Klamath Falls, Oregon – Why pour over multiplication tables when you can play a fun family game instead?

This month, along with the math assignments posted weekly through the online platform Google Classroom, every elementary school child in the Klamath Falls City School district received a box of hands-on materials for fun math games and activities.

The Distance Learning Math Boxes were designed for each grade level by Educational Solutions Northwest to support the district’s elementary math curriculum, called Bridges, which combines direct instruction with structured investigation and open exploration.

According to Janis Heigl, an Oregon-based educational consultant who designed and produced the curriculum materials, they contain a variety of grade-specific materials, such as “base 10” building cubes that are a visual and physical way for children to learn addition, subtraction, number sense, place value and patterns.

“The toolboxes are built to support mathematics education for students at every elementary grade level, and their versatility will allow students to continue to learn even when working from home during these unusual times,” Mrs. Heigl shared with the school district.

Within a few days, teachers began hearing positive feedback.

“Jeffery and I had so much fun playing our first math game tonight,” said Pelican Elementary parent Devynn Rasdal.

“My son Braden used his kit to create a Monopoly game that’s given lots of practice counting money and making change,” wrote Mills Elementary parent Jeff Haudenshild.

“We’re using the math boxes as an incentive when our kids get their online math work done,” said Dani Harmon, a parent at Roosevelt Elementary. “It’s really great when you can get an older sibling to help out, too!”

“They’ve been really fun!” said Lauren Petersen, who has three children at Roosevelt. “I love that the games are simple and easy for me to sit down and play with them as well as for them to play together. We have been grateful for the extra resource.”

The math box project was coordinated by Gerard Collins, KFCS director of federal programs and elementary curriculum, and supported through Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) District Partnerships – Title IA grant funding. The Oregon Department of Education is encouraging districts to find new and interesting ways to engage students in rigorous, standards-based online learning opportunities.

“The hands-on activities creatively reinforce the math concepts we’re teaching through video-based instruction during distance learning,” said Collins. “Engaging our parents in the activities helps promote richer academic achievement for our children. It’s exciting to hear the great positive feedback from our families about the play-based learning. It was money well spent!”


Miles Petersen creates designs with “Pattern Blocks” from his kindergarten math box

Kindergartner Miles Petersen and his third-grade sister Claire play “Trash,” a math game
played with either addition cards or multiplication cards.

A second-grade math box contains supplies for activities that reinforce measuring, telling
time and counting money.