

By Ashli Sims, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Three years ago, a local elementary school had just over half of its students passing the state math tests.

Now the students are outscoring both state and district averages.

The room at Roosevelt Elementary is filled with clicking. Fingers moving so fast you almost don't notice their rapid-fire multiplication skills.

"It's like a video game, and it's fun and they're not that many programs out there that make math fun," said Mark McCurry, a Stigler doctor.

McCurry created the Soft Seven Math Races program, a series of minute-long drills. The higher the times table, the higher the score.

"Plus, they have a goal," McCurry said. "They can see themselves beating their score each day.

"They get excited, and they gain confidence. And they want to beat Einstein. And when they beat Einstein, they get an Einstein award they take home to their parents, and they're real excited about that."

One student is in the first grade, but he's multiplying, when many his age are just learning to add.

"My sister taught me half of it, and I learned the rest," Keveione Shields said.

Nine-year-old Zackary Anderson is gunning for top scorer in the school.

"I'm really into it now, 'cause it's so fun," said Zackary, a third-grader. "I practiced last year, when I first came here. I beat Einstein this year. And I just kept on practicing. Every time my teacher said we could have free time I always do Soft Seven."

The hard work paid off. He beat out kids several years older and scored an iPod shuffle.

Zackary says he wants to be a math teacher when he grows up.

All Roosevelt fifth graders passed the state math exam last year. More than 80 percent of the school's third- and fourth-graders also made the grade.