Philadelphia, PA — Middle school students everywhere will think math is out of this world when they visit myMathUniverse, a new, free site featuring math expert and actress Danica McKellar debuting today at the 2012 National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Conference here. Best known for her roles as Winnie Cooper on The Wonder Years and Elsie Snuffin on The West Wing, McKellar, also the author of bestselling books that offer kids a guide to surviving middle school math, is now the host of the site’s “Math Doesn’t Suck” channel.
An internationally recognized mathematician and advocate for math education, McKellar graduated summa cum laude from UCLA with a degree in mathematics. She has been honored in Britain’s esteemed Journal of Physics and The New York Times for her work in mathematics, most notably for her role as co-author of a ground-breaking mathematical physics theorem which bears her name (The Chayes-McKellar-Winn Theorem). Author of three New York Times bestselling books, Math Doesn’t Suck, Kiss My Math and Hot X: Algebra Exposed, McKellar’s newest book, due out in August 2012, is Girls Get Curves: Geometry Takes Shape.
McKellar says, “Believe it or not, I used to hate math – I was terrified of it. But I overcame my fears and later discovered how to make math not such a big deal for students, and actually, how to make it really fun and accessible! I want kids to know that being good at math isn’t something we are either born with or not; the more math you do, the stronger your brain gets. It is like going to the gym for your brain.”
Named for her first book, McKellar’s Math Doesn’t Suck channel on myMathUniverse features videos to help students with homework and confidence building and brain-strengthening math problems that can be downloaded — and in some cases, submitted to their teachers for extra credit.
Explaining her involvement with the new site, she said, “One of the best things about math is that doing it makes you smarter and gives you the confidence that comes from feeling strong and capable – and that makes all of life better. My Math Doesn’t Suck channel on myMathUniverse is going to help students kick some serious butt in math class and in life.”
Developed to support Pearson’s award-winning middle grades math program, digits, myMathUniverse is free to students everywhere — whether or not they are learning with the program. digits is the first middle school mathematics core curriculum that leverages technology to personalize student learning and optimize class instructional time.
“Danica tells it like it is when explaining the importance of learning math to students: you cannot succeed in business or in life without it. And she walks them through concepts in language that they connect with,” said Mike Evans, Pearson’s senior vice president for math. “Her approach supports the vision behind digits: to meet middle school students in the world they live in, making Danica the perfect host of this featured channel on myMathUniverse. She speaks kids’ language and tells them how they can learn math — in her words — without breaking a nail.”
Written entirely to the Common Core State Standards, digits integrates lesson planning, homework management, intervention and assessment, all within a user-friendly design that encourages class collaboration via interactive whiteboards. digits combines a comprehensive math curriculum, powerful best practices in teaching and easy-to-use technology so teachers can deliver personalized instruction effectively and save valuable time. digits streamlines instruction through point-of-need resources that are intuitive for teachers, and allows them to address the individual needs of every student – in and out of class.
Other myMathUniverse channels include:
- The Rappin’ Mathematician: Outrageously fun videos created by 2009 California Teacher of the Year Alex Kajitan with hip, cool rap songs about core math concepts.
- Alley Oop: Cool online activities for learning math concepts and free tutoring from math experts.
- Manga High: A collection of casual online math games developed using the Japanese manga style of animation that is popular with today’s kids.
- digits Stuff: Fun videos and other cool stuff from the middle grades math program.
- Virtual Nerd: Students can chose their own path through math content with step-by-step tutorials and a dynamic whiteboard on this channel built just for them.
Pearson, http://www.pearsoned.com, has as its mission to work side by side with states, districts, teachers, students and parents to ensure that every child is prepared for college and career (NYSE: PSO).