Elementary school uses college sports to teach math

Fifth grade math students at suburban Atlanta’s Woodward Elementary are keeping track of college football scores and records. They’re converting raw data into fractions and percentages.

Although their teacher Scarlett Childers could have used a variety of real world examples to teach math, it’s no coincidence she focuses on college sports.

At a school where 98 percent of students qualify for subsidized lunch programs and 95 percent come from homes where English is not the first language, college may not be on the minds of many families. But Childers sees higher education as a key to unlock her students’ potential.

“I want them all to graduate from high school and do some kind of continuing education, whether it’s college or a technical school, some kind of education so that they can have a good job and a great life,” Childers said.

Childers recently took her students on a field trip to the University of Georgia, where they toured the campus, ran across the football field at Sanford Stadium and met a Bulldogs football player. They also spoke with college admissions officials. All underscored the idea that college is attainable for these students if they continue to work hard in school and set high goals for themselves.

“That’s probably the most important thing when you’re dealing with underrepresented or underserved populations,” said Jonathan Brunson, UGA’s assistant director of admissions for outreach. “You do have to create a college-going culture among them.”