Chicago teacher designs math tool to help students while they learn from home

Chicago's Very Own

CHICAGO — It is a math tool designed by a teacher for teachers. But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, one teacher says her priority was to get students who lack access to e-learning the tools they need for at home learning.   

Last month during the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, second grade teacher Lindsay Barnett spent an afternoon handing out 100 math kits to families at Hope Community Church’s food pantry on Chicago’s West Side. 

“So what we have been doing is partnering with different food distribution sites, because we truly believe that every kid deserves to be fed and educated,” Barnett said.

“She told me about the math kits that she had and I thought it was a great opportunity to share because in these times creativity starts to come out and I just thought it was creative to teach children math skills at home,” the Rev. Steve Epting, pastor at Hope Community Church, said.

The kits are called Pup Quiz and are designed for kindergarten through fifth grade students. The colorful kit includes flashcards, games and dry erase boards while teaching student everything from addition and subtraction to story problems. 

Barnett says she initially created the kit as a tool to assist teachers and offset students screen time.  

The product was launched March 1 and just happened to coincide with the pandemic. She said it turned out to be an opportune time.

“We had our kits ready to go and we were going to schools and pitching them to principals to see if they wanted to buy them for their teachers but it turns out right now it is more important to get them to kids who didn’t have access to technology,” she said.

Partnering with various organizations, Barnett said she has been able to distribute or donate more than 600 Pup Quiz kits nationwide.  

“There are millions of kids across the country that don’t have access to any e learning technology you know they don’t have computers they don’t have wi-fi in our own city of Chicago there’s over 100,000 kids that don’t have any access,” she said.

In addition to her donations to children around Chicago, she says anyone can purchase a kit and donate it directly to a family of their choice.   

The Pup Quiz kits are more than a math tool, it also brings the social emotional aspect back to learning — something that is often absent in e-learning.

“Being able to play a card game or sit and do an activity with your brothers and sisters is such a huge part of learning that you can do at home,” Barnett said.

It’s also been lifesaver for parents who have been thrusted into the teaching role. Steve Bechtold says the tactile approach has kept he and his 8-year-old daughter interested.       

“So there’s all these different games and it’s a way for us to spend time together and be really interactive and at the same time she’s learning,” he said.

Barnett says teaching is her number one priority and she is grateful that she is able to help students everywhere continue to learn during these unprecedented times.

If you’d like learn more about Pup Quiz donations you can visit pupquiz.org.

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