What We Do

Why is the National Math Foundation Needed?

Reaching high-need students continues to be a challenge as the achievement gap widens. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the transition of schools to virtual/hybrid learning platforms, students have fallen drastically behind in key math and reading skills. More than ever, we need math and literacy support!

Too often, a child’s progression in school creates unnecessary anxiety. Being forced to learn in a highly structured and non-interactive environment decreases the potential for developing a love of learning. Pressure to succeed can build causing angst, making students reject the lesson and ultimately education itself.

The National Math Foundation intervenes by considering the whole child. We promote program material dedicated to instilling a love of movement and math. Skip counting while clapping, swinging from side to side, or running in place develops students’ verbal and motor skill coordination.

Math & Movement – the curriculum embraced by the NMF – offers children the opportunity to acquire confidence in sharing ideas regardless of physical ability. A child in top physical condition can participate, enjoy, and learn alongside a fellow student with physical limitations. Motions can be adapted to suit the child’s needs.

Teachers who use techniques that focus on lesson engagement captivate the full attention of their students. By introducing movement, song, creative thinking, and teamwork, fun enters and remains in the classroom. These simple changes will cause a vital, seismic shift. Learning can be as natural and appealing as child’s play!

The State of Education: An “F” in Math

Local, state, and, national officials recognize that the value of education lies in our children’s future contribution to society. The government puts considerable resources toward a national public school system – an investment in the future of the United States. The United States is one of the primary world powers, yet is ranked low in math and science scores compared to other developed nations. According to a study University of Missouri psychologists, “math is critical for success in many fields, and the United States is not doing a great job of teaching math.” Low math rankings place young Americans at a disadvantage as they grow and enter the international workforce. 

Results of the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress show that elementary and middle school students scored worse in reading than they did two years ago. About only 41% of fourth-graders and 34% of eighth-graders scored proficient in math. Unfortunately, we can only expect these numbers to decrease as a result of schools’ closings due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even after graduation, math is unavoidable. Every day we use basic skills to calculate how much to tip the waiter, how far we can drive on a tank of gas, or the amount of change the cashier will return. We develop these skills early and should build on them as we grow. However, children in the United States are not retaining and expanding upon these basic math skills enough to succeed in advanced studies, much less in the workplace.

Building a Foundation: Making Movement Count

Traditional math skills offer direct, behavioral instruction. Teachers lecture and students sit in a quiet, controlled setting. Beyond the student raising their hand to answer a question, little to no imagination or interaction is used. This stationary style breeds boredom, discourages creativity, and contributes to childhood obesity, costing taxpayers and families dollars and lives.

The National Math Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization that addresses issues of math achievement and obesity by working with elementary schools nationwide. By adding playful fun to learning, the National Math Foundation’s approach breaks the mold of traditional teaching techniques. The National Math Foundation’s programming targets elementary-age children in order to ensure long-lasting results. A strong educational basis developed at a young age will provide a distinct advantage as the child grows.

Collaboration of educators and professionals in fields such as health, physical education, nutrition, and mathematics will teach life necessities, like basic nutrition, health, and literacy. Instead of simply supplying information, the National Math Foundation promotes kinesthetic teaching techniques – inviting students to fully engage in each lesson.

Opposition to Supplemental and Modern Teaching Methods

Educators who have seen success with conventional methods may be hesitant to try something new, especially if it requires a sizable time and monetary investment. This obstacle could prevent educators from further pursuing successful innovations in education, including those offered by the NMF. With a strong emphasis on standardized testing, teachers must enforce a rigorous curriculum guided by state and national regulations.

Some educators may feel that supplemental programming, such as the services provided by the National Math Foundation, detracts from mandated lessons. These teaching techniques, although proven successful in increasing retention and appreciation of a subject, do not cover all information required by state or national standards. With tight constraints on time and resources, educators may feel that the programming is an unnecessary luxury…until they try it.

With our programs, seeing (and playing) is believing. Demonstrations and teacher interactions are key to spreading the word about the importance of play-based learning. Once teachers try Math & Movement, most educators start asking how they can bring it to their classrooms. We want to be ready to respond to their requests and foster their excitement about incorporating a new approach to learning.

Looking Forward to a More Active Future

The National Math Foundation strives to bridge the gap between scientific studies and the application of kinesthetic learning. Research results show a positive correlation between movement and learning, however, few educational organizations have taken advantage of these opportunities. By developing extensive programs that use movement-based techniques to build a strong foundation in literacy in math and reading – and in healthy habits – the services and resources of the NMF will show immediate results through improved grades and will continue to benefit communities as math scores improve across the country. By instilling confidence in children’s academics and respect for health in their lifestyle, the National Math Foundation’s programs provide young people the skills necessary to make a successful life as well as a living.

Learn About The American Rescue Plan

The federal government is sending funds to schools to help students get back to grade-level due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more about how you can help to get those funds to the right places, click the link below.