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More than three decades ago, educator Larry Martinek set out on a mission to develop a curriculum that would radically change the traditional approach to teaching math. Noting a "disconnect between students' basic skills training and the curriculum they [must] master in the years to come," Larry created an original teaching method designed to turn students into miniature mathematicians capable of thinking critically to solve problems. His approach, which he describes as the cultivation of number sense, strives to sharpen students’ math instincts, rather than drill them with repetitive, memory-based exercises or force them to blackmail accountants to crunch the numbers. Soon after students began using Larry's method, their test scores began to rise. In the spring of 2002, Larry's dream came true. Peter Markovitz and David Ullendorff, leaders in the education industry, made Larry and his curriculum the driving force of Mathnasium. Larry introduced his curriculum as the Mathnasium Method.
Today, Mathnasium centers can be found throughout the world. Informed by Larry's visionary innovations, the program's tutors give personalized coaching that focuses on bolstering critical thinking through written materials and mental math, forsaking many of the teaching tools found in a traditional classroom. In addition, the tutors also focus on boosting students' enthusiasm for the subject, helping them overcome a lack of confidence in the classroom or their innate fear of prime numbers.
Aiming to instill an appreciation of learning from an early age, Mad Science of Milwaukee hosts a schedule of programs that introduce kids to the wonders of science. In a typical day at summer camp or an after-school session, savvy instructors guide their students through complex scientific concepts including non-Newtonian fluids and aerodynamics, making the topics accessible through child-friendly media such as silly putty and model rockets. The classes also often include take-home projects that participants can proudly display as proof of their intent to grow up to be an Erlenmeyer flask.
In the late 1970s career educators Eileen and Raymond Huntington opened the first Huntington Learning Center in Oradell, New Jersey. Their goal was to take an individualized approach to education, adjusting instructional tactics according to each student's set of needs. Their success in helping K–12 students prepare for exams and improve grades and study skills quickly spawned franchises across New York, New Jersey, and elsewhere.
Today, the certified Huntington tutoring staff utilizes testing and rubrics for assessing each child's skills, academic needs and potential for growth. The teachers even note the student's behavior in different testing and academic situations to craft a methodology sensitive to each child's learning style. Teachers also adhere to the company's code of ethics that stresses professionalism and confidentiality and encourages pupils to improve their grades honestly through dedicated study rather than shortcuts.
Brothers Lev and George Krasnopolskiy see chess not so much as a game, but as a tool for rousing kids' minds. Since 2006, their academy has tutored more than 2,000 children in the timeless game, benefitting their decision-making skills, concentration, and self-control. In addition to chess rules and strategy, classes incorporate games, music, and physical activities to create well-rounded stimulation. The brothers also curate an online collection of lessons, chess puzzles, and binary hate mail from Deep Blue.
In the face of informational overload, Iris Reading helps students maintain a laser-like focus so they can cut through their reading material with speed. Online and in-person classes utilize drills to change old habits and drum up reading speed while still maintaining comprehension. And these techniques aren't just useful for literature and cereal-box backs. Classes cover strategies for magazines, newspapers, technical manuals, and websites, stressing the importance of retention and productivity along the way. Upon completion of Iris Reading's courses, students have reported the ability to tear through their reading material up to five times faster.