Have you signed your student up to LearnStorm yet? LearnStorm is the new name for the Mathslete Challenge open to students in Ireland, Chicago, Idaho and the Bay Area. The competition is open to students in 4th class right up to 5th year nationwide in primary and post-primary schools. Students are asked to commit a minimum of 1 hour per week for the duration of the competition.The challenge launches the 29th of January and will run up to the 1st of April. To sign up just go to www.learnstorm.ie .
LearnStorm, formerly known as Mathletes, started two years ago in Ireland with an aim to increase young people’s confidence and skills in mathematics. Students can take part at school or at home using any type of device once they have access to the internet.
LearnStorm rewards progress as well as perseverance which gives students of all abilities the chance to compete and succeed. There are additional weekly Growth Mindset activities created to engage the mind and support the development of different learning strategies. Last year 12,667 students took part in the challenge from 289 schools across Ireland. Between them a total of over 2 million new skills were mastered. Looking at last year’s finalist, there were few girls taking their places among the top ranks. This year it would be great to see more girls powering up their mathematical abilities and giving the boys a run for their money!
The focus is on students mastering new concepts and developing skills in mathematics as opposed to just practicing or testing what they already know. The learning is accomplished through the very popular Khan Academy site. Khan Academy provides video tutorials and interactive challenges to provide a rich learning experience for students across a range of subjects including maths, science, computer programming, history and economics. The technology is adaptive such that it suitably challenges and progresses students based on their own ability. From a teacher perspective the Khan Academy learning analytics dashboard enables them to coach students and quickly identify those who may have learning gaps or those who are excelling.
Once registered for the LearnStorm Challenge students work independently with the content, earning points along the way. Their points are considered on an individual level as well at class level. Teachers or parents must sign up in order for students to participate in the competition. As well as earning badges and Khan Academy certificates, prizes are awarded to top performing classes (this is done on a provincial basis) and also the top performing individuals. Last year prizes included trophies, iPads, chromebooks, Lego education workshops & classroom materials, and €10,000 in university scholarships from Dublin City University.
I imagine growth in the number of schools and students participating in this year’s competition. It’s a great way to create a buzz around the school and about maths of all things! Here’s a video from Fingal Community School who took the top spot last year for the total number of skills mastered.
If your school does get involved don’t forget to tweet your victories along the way using #learnstorm2016 .