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Math + Oilers = Fun

by Derek Neumeier / Edmonton Oilers
Grade 9 students from F.R. Haythorne Junior High School get a math lesson in the Rexall Place lower bowl.
Who said that math can’t be cool?

That’s the attitude of faculty at F.R. Haythorne Junior High School, who treated their Grade 9 math students with special field trips to Rexall Place over the past two weeks.

Working for the second straight year in cooperation with the Edmonton Oilers Community Partnership team, the Oilers ICE School and staff at Rexall Place, over 250 students from the school were split into four different groups spread out over four days to learn all the different ways that math is utilized for Oilers games: everything from the Oilers Store and concessions, to finances and even the size, shape and temperature of the ice surface.

“We’re trying to show the kids that math is incorporated in a variety of situations, and it doesn’t always involve sitting down with a calculator, pencil and paper and crunching numbers,” said Haythorne Math Coordinator Sheryl Williams. “What they’ll learn the most is they’ll just be impressed with the opportunities that exist. When they see how math is used they understand it’s not always higher, complex math, but it’s actually used in a lot of situations. We are always looking for new ways to have kids develop that appreciation for how math is used.”

The kids were also treated to satisfy their Oilers sweet tooth, as they watched the Oilers practice from some of the best seats in the house: either from the lower bowl or during a tour of the catwalk.

“This is not only a great opportunity for the kids, but it’s also a great way for us to share some of the really interesting stuff that goes on behind the scenes at Rexall and build long-lasting relationships,” said Trevor Murphy, Oilers Manager of Community Partnerships.

Williams echoed Murphy’s sentiments about the bond between the two organizations.

“I have to say kudos to the Oilers,” she said. “They’ve really accommodated us and from last year to this year they’ve obviously put some effort in at refining what they’re delivering and we’ve put more thought into it too. Between the two groups I’d have to say that this year’s events were spectacular. It’s been great.”

I’ll remember the cool facts about the place: how thick the ice is, how cold they have to keep it, and how many people attend games on average they get, how they generate revenue. - Mark, 14
Both students and teachers agree that the lessons they learned from the experience won’t soon be forgotten.

“It’s been fun, definitely,” said 14 year-old student Mark. “Everything was really in-depth. I’ll remember the cool facts about the place: how thick the ice is, how cold they have to keep it, and how many people attend games on average they get, how they generate revenue, stuff like that.”

“When they go in and buy a jersey they now realize that it’s not just that purchase of the jersey,” echoed Haythorne Principal Terry Pysyk. “There’s royalties, there’s expenses that go on here, staffing, and so on. It’s a pretty big picture, and to see it all under one roof is pretty cool.”

Despite the success of the event, the two organizations have only scratched the surface on what could be a very fruitful partnership.

“There’s so much opportunity here to do more math,” said Williams. “Would we do this again? Absolutely.”
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