About Math Can Take You Places
Math Can Take You Places is a comprehensive, research-based, algebra-readiness program for students in grades 3-6. The KERA Educational Resource Center, in partnership with Travelocity (a Sabre Holdings company), has developed a unique array of educational opportunities to help students learn and appreciate mathematics. Every piece of the project relates to one of our five focus areas—patterns, equivalency, problem solving, measurement and reasonableness. According to state and national test data, these five areas have been historically difficult for educators to teach and for students to master. The hands-on activities help students to actively engaged in exploring challenging mathematics concepts through interactive materials that emphasize the importance of mathematics in the real world.
Project components include:
- 25 standards-based lesson plans, which include recommendations for use with ESL (English as a Second Language) students
- 19 professionally illustrated games and activities
- 79 practice standardized test questions, in both English and Spanish, which incorporate higher-order thinking
- Five travel-centered student videos, in both English and Spanish, highlighting each of the concept areas and showcasing professionals in the workplace (Adolphus Hotel, American Airlines, Amtrak, Dallas Mavericks and Six Flags) applying math skills
- Five professional development videos and complete one-hour training templates designed to educate mathematics teachers on best practices for the following topics:
• Incorporating the Internet
• Using Manipulatives
• Teaching with Algebraic Emphasis
• Effective Uses of Video
• Mathematics in Everyday Life
- Online Interactive Game: “Let Reason Be Your Guide” enables students to take an imaginary trip to Bangkok, Thailand. Along the way, they must utilize their math skills to reach their destination.
- After School Component:
• 28 interactive games and activities designed to be the more physical and colorful companion to the Teacher’s Edition
• Printable full-color game pieces
• Evaluation tools, such as pre-and post assessments designed to track student progress
In 2002, Travelocity (a Sabre Holdings company) strategically decided to focus its community relations efforts on one signature program with the hope of making a greater impact in education on a much larger, and measurable, scale. KERA (North Texas Public Broadcasting) was a natural partner, given that the focus of its Educational Resource Center was to provide teachers with quality training and materials needed to be successful in the classroom. Since Travelocity’s focus is to develop innovative technological advances for the traveling public, it followed that the program should be travel-based and should attempt to attend to the growing need for a mathematics-literate workforce in the United States.
To convey the whimsical, exciting adventures a good math understanding can provide, Pressley-Jacobs: a design partnership created and kid-tested the program’s mascot, affectionately coined “Rocket Kid.” With the basic premise established, students in grades 3-6 were chosen as the focus grade range in an effort to pique elementary students’ interests in mathematics at a critically young age, thus establishing a passion for math that would carry into the more difficult middle grades. KERA immediately began researching state and national test data to determine which concept areas needed the most attention. Equivalency, Measurement, Patterns, Reasonableness and Problem Solving seemed to overwhelmingly be the most challenging areas for students on standardized tests, year after year. The KERA Master Teachers, curriculum consultants and an advisory panel consisting of mathematics and travel professionals worked hard to develop creative, fun ways to convey these concepts effectively, resulting in the creation of what is now known as Math Can Take You Places.