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As a child, I always looked forward to summer reading challenges. Competitive by nature, I’d sign up and check out a ton of books and read like crazy to earn my certificate as quickly as I could. As I grew older and had kids of my own, I made sure they participated in similar reading challenges each summer. Like me, they love to read to earn their certificates when they complete their reading logs.
Summer reading challenges are great for keeping up kids’ reading skills during the summer. But, what about keeping up with math? Honestly, until I heard about The DoSeum’s new Mathletics exhibit, it never occurred to me to challenge my kids to continue learning and using math in the same way we encourage kids to read during the summer months. But it makes so much sense!
San Antonio is fortunate to have The DoSeum, a world-class children’s museum, in our city. The DoSeum turns great ideas from top educators into exhibits our kids can learn from and love. This summer, The DoSeum, along with top sponsor HEB and partners, including the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department and the YMCA, brings us Mathletics: a new, interactive exhibit that pairs fun, movement-oriented math activities with a summer challenge to keep kids excited about and working with math.
How does the Mathletics Summer Challenge Work?
You don’t have to wait to get started! You can register your child for the Mathletics Challenge online and download and print their Challenge Log to being completing tasks.
There are five categories of challenges:
Each category includes four tasks that need to be completed. Most of the tasks (90% of them) can be completed at home, in your neighborhood, and around the city. One task in each category (noted in your Challenge Log with special symbols) must be completed at the Mathletics Training Center at The DoSeum. And, remember: The DoSeum offers two HEB Free Family Nights each month so you can take advantage of free admission to complete your Mathletics tasks!
Once your child completes a category, they can show it to the staff member at the Mathletics desk in the lobby to receive that category’s medal. Or they can turn in their Challenge Log when they complete all five categories and receive all five medals at once. When your child turns in his/her log, he or she will also be entered into a drawing for a chance to win tickets to a special, invitation-only DoLympics party on August 13 and a chance to win a free birthday party.
As my 11-year-old said, “These medals are LEGIT!” Both of my kids are really impressed with the quality of the medals and can’t wait to earn them all.
When you’re ready to head to The DoSeum, use our five tips below for a great trip to the Mathletics exhibit!
Five tips for a great trip to the Mathletics exhibit at The DoSeum:
While you can definitely start your Mathletics Summer Challenge at home by downloading your Challenge Log, you can also do what our family did and get started with the Summer Challenge at The DoSeum. Here are a few tips from our visit that will help you make the most of your time there.
1. Go early in the day.
If it’s later in the day and the exhibit is crowded, you’ll wait longer to complete your required tasks. Go when The DoSeum opens (or shortly after) to get the best access to Mathletics.
2. Be sure to grab the correct Challenge Log for your child’s age range.
Mathletics offers two challenge logs for two distinct age groups: one is for kids in grades K-2 and the other is for kids in grades 3-5.
We picked up logs based upon the grade our kids are entering in the fall (3rd and 6th) which was fine for our rising 6th grader who had completed 5th grade math. But, for our rising 3rd grader (who had only completed 2nd grade math), the 3rd-5th grade booklet was too complex and frustrated him. We learned that he had more fun and felt more confident in his math skills while using the K-2 Challenge Log.
3. Read through all five of the categories first.
While reading through it, note which task in each category must be completed during your visit to The DoSeum so you’re sure to tackle those first before heading home.
And, some of the tasks that are not required to be performed at The DoSeum can still be performed there. For instance, the Speed category has a running challenge in which kids are supposed to run around their house, counting the number of times they make it around in two minutes. Instead, my kids ran around the 100-year-old tree in The Big Outdoors section of The DoSeum to calculate their laps and complete that task. And instead of visiting HEB to count the items the cashier scanned in 30 seconds, they counted how many times a child scanned items in Little Town’s HEB.
By doing a few of the home/neighborhood challenges at The DoSeum, your child can complete at least one and maybe two categories and receive a medal before they leave The DoSeum (whetting their appetite for earning the others!).
4. Look both high and low for the required symbols while in the exhibit.
You’ll find the required tasks that must be done at the exhibit by matching them to a symbol listed in the Challenge Log. We spent some of our time hunting for symbols up high, near the top of the challenges but then noticed that a few are located low (the measuring station, for one, displays its symbol at the bottom of a mirror, near the ground). We’d walked by that required challenge at least two times looking for it!
You’ll also want to be sure you’re looking for the symbol that matches your child’s Challenge Log. Remember, there are two different logs, one for grades K-2 and one for grades 3-5 and, therefore, two different sets of required symbols.
5. Put down your phone while experiencing the exhibit.
I promise: I’m not judging parents who use mobile phones! I’m one of them. And, if you’re like me, you’re often working, while on the go, with your kids in tow. Sometimes you do have to check email for that important message or take that call. But believe me when I say both you and your kids will get the most out of this exciting exhibit if you’re participating in it together.
While touring the exhibit with my kids, I saw several parents sitting off to the side on their phones while their kids (some very young) attempted to navigate the exhibit alone. Sure, your kids are probably bright enough to figure out what they need to do to explore and complete the challenges. But by participating with them, you’ll be making memories together and encouraging them to get excited about math.
Also, sometimes when parents were on phones and weren’t paying attention, their kids took too much time at a station, which meant the line to try out that task got too long and crowded. Make memories with your child and model good manners by moving along at a timely pace so everyone can enjoy Mathletics.
As my friends at The DoSeum reminded me, “Math is everywhere! You see it wherever you go, all day, every day!” Mathletics shows our kids where to find the math in their daily life as well as how important and, yes, fun, it can be. The interactive exhibit also extends their math skills throughout the summer.
This is The DoSeum’s first summer for Mathletics. They plan to continue the program, and the challenge, with different ideas and partners, each summer. And, they’d love to know what you think about Mathletics after you’ve visited. Be sure to let The DoSeum know what you and your kids like about the exhibit to help them prepare for next year.
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