Robert MacCarthy, also known as ‘Mr Mac’, might just be the coolest teacher ever…
Math can be difficult to engage with at the best of times, but not for the lucky sixth-grade students in Mr Mac’s class at Willard Middle School in Berkeley, California. Mr Mac breaks the conventional mould of your everyday, textbook-bearing math teacher, focusing instead on math in everyday life.
“When people think of Mathematics, they usually think that Math is only in a Math textbook,” Mr Mac notes in a feature for SoulPancake. “That’s the biggest lie we’re telling our students. Math is in everything you do, from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed.”
Most people believe there’s a distinct divide between the logical side of the brain (the left side) and the more creative side of the brain (the right side). This often means that subjects like Science and Math are delivered in ways that can seem rigid and unengaging for the young developing mind.
Mr Mac’s ‘hardcore’ Math class. Via SoulPancake.
But Mac’s innovative classes prove that is doesn’t have to be this way, allowing children to engage both sides of the brain in fresh and creative ways – even in the more difficult subjects.
“I’ve tried to listen to my students and see what they were into, and assimilate to their culture,” said Mac.
“What is middle school culture? It is superheroes, it’s music, art – it is showing who you are through everything you do. So bringing in all these pieces of stuff that they have held onto, and they can show themselves through -it works every time.”
‘Play Pi’ in Mr Mac’s Math class. Via SoulPancake.
In order to get his young class to understand complex subjects such as algebra, and get them to interact with other members of the class, the teacher invited them to go off in small groups and write their own math-based raps that would later feature in a class music video.
“They like the game called education when you can put some fun into it and put your heart behind your lessons,” said Mr Mac.
And the kids really can’t get enough, claiming Mr Mac approaches their education like no other teacher they’ve known.
The girls break it down in Mr Mac’s Math Rap class. Via SoulPancake.
“He makes everything fun, like a game,” said one student. “That really helps us understand how everything works.”
“He’s indescribable,” noted another. “He’s really great.”
– Well, we think teachers everywhere should learn something from Mr Mac. Math really can be fun!
Image via SoulPancake.