MILWAUKEE — When the Milwaukee Bucks play, the goal is to put the best players on the floor and run plays to get the best shot possible, which hopefully leads to scoring and ultimately winning the game. The same can be said for another game, but with this one, players got an added bonus.
Eighty students from fourth through eighth grade came to the practice facility for the Milwaukee Bucks to take part in the statewide tournament for NBA Math Hoops.
“We’ve found a way to keep kids excited about math by using NBA and WNBA players,” said Sivert.
Meeting a real NBA player, center Brook Lopez, added to the excitement.
Here’s how the game works:
“So they roll the dice. They get two numbers. They will add, subtract, multiply and divide those numbers all within a 24-second shot clock, and then they will flick their spinner on their player card and hopefully they make the shot,” said Sivert.
Just like in a real basketball game, they don’t make every shot, but the students get something with every attempt.
“Just seeing the enthusiasm of the kids, and at the end of the day, it’s math. They are doing math problems, and you see how exciting they get and you see them cheering and patting each other on the back. It’s because they are practicing multiplication and division,” said Rachel Nemcek, manager of business strategy and activation with the Milwaukee Bucks.
“It’s fantastic to really see these kids get into the game. It’s competitive. It moves fast. I really think they sneak in math learning. I don’t know if they realize how much they are learning,” said Kelly Skindzelewski, community relations leader with GE Healthcare.
GE Healthcare teamed up with the Bucks for the tournament, and officials were working to get the game into more schools around the state.
“It all just comes together beautifully to drive what is really critical, which is math skills. That really is our future economy. You use it from cooking, to artwork, to your checkbook, whatever it might be, so a program that really focuses math skills is really essential today,” said Skindzelewski.
“Math is changing all over the world, and for a student that doesn’t know their basic math facts, that’s a struggle and it would be hard to go on to the next level. So we are bridging that gap and helping students and they are having fun at the same time,” said Sivert.
The students agreed that it was both fun and beneficial.
“There were a lot of laughs, but also, most of the time it was very competitive,” said Adrian, eighth-grader.
“At first I wasn’t very good at math, but as time went on, I got better and better, so now this game is like, easier, and it’s a fun way to learn different things in math,” said Fayth, eighth-grader.
“This year, we had, across the board, over 50 school sites, over 2,000 participating students, and consistently they have shown more than a 30 percent increase in their math skills between the start of the program and the end of the program,” said Nemcek.
This year’s winner was a team from the Boys and Girls Club of Oshkosh.