'Dancing With The Stars' helps students learn math

Greece Athena High School teacher, Courtney Larkin, uses Dancing with the Stars to teach her special education students math concepts. (WHAM photo)

(WHAM) - Dancing and digits. For one Greece High School math class, it is a lesson outside of the textbook.

Ms. Larkin's 11th and 12th grade special education students are learning tough math concepts through the hit ABC show, Dancing with the Stars.

Larkin said she was born to teach.

"It's a passion and I knew from the time I was little I wanted to be a teacher," Courtney Larkin told 13WHAM News.

She uses the show as a platform to teach lessons in multiplication, division, decimals, percentages and predictions, based on the contestants' scores and averages throughout the season.

Her students are NYSAA (New York State Alternative Assessment). These students have low IQs and cannot meet Common Core Standards. Larkin said they are the hardest working students a teacher will see.

"I am a big fan of the show and grew up dancing," Larkin said. "Rank who is the highest and who is lowest. Who will stay and maybe win the mirror ball and who is voted off. It's amazing. The students relate to it very well. I've been blessed with these students. They're engaged and having fun - which is the best thing for a teacher ever!"

"She's just my favorite teacher," 12th grade student Jayda Wilkinson said. "She explains it in a certain way to make it understandable."

"She's my favorite!" Alex Lachimia said. "I love being here.

To top off class, a surprise video message from a star on the show, Derek Hough. He told the class about how he uses math for choreography and to help with counting during his routines.

Hough also told the students to work hard and be good for Ms. Larkin.

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