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NCI holds math camp
Alexis Tinsley (left) and Jamesha TInsley work on cooking during a math camp at the New College Institute.
Monday, June 23, 2008
By JENNIFER BEELER - Bulletin Intern
This summer, some students have been given a different perspective on the relevance of math in their lives.
The New College Institute (NCI) offered a weeklong "Math and Everyday Life" camp last week to do just that.
Camp Coordinator Steve Keyser, an outreach educator at NCI, said his plan was to provide activities with a "relevance to life" instead of typical classroom instruction.
The first day of the camp included guest speakers Barbara Jackman and Deirdre Moyer with the Coalition for Health and Wellness as well as an exercise in math percentages and probability incorporating the use of pedometers.
Math and geometrical shapes also were part of the camp's activities. Lynn Berry of Patrick Henry Community College showed campers how to create kaleidoscopes. Students were able to learn about geometry while using soldering irons to connect the pieces of their own kaleidoscopes.
The students also learned about measurements through a math and sewing portion of the camp. Joanna Keyser, a licensed math instructor, taught the students how to make a tote bag out of a pair of jeans, stressing the importance of measurement and math in the project.
The math and cooking section was a hit with two students. Jamesha Tinsley and Alexis Tinsley said they thought cooking was the most enjoyable part of the camp and made math fun. Although it was a math camp, it was not a boring one, they said.
One of the days, some of the students prepared lunch for the others. The lunch consisted of turkey burger quesadillas, veggie wraps, sweet-potato chips, pasta salad and chocolate ice cream.
"Math is an everyday part of cooking," said chef Derrick Beverly of Patrick Henry Community College. "Anything that helps these young ladies" is great, he added.
The goal of the camp was to make math fun for the students and to help them relate math to everyday life because, as Joanna Keyser explained, "everything connects to math."�
"I'm glad I'm doing this camp," Jamesha Tinsley said. "Coming here is better" than other summer camps, she added. "It's really fun."�
Steve Keyser said some students had to be turned away because interest in the camp was high. Participation was limited to 16 because of the hands-on nature of the program.
The camp was offered only to girls from the fourth through sixth grades in an effort to improve girls' math performance, Keyser said. Typically, girls do poorer than boys on math standardized testing, he said.
Students at the camp came from Carlisle School, Henry County schools and Martinsville schools, and one student is home-schooled.
The New College Institute partnered with Martinsville-Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness, Activate Martinsville-Henry County, Patrick Henry Community College and Girl Scouts on the program. It hopes to continue the program next year, Keyser said.