News Release

Education Week 2019 – Math Surgery Clinic

Apr 29, 2019

Education Week 2019 – Math Surgery Clinic

Meet Grapeview Public School's Grade 6 surgical interns Lucas and Rachel. Their #DSBNEducationStory starts with a medical emergency that requires math surgery!

Their teacher Ms. McLaughlin, planned a day filled with math revolving around an emergency surgery room atmosphere.

Ms. McLaughlin’s philosophy to teaching is giving her students memorable skills they can use beyond the classroom. She uses creative techniques that allow her students to learn in a fun and interactive way.

“When I’m having a fun time doing math, it helps me remember and use it in different ways,” said Lucas Copper. “I like that it’s not the standard question and answer type of math.”

This interactive way of learning came from an idea Ms. McLaughlin found from a Grade 3 teacher in the United States. She loved the concept and decided she would revamp it to accommodate her Grade 6 students and what they were learning.

The program incorporated hands-on opportunities that allowed every student at every learning level to be engaged and involved in the unique way of educating.

The math surgery clinic included six surgery bay rooms where students had to solve math problems in each bay in order to save their patients and move on to the next task.

“When you do regular math on paper it’s not really any fun, you just write down answers,” said Rachel Vallier. “This way you have to work in a group and actually visualize and understand what you’re doing”.

Having students work collaboratively as a team was McLaughlin’s focus. Students could not move ahead until the whole team understood the problem. Many times, the students were teaching and learning from one another.

“It makes it stick, you are able to apply what you’re learning in a fun way,” said McLaughlin. “It’s also very supportive. If you’re not sure what your doing, you have a team of people there that have your back”.

The students loved exploring and figuring out how to save their patients’ lives. Some of the surgery bay rooms included craniotomies, heart transplants, bone replacements, skin biopsies and blood transfusions. To save the patient’s life the team had to solve a math problem revolving around ratios, decimals, percentages, fractions and/or converting.

McLaughlin believes teaching and learning creatively takes away some of the anxiety that some students feel surrounding math and allows them to become much more engaged.

“I’m a firm believer that a pen on paper doesn’t teach the math,” declared McLaughlin. “When we do things that are hands-on the students can remember it, they can look back and think, ‘I know how do this’”

McLaughlin was able to get medical apparel donated from Niagara Health for students to wear during the Math Surgery Clinic. This allowed the students to really get involved with what they were doing and have fun doing it.

To give back to Niagara Health, McLaughlin and her class have been making “pay it forward” gift bags with a pair of socks, to donate to the dialysis patients in the hospital.

What an amazing #DSBNEducationStory! It is teachers and programs like Ms. McLaughlin and the Math Surgery Clinic that show just how great it is to learn at the DSBN!