Using Community Engagement to Learn Mathematics

On October 30, Sarah Luposello’s 4th grade class learned how to subtract across 0s by challenging her students to figure out the age of various community members in the year 2000.
The project had two goals. One: to help students practice their subtraction skills, especially with large numbers that required ample borrowing. And two: help the 4th graders learn their community better. Students were encouraged to talk with A-S staff and faculty beyond the teachers and administrators they already knew. A requirement of the project was for students to introduce themselves and shake hands with those they were asking questions to. Those who answered were encouraged to come up with unrealistic years they were born, to help further expand students’ subtraction skills-- some staffers said they were even born in the 13th century!
“My students had not only to get the year community members were born but also check their work,” said Ms. Luposello. “Some of the years were easy to subtract, or the answers were obvious, but it was important they wrote it out. The boys really enjoyed the answers they got, too. And the staff loved talking with them.”

Allen-Stevenson’s distinctive “enlightened traditional” approach educates boys to become scholars and gentlemen.