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Alta Vista Elementary Wins Measured Treasure Math Challenge

March 13, 2019 - How often do you guesstimate the amount of money that’s sitting in your change jar at home? Some use fancy formulas to figure it out, but one community volunteer wanted to put local students to the test to do the hard work for them.

John Annis, Senior Vice President at Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, had been collecting coins in a glass jar at home over the last four years and was ready to cash them in. However, inspired by an initiative of Barancik Foundation to train teachers to use fun and engaging scenarios to teach students math techniques, Annis approached Sarasota County Schools to find a better way to invest the money.

Through the Measured Treasure Math Challenge, dozens of local elementary school classrooms received a video of Annis showing off the giant glass jar and challenging them to estimate how many dollars the coins added up to using their newly learned math concepts. Students were provided the dimensions of the jar and a rough idea of how many pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters lived in it.

If their competitive spirit wasn’t enough to motivate them, the students were incentivized with the prize of being able to keep the money to throw a class party if they won. Sarasota County Schools received numerous estimates back from classes before the two-month-long deadline.

On Monday, March 10th, Annis and members of Sarasota County Schools surprised Ms. Amylynn Seider’s third-grade class at Alta Vista Elementary School by delivering the jar of coins, along with an array of festive balloons and flowers. Ms. Seider’s class had submitted the winning guess of $330, only one dollar away from the $331 total. The students explained their process, while proudly admiring their new-found wealth.

Annis once again surprised the class, when he announced he also had a $331 check for Ms. Seider to use however she wanted.

“The fact that the students were able to get that close to the amount, within one dollar, is incredible,” said Annis. “It wasn’t just random guessing, and they couldn’t contain themselves when they were explaining how they used formulas and layers of calculations that they were taught. Of course, I also couldn’t forget how important our teachers are and what they do for our children each day, so I wanted to have something for Ms. Seider, too.”

“We want our students to be passionate about learning and stretching their skills,” commented Sue D’Angelo, math curriculum specialist for K-5 at Sarasota County Schools. “Barancik Foundation’s Maximizing Math Mentality initiative has revolutionized our approach to professional development in the field of mathematics. Thanks to John’s collaborative efforts, we delivered this unique and exciting learning opportunity to many students. Math is a crucial life skill, and we are committed to imparting that valuable knowledge to every student, every day.”