One focus of the MUS math department is to engage the students in meaningful and interesting real-world applications of mathematics. Such applications are incorporated to develop creative problem solving skills as well as an appreciation of math and its relationship to other disciplines.
In Geometry and Geometry Honors students are working on a project that challenges them to apply math, technology, and art as a storytelling tool. The end result will be a large-scale work of art, which creatively demonstrates the students’ understanding of geometric transformations, on the brick walls of the SDJA hallways. The art will encourage the community to see the world with a “math lens” and evoke emotion as it draws the SDJA community into each story. Kwaku Aning, Director of CIET, has led several class activities on storytelling and augmented reality (AR).
In Algebra I Honors, students are working on their first semester project which is to create an iPad/iPhone app to help other students learn a math concept. Students are working in small groups and have been assigned a client (Mrs. Dolinka, GMLS math teacher) and users (fifth grade Math 6 Honors students). Algebra I Honors students are hard at work creating an app that meets the client’s criteria while still engaging the users. Kwaku Aning, Director of CIET, came in and led several activities about what makes a “good” game. Just last week, a game designer from BrainPOP talked to the class about the video game design process.
In mid-November the middle school math students participated in the AMC 8 (American Mathematics Competition for middle school). As with class projects, this competition provided students with the opportunity to apply their math thinking in a unique setting. In the honors math courses, students prepared for the competition by working through problem sets from previous competitions. Many students remarked that, though the competition was difficult, it was a wonderful problem solving experience and they enjoyed the challenge. Students will receive their results in late December.
The math department also emphasizes the importance of communicating ideas and working collaboratively. One way students can practice these skills is through teaching others. This past trimester, high school students, Jessie Gan and Noah Katcher, were asked to co-teach a middle school elective on their passion, origami, with Mrs. Schneid.