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A conversation with Kirby Schoepoerster—Program Manager

So tell us, what’s new?
The start of 2023 has brought with it observable, positive change – a change from sedentary to active mindsets, a change from disengaging curricula to evidence-based, practical lessons. Parents and educators across America have spoken up about how the way we teach math is no longer effective or practical. Many school leaders, as a result, are taking the initiative to make their classrooms more inclusive and are seeking new, innovative opportunities to support their students’ math achievement through avenues of health and wellness, both physically and mentally. Not only do we have a better understanding of where our students are at in their comprehension of – and self-efficacy towards – mathematics, but we have also seen incredible outcomes across the country from our three major movement-focused projects! We continue to see movement-focused intervention programs making a positive impact on both student attitudes toward math as well as their math test scores. The feedback we have received from our partnering educators has been both informative and inspirational. Most importantly, we are now more optimistic than ever about the direction we are taking to minimize math anxiety and getting kids up out of their seats and moving as they learn key skills.

What’s the impact this has had/or you hope it will have on moving financial literacy forward?

It’s important now more than ever that we as educators and role models empower young people to build and trust in their financial literacy skills. Coming out of a global pandemic, many of us have felt the brunt of its impact on the economy and on our own personal finances. We need to treat this shared experience as a learning opportunity moving forward, especially for our youth. The principles of finance are grounded in a solid understanding of mathematics. Like mathematics, the path to financial literacy and success isn’t so much a lengthy one as it is a cumulative one. Every step of the journey from money management to paying taxes to trading stocks builds on previous financial fundamentals; in order to effectively manage money, students need to understand money’s worth, and in order to understand money’s worth, students need to understand basic mathematics, which includes multiplication.

Our solution to the problem of low math scores and self-efficacy is a nationwide math program – The Mighty Multiplication Project – that focuses on getting students to grade level in their multiplication skills using tools and teaching strategies that are more inclusive to the diversity of our student populations – tools that embrace children’s natural inclination to move and be physically active! Our most recent cohort of participating teachers totaled 24, with more than 600 3rd-5th grade students from across the country receiving resources from Math & Movement to enrich their experience learning multiplication. The outcomes of our pilot yielded significant results supporting the positive academic and self-efficacy outcomes of a movement-based math intervention. Based on the results of our pilot, as well as recent research on the connection between movement and learning, we expect to continue to see movement-based learning programs increase student achievement, assessment scores, and students’ self-confidence with multiplication and division on a broad scale. Because the program requires students to move their bodies as they practice their multiplication skills, students also engage regularly in physical activity, which, in turn, supports their mental and emotional health.

How do we learn more?
If you are interested in learning more about the project, or would like to participate, you can check out our website and complete our interest form! The project functions as a supplementary enrichment program to the multiplication unit that school’s already have in place, and participants will receive 2 hours of professional development training prior to the start of the program.

What else are you working on?
The National Math Foundation is also partnering with school districts and educational organizations that are interested in bringing movement-focused math and literacy programs into their classrooms through our Moving & Learning Classrooms and Moving & Learning Families projects. Through participation in these programs, educators and school communities will receive comprehensive training in multi-sensory teaching practices and a number of incredible resources to enrich your math and reading classrooms. We are always interested in partnering with districts that value the importance of physical activity opportunities and trauma-informed education.

If you are an educator or administrator interested in partnering with us and collaborating to provide your students with inclusive learning materials and resources, please check out our website and reach out to us at

Additionally, we are actively seeking collaboration with researchers and educational professionals who want to contribute to the ongoing discourse on multi-sensory teaching practices.

If you are an educational researcher, university leader, student teacher, or simply passionate about education research and physical activity, please contact for more information about how you can help us expand our knowledge regarding the effectiveness of multi-sensory learning!

Tell us more about your organization

The National Math Foundation’s mission is twofold…

  1. To foster exercise, healthy eating, and learning through movement as a means to develop a community of math literate members.
  2. To provide monetary and professional development support and serve as a centralized training and research hub for movement-focused learning institutions.

We aim to support learning institutions in the expansion of their teaching resources to include programming that promotes non-traditional learning. We promote movement-based learning that addresses obesity, math and reading illiteracy, and the foundational importance of multiplication. Our vision is to empower communities to work towards the goal of ensuring that all Americans, regardless of age, race, socio-economic class, and gender are competent and confident in their math ability and have sufficient skill to be able to use math effectively in their job.

When students understand the fundamental concepts underlying mathematics and can automatically recall their multiples, their self-confidence soars and the potential for a “fixed” mindset towards financial literacy and math in general diminishes as they grow older and face higher level concepts! Math teachers are currently witnessing a deep lack of fundamental knowledge from their students, particularly those who are socially and culturally marginalized. If these students are to become financially literate, we need to first make sure that they are mathematically literate!

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