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What Is A Math-A-Thon?

Math equations on a chalk board (Unsplash/ Artturi Jalli)

A Math-A-Thon is a fun and educational way to raise money for schools and organizations. Participants ask friends and family to sponsor them for solving math problems. Donors can often choose to sponsor participants per problem solved or for a fixed amount. Then, participants solve as many math problems as they can in a given time frame.

Math-A-Thons are great for schools and organizations because they are easy to organize and measure. Unlike other fundraisers that involve reading or running, Math-A-Thons involve solving math problems which is objective and verifiable. The math problems can also be customized to fit the participants’ grade level and ability.

Math-A-Thons are beneficial for both the participants and the donors. By solving math problems, participants can improve their math abilities and confidence. They can also have fun competing with their classmates and friends to see who can solve the most problems. Donors are happy to support them in their academic endeavors and help them develop a love of math.

There are some online platforms that can help schools and organizations set up and manage their fundraiser. One of them is 99Pledges, which provides activity tracking and online donation collection. With 99Pledges, schools and organizations provide participants with math worksheets that they work on at home or in school. Participants then record the number of problems they solved correctly on the website. 99Pledges does not charge any fees for using their platform, but they do ask donors for optional “tips” to support their service.

Another platform that specializes in Math-A-Thons is ForOurSchool.org. This platform generates math problems based on the participants’ grade level and the New York State math standards. Participants solve problems online and see their progress and ranking instantly. The platform also helps schools and organizations collect donations without asking for any “tips” from the donors. ForOurSchool.org offers over 200 types of math problems, ranging from telling time and counting coins to fractions and word problems, as well as a practice area where students can review each type of problem.

Whether you use 99Pledges, ForOurSchool.org, or another platform, Math-A-Thons are a great way to raise money and have fun with math. Schools and organizations can start their Math-A-Thon anytime of the year and choose how long it lasts. Some schools even choose to run their Math-A-Thons over their summer break to mitigate the dreaded summer slide. A review of 39 studies published in 1996 found that students lost an average of one month of classroom learning during summer break. The summer loss was more acute for math than for reading, so an event like a Math-A-Thon can not only stem this loss, but also provide funding for schools when they otherwise wouldn’t be expecting any.

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