By SARAH FOOR
Every Thursday, a group of 40 or more Union Elementary fourth-graders give up their time after school to practice a game called Math 24.
The object of the game is to make the number 24 by using four numbers on a game card. Players can add, subtract, multiply and divide to come up with their answer. The Math 24 Club at Union has always been a project of the school’s PTO volunteers, who donate their time to teach the ins and outs of the game.
“At the fourth-grade level, we’re trying to prepare the students for the Math 24 tournaments held in our area. We try to break up friends and mix groups and stress how to properly explain the process they used to get to 24 after each and every card,” explained PTO representative Carol D’Alesio.
The fourth-graders practice together from November to March and the concepts are introduced to Union third-graders from March through June. At the close of the year, the Math 24 Club hosts a school tournament and crowns a Math 24 champion.
During their Thursday practices, the students work in small groups and receive help from Poland High School student volunteers and PTO representatives. If the card is tough for an adult volunteer as well, the problem is offered to the entire club and the group works it out together.
“The kids really love this game and we’re glad they’re giving their time to practice it. There is a race to figure out each problem and to finish first which keeps it exciting. In the meantime, the students are building a great foundation of math skills,” D’Alesio added.