Teacher leaves math problems in student's driveways on her runs

Published: Apr. 13, 2020 at 10:35 AM EDT
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Teachers are stepping it up during the quarantine.

With in-person instruction halted for grades K-12 for the remainder of the school year in the state, Mid-Michigan teachers are starting to get creative in their lesson plans.

Like many teachers, 7th and 8th-grade teacher, Mrs. Mulanix, is using Google classrooms to keep in touch with her students during this time.

But when she wasn't seeing the participation she was hoping for, she took to the streets...literally.

"My kids and I go on runs almost every day, so we had some chalk in the stroller with us and I knew a couple of students' homes on our normal paths, so I left a problem for them to do in their driveway and it sort of just spiraled from there," said Carrie Mulanix.

The algebra problems in the driveway were a hit, especially for 8th grader Delaney Murphy.

"I was really excited," Murphy said. "I knew she was doing this for other kids, but I didn't know what the problems were like so when I saw them in the driveway I was really excited."

And this excitement for algebra problems is something Murphy would have never imagined she would feel.

"If this would have happened months ago, we would have been confused why it was happening and I don't think most people would have liked it, but now that we have been out of school it's nice to get back in the swing of things."

It's this appreciation that makes running to each student's house to leave a problem on their driveway...worth it.

"I think its fun," said Mulanix. "It gives me someplace to run on my runs and sometimes they will catch me and come out and say hi and get excited which is important right now."

Once a student answers a chalk problem, they must upload a picture of it to Google classrooms. If it is correct, then that student nominates another classmate to get a chalk problem in their driveway.

"The kids are getting into it a little bit with my mileage too," said Mulanix. "My first couple miles were just three or four and now they are pushing it with who they nominate. Yesterday's run put me at about 12 miles, so hopefully there are not ones much further than that."

Mrs Mulanix's chalk problems even got the attention of Governor Gretchen Whitmer who mentioned how creative it was in one of her latest COVID-19 update addresses.

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