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Dance Program Helps Young Women Boost Math Scores

Mathematics can be hard for every student, but one young woman, Kirin Sinha, found a way to help girls boost their math skills: dance.

"In middle school, I was in a calculus class where I was one of the only girls," said Sinha in an article on "Even at MIT where everyone on some level is involved in STEM, I found I was the only girl in a lot of my math classes. That's something that always bothered me."

"When I was tutoring girls and guys, the big difference I would see is boys would say, 'I don't understand geometry, I don't understand fractions,' and girls would say 'I can't understand this,'" she said. "A lot of times in math classrooms you don't want to be the girl who stands out. [But] what I had gotten from dance was the exact opposite mentality. You WANT to be the girl in the spotlight, you want to work as hard as you can and practice as much as you can so you are noticed."

Sinha found that "not only did dance boost confidence, but that movement in general had been integral to her ability to learn" SHINE, the program, looked at the "concept of 'Kinesthetic learning," which essentially means moving your body in order to better retain information."

"Interested middle school girls come to the program after school, and work with mentors on activities that put math concepts into action," the article said. "They might, for example, hold hands to create a shape on a grid, then move to reflect the shape across an axis drawn on the floor. Playing games using corners and instructions helps show how probability works, and choreographed dance moves illustrate the principles behind trigonometry."

Sinha, the article said, said "the results speak for themselves."

"We saw an almost 300% improvement in their math scores, we saw over 100% improvement in confidence," she said.

The article said the program is so successful "it's expanded beyond the Boston area to DC, with plans for branches in Florida and other major cities."

Read the full story. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, EducationWorld Contributor

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