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What Is A Math-A-Thon?

What Is A Mathathon? (Unsplash / Joanna Kosinska)

A Math-A-Thon is a fun and educational fundraiser where participants solve as many math problems as they can in over a couple of weeks and ask friends and family to support them by making a donation to their school or organization. Donors can often choose to sponsor participants per problem solved or for a fixed amount.

School Math-A-Thon Fundraiser

New to Math-A-Thons? Check out our
Complete Guide To Math-A-Thon Fundraising

Math-A-Thons are our top-rated school fundraiser because they are easy to organize, educational, well-liked by participants, and they help bring in money from outside of the school community. Math-A-Thons are similar to Read-A-Thons, another highly rated school fundraiser, because they both involve performing an educational activity and soliciting sponsors to support the participants’ goals. However, unlike reading, solving math problems is objective and verifiable, making Math-A-Thons easier to manage. Math problems can also be customized to fit the participants’ grade level and ability, so all participants can feel included and challenged.

We love Math-A-Thons and encourage all schools to consider hosting them. Math can be a tricky subject for many students, and there are few places outside of the classroom where students practice the math they’ve learned without the stress associated with homework and exams. Math-A-Thons provide a consequence-free environment to practice math, which can both improve participants’ math abilities and their confidence. They can also have fun competing with their classmates and friends to see who can solve the most problems. Donors are happy to support them in their academic endeavors and help them develop a love of math.

There are a few online platforms that can help schools and organizations set up and manage their fundraiser. ForOurSchool.org is one of the only platforms that specializes in Math-A-Thons and the only platform that offers online and offline options for participants. School can set up Math-A-thons with ForOurSchool.org for free and participants can either print math worksheets or play math games online. Both the worksheets and the online math games follow the math curriculum taught in most schools. As participants solve problems, they can see their progress and ranking instantly. ForOurSchool.org offers over 200 types of math problems, ranging from telling time and counting coins to fractions and word problems, as well as a free math practice area where students can review each type of problem. The platform also helps schools and organizations collect donations through personalized, online donation pages.

Another platform that specializes in Math-A-Thons is St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital (yes, that one!). St Jude’s only offers worksheets for offline participation, which include puzzles, games, comics, and emotional stories from children that have benefitted from the services that St. Jude’s provides. Unlike other platform, all donations go to St. Jude’s, so it may not be a good fit for schools and organizations looking for funds for their own programs and services. For more information on their Math-A-Thon platform, see our comprehensive comparison of ForOurSchool.org’s and St. Jude’s Math-A-Thon platforms.

Other platforms that offer Math-A-thons are 99Pledges and Get Movin’; however, these platforms only offer “activity tracking” and schools and organizations need to provide their own math problems and grading systems.

Whether you use ForOurSchool.org, St. Jude’s, or another platform, Math-A-Thons are a great way to raise money and have fun with math. Schools and organizations can start their Math-A-Thon anytime of the year and choose how long it lasts. Some schools even choose to run their Math-A-Thons over their summer break to mitigate the dreaded summer slide. A review of 39 studies published in 1996 found that students lost an average of one month of classroom learning during summer break. The summer loss was more acute for math than for reading, so an event like a Math-A-Thon can not only stem this loss, but also provide funding for schools when they otherwise wouldn’t be expecting any.

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