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Math's Negative Image Adds Up To National Problem

First-of-its-Kind Survey Spotlights Middle-Schooler Math Problem

WALTHAM, Mass., Nov. 10, 2005 /PRNewswire/ -- America has a math problem. Most American middle school students (84%) would rather clean their rooms, eat their vegetables, take out the garbage or go to the dentist than sit down with their math homework. Yet these same students, sixth to eighth graders in a new national survey conducted on behalf of the Raytheon Company, say they want to do better in math (67%) and that doing well in math is important to them (94%).

"These young students said they would be more interested in math if they saw how those skills could lead to exciting careers," said William H. Swanson, Raytheon Chairman and CEO.

"Our challenge was to show them how math and science could be exciting in their own worlds and on their own terms."

MathMovesU Enlists Celebrities, Makes Math Cool

To meet this objective, Raytheon decided to build on its long-time support for MATHCOUNTS, a math enrichment and competition program, by introducing MathMovesU, a new program that tackles math education issues in a unique way. Targeting middle school students who are at an age when interest and achievement in math drops, MathMovesU enlists celebrities like skateboard legend Tony Hawk and soccer star Mia Hamm to get the young students attention and show them how math can play a surprisingly important role in their future.

Raytheon selected the celebrities as key math spokespeople as a direct result of the Company's research. According to the vast majority of middle school students surveyed by KRC Research for Raytheon, math would be more interesting to them if they were shown how people in music, sports and video games use math in their jobs (81%).

Program Offers Celebrity Substitute Teachers

MathMovesU takes math to where middle schoolers like to get their information, the Internet, then offers them awards and education grants for answering math questions related to the celebrities' professional activities. Students who figure out the degree turn of Tony Hawk's skateboard signature trick and Mia Hamm's yearly scoring average, for example, are eligible to win.

In addition to Hawk and Hamm, mathmovesu.com includes math questions related to other celebrities involved in the program, including BMX champion Dave Mirra, WNBA star Lisa Leslie and basketball legend Bill Russell. Math equations related to the creator of the popular Ratchet and Clank video game, a roller coaster inventor, fashion designer, concert tour manager for Avril Lavigne, and an ER doctor are also featured on the site.

Beginning this month, MathMovesU celebrities will also go into classrooms across the country, starting with a Dave Mirra visit to a New York City school to kick off MathMovesU and the program's "Surprise Celebrity Substitute Teacher" component. Students can log onto mathmovesu.com to register to win a celebrity visit to their school.

In commenting on Raytheon's new program, Tony Hawk said, "MathMovesU wants to change kids' image of math by flipping it on its head. As action sports enthusiasts, we are familiar with this technique. The same goes for other sports stars and creative people."

Dave Mirra, BMX star, commented on his visit as a surprise substitute teacher to a math class in New York City: "The students were shocked to see me in their math class, but they were also surprised that math plays such an important role in so many cool careers," Mirra said.

Mia Hamm adds, "I love to see young athletes get excited about soccer, but I also have a real interest in seeing young students really getting into math. I use math everyday, on and off the field."

Lisa Leslie, another MathMovesU celebrity, said "People don't realize the important role that math plays in a sport like basketball, but it's something I rely on every day."

MathMovesU Makes Scholarships and Grants Available

In addition to awards like autographed skateboards and soccer balls, Raytheon is offering $1 million over the next year in grant and scholarship money for students, teachers and schools. All applications are available on mathmovesu.com, including money for middle school and high school students and their schools. In addition, MathMovesU Heroes Award Grants are available for math teachers and those who work with math groups and their organizations. College students can also apply for funding to help math teachers in classrooms.

Sponsored by the Raytheon Company, MathMovesU is a unique project designed to "elevate math to cool" by combining middle school students' interest in celebrities with grant money, awards and a robust MATHCOUNTS curriculum to encourage excitement about math. The company supports MATHCOUNTS, a national math enrichment, coaching and competition program. You can learn more about MathMovesU and its sponsors by visiting http://www.mathmovesu.com/, http://www.mathcounts.com/, http://www.raytheon.com/, and http://www.bhef.com/.

   Theresa Renaldi

   James Fetig

SOURCE: Raytheon Company

CONTACT: Theresa Renaldi of Weber Shandwick, +1-312-988-2367,
trenaldi@webershandwick.com, or James Fetig of Raytheon, +1-781-522-5111,

Web site: http://www.raytheon.com/

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