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Family Math Night popular at Rossman

Tori (left) and Claire Tinjum play a math game during the final minutes of Family Math Night at Rossman Elementary in Detroit Lakes on Thursday. (Jason Adkins/DL Newspapers)

Rossman Elementary's cafeteria was packed with excited students working with their parents during the school's first Family Math Night on Thursday.

In reality, it was the second Family Math Night at the school, as the first one a few weeks ago was held for first and second graders. This time around, third, fourth, and fifth graders came out with their parents.

Cindy Swanson, a parent who helped organize the event, said Family Math Night was a big success.

"It gets families together and have an educational setting," she said. "Instead of just playing, they're learning.

The games were designed to work the brain a little, but have a goal in mind.

Children were working with their parents in trying to find solutions.

"It's a great way to learn and have fun," said Jessica Burhans, a parent of school-aged children at Rossman. "And spend time with the family and learn some basic math skills."

While learning math generally isn't considered fun in a classroom setting, this event tried to disprove that notion.

"It's playing and it's like a game," Swanson said. "A lot of these are structured so they are like a game or a puzzle where they have to try to figure it out."

Burhans, a banker by trade, said good math skills are important to know.

"There were a lot of fun activities tonight to help bring families out," she said. "Kids can learn as well."

She admitted her math skills were a little rusty, at least working out problems in her mind.

"As long as I have a calculator," Burhans said jokingly of her current math skills.

During the run-up to the event, Swanson said she went to each classroom to build interest.

"We played one of the games together so we could kind of get a feel of what it was about," she said.

The kids had a vested interest as well in coming.

"They got a little prize if they turned in their sheet," Swanson said. "Many of them were so excited to show their parents."

Swanson sees Family Math Night continuing.

"It's a fun thing and hopefully we can do more fun things like this," she said.