Mathematics

Math: It’s in the Cards

By Caroline Cournoyer — April 04, 2011 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Using games to teach math skills is old hat, but a Virginia high school’s decision to sanction after-school poker in a math teacher’s classroom has some people talking.

Last fall, in a story first reported by The Washington Post, George Mason High School in Fairfax, Va., approved a student poker club, sparking concerns from some anti-gambling groups.

At first, the school’s principal, Tyrone Byrd, was hesitant to allow the club. But after researching the game and talking to colleagues, Bryd told the Teacher PD Sourcebook, “It came down to whether or not I trusted the kids and teacher, and if I could find any academic validity to what they were doing. And the answer was yes. So I said, ‘Why not?’”

The principal also laid some strict ground rules: Students can’t use real money, an adult sponsor must be present, and the game’s educational purpose must be clear. Several times during each weekly meeting, one of the student co-founders quizzes members on the probability and statistics of the game, says Byrd.

The idea of playing poker in high school may be controversial, but, according to the Post, universities have offered poker classes for years as a way to teach reasoning and strategic thinking. Chapters of the Global Poker Strategic Thinking Society, formed at Harvard University in 2007, have opened at several prestigious universities.

Even so, gambling-awareness groups have raised concerns about the use of poker as a tool to teach teenagers, warning that it may lead to abuse and addiction. Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, says that he isnt categorically opposed to using poker to teach math concepts but wants to ensure that schools are well-educated about the risks.

A version of this article appeared in the April 04, 2011 edition of Teacher PD Sourcebook

Events

Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
Challenging the Stigma: Emotions and STEM
STEM isn't just equations and logic. Join this webinar and discover how emotions fuel innovation, creativity, & problem-solving in STEM!
Content provided by Project Lead The Way
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Professional Development Webinar
Leveraging Student Voice for Teacher Retention & Development
Join our webinar on using student feedback to improve teacher performance, retention & student achievement.
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Mathematics Spotlight Spotlight on New Insights in Math Learning
This Spotlight will help you investigate high-quality math curricula, identify strategies to improve student math outcomes, and more.
Mathematics Schools Prioritize Reading Intervention. But What About Math?
Early intervention can have large positive effects for students down the line, researchers say.
7 min read
 Conceptual photo of of a young boy studying mathematics using fingers in primary school.
Kilukilu/iStock/Getty
Mathematics Math Tracking Starts as Early as Elementary School, a New Study Finds
Most principals also report that not all students have the opportunity to take Algebra I, new data show.
6 min read
Tight crop of junior-high students' desks during a math class at school with paperwork showing math problems.
E+