Multiplying kindness at Pound

Pound Middle School students got into the giving spirit early while strengthening their math skills. 

Seventh-grade math teacher Shawn Mousel encouraged his students to think of their community and causes larger than themselves through his Bigger Than U project. 

“It made sense for me to build a program like Bigger than U to help my students and the community to see that we really have some really great kids at Pound,” Mousel said. 

Bigger Than U is an annual project in which Mousel’s math students participate each fall.The students donate their money to three local charitable causes that they vote on later.  Mousel incorporates math concepts like division and percentages to help his students learn that math can also be used outside of the classroom. 

“I think it’s important that the students understand that math isn’t something that I just do out of book or off of my chromebook, but it can be applied to me and my own community,” he said. 

Mousel’s class donated almost $500 this year. They voted for three organizations - HopeSpoke, the Lincoln Housing Authority and Fresh Start. The students also give a portion of their donations back to Pound to help make holiday meal baskets for families. 

“I have never really donated before. Now that I know that our money is going to go to someone that really needs it. It makes me feel really good,” Pound seventh-grade student Addy said. 

“We want to make sure we are a presence for the community and we want to make sure the community is aware that these kids are not just learning math. They’re applying it and doing good things too,” Mousel added. 

Before the end of November, two organizations stopped by Pound to thank the students for their generosity including Fresh Start Program Coordinator Meg Damme, who is a Pound alum. 

“It makes me feel great. It’s just a wonderful idea and not anything that I can remember ever  doing. So, it just really warms my heart that this has become an integral part of the learning experience,” Damme said. 

“It’s incredible and so special too that it is a middle school class. A lot of our clients are middle school and elementary school,” HopeSpoke Executive Development Coordinator Paige Kruse said. 

Students have also donated funds to other Lincoln nonprofits like CEDARS, the Hub and Matt Talbot Kitchen in the past. Pound has done “Bigger Than U” for more than five years. 

Published: December 7, 2022, Updated: December 7, 2022

Pound Teacher Shawn Mousel helping his seventh grade students use math to help our community.