Businesses Helping Students Flex their Math Muscles

Lucas Richardson, a first-grader at Lakes Elementary School in Lacey, visited SCJ Alliance with his mother for the Math for Life event on Wednesday. Lucas’ father, Captain Adam Richardson in air defense, is currently deployed in Afghanistan.
Lucas Richardson, a first-grader at Lakes Elementary School in Lacey, visited SCJ with his mother for the Math for Life event on Wednesday. Lucas’ father, Captain Adam Richardson in air defense, is currently deployed in Afghanistan.

Dozens of school kids are flexing their math muscles this week at SCJ Alliance. We’re participating in the Thurston County Chamber’s Math for Life event, celebrating national “Math Awareness Month.” The Chamber’s goal is to show kids that math is a life skill, not just an academic subject.

“Math for Life is a natural fit for our team,” said Ross Jarvis, a civil engineer at SCJ. “The problems are challenging, but watching their determination to solve the problem and seeing their smiles when they come to the correct solution makes it all worthwhile for me.

Siblings Brenden and Brooke Perez, 4th grader and kindergartener at Evergreen Forest Elementary, visited SCJ for the event on Thursday.
Siblings Brenden and Brooke Perez, 4th grader and kindergartener at Evergreen Forest Elementary, visited SCJ for the event on Thursday.

Part of the responsibility of the hosting businesses is to give a brief explanation of how math is used in their work.

“The trick is to make it relatable to them,” Ross said. “I like to find something they are interested in and tell a story about how civil engineers would use math when working with something like that.”

Math for Life student participants are given a scavenger hunt map of participating businesses to pick and choose where to visit and answer math questions.

Last year, nearly 700 students participated in the Chamber’s event which draws from the Griffin, Olympia, North Thurston, and Tumwater school districts.

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