Alyssa Greenberg

Olynyk, HMH Host Go Math! Academy Event

MILTON, Mass. ­– Tuesday afternoon, Collicot Elementary School principal Holly Concannon made an announcement over the public address system: “Students, we invite you all to wear green tomorrow. Let’s have a lucky day!”

While the Milton-based youth thought it was just a spring-time perk, it turned out something greater was in store for the following afternoon.

Back in May, Boston-based educational leader Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) paired with the Boston Celtics to launch SCORE with Go Math! Academy. The online math curriculum uses basketball-themed content to illustrate fundamental math concepts through a series of instructional videos.

Students from across New England were able to utilize the online learning resource, featuring Celtics center Tyler Zeller and mascot Lucky, to sharpen their math skills and earn a chance to win a surprise visit from a Celtics player.

In a true team effort, members of the math club at Collicot Elementary School worked diligently to complete the curriculum, and were rewarded Wednesday afternoon for their hard work. Celtics forward Kelly Olynyk joined HMH Math Studio learning architect Tom Hamilton and Lucky to surprise the school community.

The visit began in the library, where Olynyk, Hamilton and Lucky assisted the math club participants with a few Go Math! strategies, in an effort to solve problems ranging from conversions to degrees and angles.

“Each day we encounter math,” reflected Olynyk. “To fully understand the methods behind math is such a powerful tool. Keep working hard to tackle these skills and you will be able to apply them in your daily lives.” ­

Once the exclusive visit was over, the math club students led Olynyk into the gym where he was met by whooping cheers from the entire school. Feeling the enthusiasm, Lucky took off down the center of the gym for a few high-flying dunks, sparking the pep rally to an energetic start.

Olynyk then addressed the youth to explain the importance of math and how it applies not only to academics, but to everyone’s day-to-day activities.

“Even as a professional basketball player I need to utilize math skills to excel at my job,” said Olynyk. “Math is applied to the way I play defense to how I understand passing angles to avoid getting the ball stolen.”

To illustrate the message he was trying to get across, Olynyk shot five free throws and had the students calculate his shooting percentage. The 7-foot forward went 3-for-5 from the line, and in an instant, the children were able to agree upon 60 percent as their final answer.

Hamilton said that the basketball-themed curriculum is a “fun and exciting way to learn new things. What a great way to keep your brain sharp during the summer!"

To finish off the assembly HMH had one last surprise: Hamilton announced a $10,000 donation in math manipulatives, providing Collicot students with the tools to continue to learn math concepts in a hands-on and engaging way.

As evidenced by the roaring of cheers and ear-to-ear smiles on the students’ faces, Collicot Elementary School sure did have a lucky day.


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