Young girls improve math scores with the help of dance

For some students, math can be a tough subject. But now, some schools are offering math lessons in the form of dance, and the concept is taking off.

The combination is the brainchild of dancer and MIT graduate Kirin Sinha, who based her after-school program SHINE on the theory of "kinesthetic learning." SHINE is an eight-week program designed to help improve female middle school students' math scores through dance.

"This concept that by moving your body and using your brain simultaneously you're able to better retain information. I couldn't recite the periodic table, but I can still play piano pieces or do dances to moves that I learned years and years ago," Sinha said.

The young girls act out math problems using games and dance moves, and Sinha said the results speak for themselves.

"We saw almost a 300 percent improvement in their math scores. We saw over 100 percent improvement in confidence," said Sinha. "So much of what this program is about is not only getting girls' competency up, but a lot of it is about attitude, how they view themselves, how they view the field."

It's that change in attitude that SHINE believes may be the key to inspiring girls everywhere to go toward professions in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

One student, Molly Calkins, said because of the fun dances she no longer views math as a subject that is only for "nerds."

"Before we had this [class] it was more like 'oh, the nerds do math,' but you can still have fun doing the dance and then you're less in that stereotype," she said.

Sinha said this new learning technique can help girls around the world.

"It's a really exciting time of growth and it's a real chance for us to change an entire generation," she said.


Copyright © 2019 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.