Dressed as a jockey complete with a blowup horse, Mary Kay Zimmanck recently taught principles of probability to her math students at South Middle School in Arlington Heights Elementary District 25.
Of course, the village's quasquicentennial year is an ideal time to bring in information about the history of the village and of Arlington Park, an icon in the community.
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"They love it when I dress in costume," said Zimmanck. "It catches the students' attention, then they find probability problems at different stations. They are so entranced they don't pay any attention to anybody. We had five guests in the room, and they hardly noticed."
The students study probability by rolling dice, and learning there's more chance of the number six coming up because so many combinations are available to make that number.
The lesson includes learning the terms 'theoretical' and 'experimental probability.'
"It's not easy to win a race. Each of the horses are different," said the teacher.
About once a month, Zimmanck arrives at the classroom in a costume, pretending to be a substitute teacher the students have dubbed "Kazimmy."
"I weave in social studies, science, math and music on the once-a-month Kazimmy days," Zimmanck said. "I want them to learn to love math by doing something and relating it to everyday life."