Program helps students learn math with dancing

Students act out math problems using games and dance moves

(CNN) – If you’re having trouble with math, try dancing. That’s the strategy one afterschool program is trying out, with surprising results.

It may look like they’re playing games, but these girls are doing geometry. The combination is the brainchild of dancer, and MIT graduate, Kirin Sinha, who based her afterschool program ‘Shine’ on the theory of ‘kinesthetic learning’.

“This concept, that by moving your body and using your brain simultaneously, you’re able to better retain information. I couldn’t recite the periodic table, but I could still play piano pieces or do dances to moves that I learned years and years ago.”

The girls act out math problems using games and dance moves. Sinha says the results speak for themselves.

“We saw an almost 300% improvement in their math scores, we saw over 100% improvement in confidence. So much of what this program is about is not just getting girls’ competency up, but a lot of it is about attitude; how they view themselves, how they view the field.”

“Before we had this, it was more like ‘only the nerds do math’, but now it’s like even if you are a nerd you can still have fun doing the dance and then you’re less in that stereotype.”

It’s that change in attitude that ‘Shine’ believes may be key to inspiring girls everywhere to stick with stem.

“I do think this is the kind of programming that could help girls all over the country, regardless of where they are. It’s a really exciting time of growth, and it’s a real chance for us to change an entire generation.”

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