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How A High School Geometry Teacher Is Preparing Students For The Real World

Elizabeth Masslich
Project materials lay out ready for students to piece together.

A lot of us probably think back on our days in high school math classes and puzzle over how we're using our algebra, or geometry, or calculus lessons in our lives today. The chances are good, though, that the students of at least one teacher at Cedarburg High School should be able to do the math ten or fifteen years from now.

Wednesday in New York, geometry teacher Elizabeth Masslich will receive the 2018 Rosenthal Prize for Innovation and Inspiration in Math Teaching at the National Museum of Mathematics. The prize, which comes with a 25-thousand dollar award, honors a geometry lesson she developed, called DARTBOARD. And while math is at the heart of the lesson, Masslich says the skills her students are learning extend well beyond those they'll need to pass their finals.

"I tell them [her students] at the beginning of the year, 'You are going to learn better skills for the workplace. You're going to learn about emotional intelligence. You're going to learn how to struggle productively. And you will struggle, and enjoy that struggle because you will eventually learn what I want you to learn'," Masslich says.