Math Magician helps Students to Want to Study Numbers USA

17 09 2009

By Courtney Cobb – Journal Writer

math

POCATELLO, IDAHO – A new spin has been put on mathematics as Tendoy Elementary students use some magic to study various math concepts.

Bob Bishop, the Math Magician, has delighted students in kindergarten through sixth grade and teachers with his magic skills and math abilities over the past week.

“Math is so necessary in life,” he said. “It’s not just making math fun, but it’s also trying to attach some sense of understanding for students.”

Fifth grade teacher Vicki Reeder’s class had the opportunity to spend some time with Bishop while working on problem solving skills.

Students worked with calculators, the box of magic, learned how to do multiplication tables with their fingers, played a game called fast and loose and other activities.

During a game of fast and loose, Bishop produced a single chain and proceeded to fold it into a series of loops.

Students were asked to pick a loop and place their finger inside it. If they had guessed correctly the loop would stay around their finger. However, if they guessed incorrectly, the loop would slip away.

“You will win if you know mathematics, but you’ll lose if you don’t,” Bishop said.

Students learned how to follow the loops and determine the correct place to put their fingers.

Bishop has been performing for students and other audiences for 10 years and says he continually teaches students and teachers how math can be fun.

He said many students work with arithmetic but don’t fully understand problem solving skills.

With the help of a little magic, students are forced to observe the environment around them for any changes and think about possible outcomes.

“Generally students don’t really care to do math because it’s not fun,” Bishop said. “By making it interesting and proving to them they can do it, it helps to raise their self-esteem and interest level in math.”

Bishop will perform along with Tendoy Elementary students at 6:30 p.m. today for a Math Night.

Fifth grade student Quinci Shelley is acting as Bishop’s assistant during the show and said she can’t wait to perform for other students.

“I think it’s cool and it’s a good opportunity for us,” she said. “Some people don’t like math, but when they see this show it sparks their interest.”

Fifth grade student Brant Leo will lead the audience in applause, but said working with Bishop has been great because he’s learned new things.

“He’s helping students to improve their math by using cool tricks,” he said.

Bishop also worked with teachers after school and gave them various activities they can do with students in their classrooms.

“By making math fun, students will learn to enjoy it more and it will give them a sense of pride as they figure out difficult problems,” he said.

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