Can students help others by solving math problems, all while having a great time? Yes! The St. Jude Math-A-Thon is a program that teaches K–8 students they can make a difference while learning math at their grade level.
Math-A-Thon is the ideal project for teachers who want to introduce service learning in their classrooms but would like to tie it to their curriculum. In fact, so many teachers have found the St. Jude Math-A-Thon a rewarding way to integrate helping others with learning that it is the largest education-based fundraising program in the United States.
And unlike seasonal programs, Math-A-Thon can be implemented by teachers at any time of the school year! Here’s how to get started.
1. Learn about how Math-A-Thons helps kids fighting childhood cancer.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way in helping treat and defeat childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Families with a child being treated by St. Jude never receive a bill for treatment, travel, housing, or food. The hospital and research facilities also freely share discoveries, so doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to help even more children. Math-A-Thon provides an accessible way for students to fundraise for St. Jude and help kids just like them.
2. Register your school online.
Visit the St. Jude Math-A-Thon site to register your classroom—but don’t stop there! You can get your grade-level team, your entire school, or even multiple schools involved. Poplar Bluff School District in Missouri has several schools that participate and compete with each other in a healthy way to see which school can raise the most funds. This district has been involved with Math-A-Thon for over 30 years, raising more than $1,000,000 for the hospital! Share your Math-A-Thon idea with your fellow teachers and leadership for as much participation as possible.
3. Check out your Math-A-Thon coordinator kit.
After you register, St. Jude helpfully provides you with a coordinator kit that includes all the resources you’ll need to make your Math-A-Thon a success. You can also access all the coordinator resources online. There’s a coordinator guide, editable letters for parents, a fundraising kit, event posters, and donation forms. There are also videos about how Math-A-Thon helps the children of St. Jude that are specifically designed for classrooms.
4. Request your students’ Math-A-Thon Funbooks.
During each day of your Math-A-Thon Challenge Week, your students will complete one page of math problems that are aligned with their grade level. These math problems are located in the free Math-A-Thon Funbooks. You can request preprinted hard-copy Funbooks for your grade level or free online access for your students for their classroom devices. Check out a sample Funbook.
5. Spread the word.
About four weeks before you plan to host your Math-A-Thon, you will use the resources in your coordinator kit to inform your students’ families and your school community. The resources make it easy to promote your event via printable letters you can customize and email templates. Put up posters around the classroom and school to build excitement.
6. Have a Math-A-Thon kickoff with your students.
Hype your upcoming Challenge Week! About three weeks before your Math-A-Thon, plan an assembly or set aside class time to get your students excited about the great work they will be doing to help other kids. Show them the videos included in your resource kit or share images from the online fundraising kit.
7. Do the math.
During Challenge Week, you will give a Funbook (or online access) to each student, and your class will solve one page of math problems each day. To tie their math work to the service work, share with them inspiring videos and stories of St. Jude patients throughout the week. At the end of the week, distribute student-participation certificates from your coordinator kit to commemorate their important work.
8. Celebrate a job well done!
After Challenge Week, the coordinator completes the donation submission form and returns it to St. Jude. Your students will feel great about the Math-A-Thon experience, knowing they helped kids just like them.
What are you waiting for? Sign up to learn more about hosting a Math-A-Thon today!