Date posted: 04/28/2006*
Washington, D.C., event and star-studded online session prove homework can be fun
On April 26, 2006, thousands of middle school students joined forces with Raytheon’s MathMovesU program to make homework history. In living rooms, libraries and classrooms from coast to coast, students transformed the oft-dreaded homework assignment into the coolest after-school session ever.
Raytheon’s MathMovesU program developed the Hippest Homework Happening, the first-ever event of its kind, to prove to young students that math can add up to cool careers. A pre-event celebration on Capitol Hill kicked off the event, which culminated in an online homework session with kid-cool celebrities such as BMX biker Dave Mirra, basketball legend Lisa Leslie, and Olympic gold medalist Apolo Ohno. The Hippest Homework Happening brought national attention to math education and received outstanding marks from students and teachers alike.
Government Leaders, Celebrity Guests Attend Capitol Hill Event
On the morning of April 26, the D.C. community joined Raytheon leaders to host a pre-event in Upper Senate Park in Washington, D.C. The guests of honor? One hundred students and teachers from the Freedom Middle School in Fredericksburg, Va. On hand to support the morning’s activities were Raytheon’s Bill Lynn, senior vice president of strategy; Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.; Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis, R-Va.; professor Jonathan Farley and Dr. Sarah Greenwald of Hollywood Math and Science Film Consulting; and surprise celebrity guest Apolo Ohno, 2006 Olympic gold medalist in short-track speed skating.
Lynn extended a warm welcome to the students and teachers and thanked the government leaders for their dedication to improving math education for young students and supporting the MathMovesU program. “Our survey revealed that 81 percent of kids said they would be more interested in math if they were shown how math is incorporated into high-profile careers, such as music, sports and video game design. We created the MathMovesU program to show kids how their heroes use math every day in unexpected ways. And, we have a number of these heroes here today.”
Following Lynn’s introduction, Kennedy and Davis addressed the crowd, reinforcing the connection between math, our national education system, and “cool jobs and bright futures” for young students.
“We really need your interest in math and science,” Kennedy said. “It’s enormously important to career opportunities ... and hopefully, with this program developed by Raytheon, it’ll also be fun, too.”
Farley and Greenwald took to the stage next to provide real-life examples of how math education can lead to cool careers. As staff members of Hollywood Math and Science Film Consulting, the two associates help TV and movie producers ensure the technical details of their scripts are accurate, working on popular TV series including Numb3rs and Medium. Farley introduced the morning’s surprise guest as one of the “faster men on skates on planet earth.”
On cue, Olympic gold medalist Apolo Ohno skated to center stage accompanied by loud cheers. He revealed to students that he was a middle schooler himself when he started training to bring home the gold. “Math is very relevant in my career and in my life,” he said. “From counting laps around the rink and calculating speed, to determining the shortest distance between me and the finish line, math is vital to what I do every day. Whatever your dreams may be, math is somehow related.”
After skating around the perimeter of the park, Ohno skated over to students to sign autographs and answer questions, giving them an impromptu math lesson they will not soon forget.
Try Your Math Skills With a Hippest Homework Happening Challenge Problem
Happening Heroes Headline Online Event
That night, students all across the country logged on to MathMovesU.com for the Hippest Homework Happening and a chance to solve challenging word problems with the help of their celebrity heroes. By the day after the event, more than 12,000 students across the country had completed 38,000 challenging math problems … with the numbers continuing to climb!
When students logged on to MathMovesU.com, they were able to choose assignments from among six celebrities: soccer star Mia Hamm, BMX biker Dave Mirra, Olympic gold medalist Apolo Ohno, football linebacker Willie McGinest, skateboard champion Tony Hawk and basketball legend Lisa Leslie, as well as Hollywood math whiz Jonathan Farley. Challenging math problems asked them to calculate such things as the speed and distance needed to score a soccer goal and the miles per hour required to score an Olympic gold. Upon completing their assignments, students could email copies directly to their teachers.
The two-hour homework event was not only a dream assignment for students, but also a well-deserved respite for teachers. “We wanted to show our appreciation to America’s math teachers by giving them a night off from grading and assigning homework,” said Lucy Flynn, Raytheon vice president of global marketing communications at Raytheon. “It’s not just about engaging the students; it’s also about rewarding the teachers!” Teachers could also send in their students’ completed assignments for a chance to win a new computer system for their school.
By helping students connect the dots between their education and cool careers, Raytheon and the MathMovesU program are working to show students — on their terms — how math helps pave the way toward their bright futures.
More Than Fun: MathMovesU Provides Opportunities
Raytheon is dedicated not only to making math fun for young students, but also to providing them and their teachers with opportunities. In 2006, Raytheon will commit $2 million to the MathMovesU initiative, including $1 million for special grants and scholarships for students, teachers and schools.
Due to the program’s resounding success, the Hippest Homework Happening will continue through May 3, offering students the chance to test their skills with challenging math problems; apply for scholarships and grants; and win exciting prizes by logging onto MathMovesU.com.
Through events such as the Hippest Homework Happening, Raytheon and MathMovesU hope to inspire young students and help them realize the positive impact that math can have on their lives.
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