The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

June 14, 2014

Local educator’s invention helps students with math

SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — A local educator and inventor is helping elementary school students have less difficulty with addition and subtraction. Former math teacher Nick Spano has been using his Add-A-Boy! * Add-A-Girl! math table ruler at Assumption School in Geneva with remarkable success. Now he is hoping to develop a computer app and get the handy tool out to even more students.

Former teacher Spano developed the learning tool while in his hometown of Warren four years ago. He now lives part of the time in Saybrook and devotes much of that to helping students with math learning problems at Assumption School in Geneva.

“I loved this area and moved to a condo in Saybrook for most of the time,” Spano said. “I knew Father Mel Rusnak at Assumption and Father Tobin before him, so I thought I would try my Add-A-Boy! * Add-A-Girl! tool there. So far the results have been great.”

Spano has copyrights on eight math-related games, and two more in the works. He also is the author of two math books, “Rainy Day Math; A Cloudburst of Ideas” and “Puddles of Fun Math Activities.” Spano said he believes even students with seemingly impossible math learning problems can become math whizzes if the process is fun.

The Add-A-Boy! * Add-A-Girl! tool is a two-piece ruler with numbers from one to eight on one section and numbers from one to 18 on the other.

“I always loved math, so it was no problem for me,” he said. “But I could see others were having difficulty. I learned that if the process was made fun, anyone could develop confidence and become successful at learning math.”

Spano brought the addition and subtraction ruler to Ms. Regina Petros’ 2nd grade class at Assumption School and she was impressed with the  improvements her class made in arithmetic.

“It’s a very useful tool for teachers and students alike,” Petros said. “He gave the students here one for their desks and one to take home. I had a large version of the ruler on the blackboard too. The kids always had fun using it and their math skills improved dramatically.”

Spano recently treated Petros’ students and families to a school year’s end appreciation dinner. The kids all worked with the ruler, and one student came up with 93 addition and subtraction facts in one minute.

“That’s solving one and a half facts per second,” Spano said. “Even I was impressed. It only goes to show what can happen when math becomes fun.”

Spano is currently selling his math rulers at Giant Eagle in Saybrook and hopes to get them to school supply stores some day. The rulers and Spano’s other learning inventions can be seen at spanoenterprises. com.

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