The Numbers Lady Visits Jamaica

August 13-15, 2012


Dr. Klemm, The Numbers Lady, traveled to Jamaica in August to share NumbersAlive! with children around the Island. Working with the U.S. State Department, she taught hundreds of Jamaican teachers and coaches about using sports to teach principles of math and science. By learning about the arc of a basketball shot or the timing of a sprinter’s run, teachers and coaches learned how to create lessons for the specific ages of their students that use the scientific method to explore the math that underlies everything we do, even sports.

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Read the press release from the US Embassy in Jamaica:

Improving student performance in Math and Science through Sports

Approximately 300 educators from primary and secondary schools across the island participated in three one-day workshops analyzing the interplay of Math, Sports and Science in education. Led by noted American statistician and researcher, Dr. Rebecca Klemm , ‘The Numbers Lady’, participants received practical tips on how to improve student engagement and stimulate increased learning of the respective subject areas at both educational levels.

With ongoing concerns among local education officials on students’ underperformance in Math and Science, U.S. Embassy Kingston, sponsors of the workshop, deliberately targeted these subject areas and matched them with Jamaican’s athletic prowess to develop the concept of the workshop.

The targeted sporting fields were track and field, basketball and football, three of the most popular games locally. Topics included the pendulum effect of arms and legs in sprinting, speed measurement, the balance of force and reaction, observance of the arc and parabolic differences at the basketball free throw line.

Dr. Joyce Graham Royal, Education Officer for Physical Education and Sport with the Ministry of Education commented that “the workshop was comprehensive and concise with lots of meaningful content and methodology presented in a way that will make the process of learning and teaching enjoyable and fun. There was application of many concepts in a simple and creative way.” Teachers who were heavily engaged also expressed the importance of the element of integration across all three disciplines and affirmed that they plan on using the strategies demonstrated, especially in helping those students who are heavily challenged academically. Dr. Klemm who was impressed with the island’s teachers described participants as eager who proffered lively discussions in each session.

Workshops were held, August 13-15 at the UWI’s Western Campus, G.C. Foster College and the University of Technology and closely followed the Embassy’s Early Childhood Education Workshop, held in July, which prepared teachers from the islands basic and infant schools which feed into USAID funded primary schools. Teachers were trained on the use of the Crayons Counts kits, which will contain a host of learning tools for use at the Early Childhood level. Both workshops demonstrate the U.S. Government’s ongoing commitment to Jamaica’s educational system.

Read the press release announcing her visit.