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Detroit Enterprise Brothers Slam Dunk NBA’s Math Hoops Tournament

Mathematics can quickly become a cause for anxiety in many students, which lends to the importance of supporting and cultivating a fun relationship with mathematics. At Detroit Enterprise Academy (DEA), math and sports join forces in an effort to support student learning and excitement.
DEA has had an NBA Math Hoops team for three years and two of the team members have participated the last two years. Not to mention, they happen to be brothers. Daniel, sixth-grade student, and Malik, eighth-grade student, Lawrence were selected as one of several teams to represent Michigan to play against teams from Ohio schools through a Zoom tournament. The Lawrence brothers experienced victory as they won the entire tournament. 

NBA Math Hoops is a national program through NBA Cares that focuses on students increasing math fact fluency and data analysis through a board game. The program has engaged over 350,000 students across the US through a comprehensive community program, digital and physical board game, mobile app, and curriculum.
“We harness the competitive fun of a game in order to develop students' proficiency in arithmetic, decision-making, pattern identification, in addition to building social emotional skills,” said NBA Math Hoops. “By providing this experience within the culturally relevant context of basketball and the NBA/WNBA, we help to build students’ appreciation for the real-world application of mathematics. With an appreciation and understanding of math, students will have a better chance of graduating from high school, attending college, and ultimately pursuing careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.”
Carmen Piggins, third-grade teacher and leader of the Math Hoops program at DEA, is most proud that the boys were recognized not only for their math skills, which have greatly improved, but also for being great sports throughout the tournament.
​“It is important for students to apply concepts and skills they are learning inside the classroom to the real world,” said Piggins. “This program has allowed students to use fact fluency, statistics, and graphing to play an engaging and competitive game. Students have been able to compete in tournaments, meet NBA players, and attend Detroit Pistons games and free field trips in the city.”
Since its founding, Learn Fresh and NBA Math Hoops has explicitly focused on achieving equitable representation across the STEM pipeline for girls, students of color, and those living in low-income communities. Students who complete their programs demonstrate an 18% increase in math scores and a 33% increase in math fluency. Additionally, 92% of educators report that their students now find math to be more accessible, relevant, and engaging.
Piggins shared that DEA is passionate about implementing opportunities for students to practice skills both in and out of the classroom because it allows them to practice and learn new skills. “I have had students in this program ask their teacher if they could practice a new skill in class to master it in the game,” she said. “It allows students to take ownership over their learning and have engaging practice opportunities. This year particularly, it allowed students a chance to play the game virtually and also socialize with their teammates.”
To prepare for the tournament, the Lawrence brothers had ​access to a virtual board game and practiced weekly as a group. They were also able to play any time while at home. But the tournament isn’t over! Daniel and Malik will be representing DEA again at the NHA Math Hoops Michigan Regional Tournament in May.