Dr. Rebecca Mannis, learning specialist and founder of the Ivy Prep Learning Center had the idea last year to take advantage of kids’ love for baseball to help them with an area that many kids dread: math. Mannis’s instructional model is very near and dear to our hearts here at The Yellin Center: she links her background in neuropsychology with remediation and enrichment, effectively helping both struggling kids who need remediation and academically-talented kids who need supplementation. Mannis says that she often works with kids who demonstrate great math thinking skills but have difficulty executing math problems. For example, a child may be great at reasoning through a problem, but her weak knowledge of math facts can throw a wrench into the works when it comes to actually solving the problem.
Enter the Baseball Math Challenge, a daily email for students ages 7-12 containing a baseball-related math problem. This is the program’s second year. Mannis hopes that the subject matter will be motivating for kids, and that the extra practice will help bolster math skills in students whose intelligence is not always recognized. In addition, the real-life scenarios presented by the problems can serve as a model to parents and teachers; they demonstrate a way to engage gifted youngsters in the kind of math they find around them all the time. Who knew a trip to the old ball game could be so enriching?
As an extra incentive, Mannis notes that the first 75 kids to answer 15 math challenge questions correctly will receive gift cards to Modell’s Sporting Goods. Even if they’re not some of the first to get to 15 correct answers, participants will also be entered into a raffle to win baseball tickets, free time in the batting cages, and more.
Want to step up to the plate? Check out a sample question and instructions about how to send an email and ask to be added to the "MVP Minds" list. You will receive a daily email with a baseball math problem and instructions for how to submit answers. The Challenge began this week, and Mannis says she plans to continue the daily emails until the end of the academic year.