Video: 2015 CHAMPS Conference Teaches Educators Innovative Teaching Methods

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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) — It’s the subject most students have the most trouble with and state test scores prove it. But if taught correctly, it’s probably the most useful subject in a person’s life. That’s the goal of a two-day conference at MUW.

For 11 years, the  Creating High Achievement in Mathematics and Problem Solving, or CHAMPS program, has helped teachers zero in on tricks to make math successful in the classroom.

A weekend conference focuses on what is broken in math education and what educators can do to fix it with interactive teaching.

“We’ve had teachers come back to us and have said that it’s changed the way they teach and their students are more engaged, that they’re really getting more out of the class and they’re really pleased with the end result of the CHAMPS program,” said CHAMPS program manager, Kenny Langley.

The conference features several experts, including Dan Meyer, who has been named an Apple Distinguished Educator and one of Tech and Learning’s 30 Leaders of the  Future.

“We make these huge promises to kids that math and the real world are tightly connected, you need this stuff, then we give them these lifeless problems and these flat paper text books, with all this technology around, so we have to improve that, offer kids better experiences, more meaningful problems to solve that they care about in math class,” said keynote speaker, Dan Meyer.

Ethan Smith is a math specialist for Teach For America in Mississippi. He says sharing ideas helps him improve and learn ideas to share with others.

“Dan Meyer gave a really great keynote introduction for us about the emphasis that math teachers often place on answer getting instead of really thinking about the questions that students should be considering with mathematics to engage them,” said conference participant, Ethan Smith.

Intensive break out sessions help participants discuss and test their own ideas and those of others. Meyer hopes it all leads to a group of teachers taking a new approach.

“Hope that teachers this semester will ask students all the same calculation questions about numbers, solving this and doing that, but also more interesting questions about the world and where math can apply,” added Meyer.
The CHAMPS conference runs through Saturday and it is open to current and former CHAMPS educators currently teaching third through eighth grade.

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