The Silver Lake Elementary School teacher recently received funding through Horace Mann and DonorsChoose.org to bring three classroom projects she created to help her students master math to life.


Using little cardboard pieces with toy trucks and cars on them, students in Cathy Guza’s second grade class practiced their math.

The Silver Lake Elementary School teacher recently received funding through Horace Mann and DonorsChoose.org to bring three classroom projects she created to help her students master math to life.

Students dispersed into groups Thursday, working with each other and Guza to play the math games.

“It’s helping us solve our math problems quicker,” said Zachary Shubbar, a second grader.

 Guza is one of 118 Delaware teachers who bought in donations totaling more than $91,000 through DonorosChoose.org in 2011.

Horace Mann works with teachers to get funding, said Dieter Hofmann, a representative of the company. They put the teachers’ ideas out on the web to solicit donations for them.

Guza has already bought in funding for three games.

“She’s really good at it,” Dieter said Thursday when he visited her classroom.

Shubbar worked together with his classmate, Colton Whorl, to solve the word problems for Guza’s game, “Solve It.”

“We’re doing fast math,” Whorl said counting out the tiny, square cardboard pieces with trucks on them.

The boys recorded their answers on a work sheet.

Across from them, another girl counted pieces of cardboard with cookies on them.

“I put the number together and they added up,” she said to Guza.

The games not only help students with their math, but it helps with their reading skills, Guza said.

“It extends their thinking beyond the facts,” she said.

Another part of her games is using key words in the word problems that relate to math, such as less than or greater than.

And as new concepts are introduced to her students, Guza introduces a new game.

Their next topic in math is place value, which students will learn by counting money.

The games also help with increasing students’ knowledge to reflect higher national standards.

“By the end of the second grade, students need to be fluent in addition and subtraction up to 20 and be able to work with numbers,” Guza said.

The donations come from anyone who wants to contribute.

“[The students] are very eager to learn and love math,” she said. “They love learning with their hands and playing games to broaden their math abilities.”