Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Film Focuses on Students and Math

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Film Focuses on Students and Math

Article excerpt

Mark your calendar, math teachers and parents of middle school math students. "Ko's Journey" is stopping in Pittsburgh today -- or rather, a documentary about the making of a math education video that aims at a notorious age group: sixth- and seventh-graders who often lose interest in math in their last years of middle school.

Imagine Education, a New Mexico-based education software company, will be showing the documentary, titled "The Biggest Story Problem: Why America's Students are Failing at Math," at Alloy Studio in Friendship tonight, and the public is invited.

Scott Laidlaw, a New Mexico middle school teacher, developed the video game "Ko's Journey" two years ago after observing in his classes what international math test scores already show -- in fourth grade, U.S. score at the top in math. By eighth grade, though, their scores are slightly below average.

Funded with a half-million dollar grant from Next Generation Learning Challenges -- a foundation whose supporters include Bill and Melinda Gates -- "Ko's Journey" incorporates the ancient approach of teaching through storytelling in a rite-of-passage journey, using live-action videos explaining how the math mastered in the game relates to real-life situations and standardized tests. …

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