Mason pre-service teacher Jeness Vignoe works with elementary students at the Math Carnival. Photo by Courtney Baker
What’s your average on the Popcorn Drop contest? How does an artist, architect or ice cream shop owner use math daily?
These are just some of the questions that were explored during E=MC2: Enrichment in Mathematics Computing and Creativity, a two-week summer math camp for elementary students that took place in late July.
Throughout the program, students from Annandale Terrace Elementary School in Annandale, Va., and Westlawn Elementary School in Falls Church, Va., had the opportunity to learn about mathematics, technology and problem solving in a creative environment.
A unique aspect of the camp is that it allowed pre-service teachers from Mason to work collaboratively with mentor teachers at Mason’s Professional Development Partnership Schools. The pre-service teachers participated in professional development programs to learn more about teaching mathematics to a diverse population of students.
With their mentor teachers, the pre-service teachers planned daily lessons, gained valuable teaching experience and observed the techniques of the elementary teachers.
“There is a lot of controversy on how to best prepare our teachers for diverse classrooms,” says Jennifer Suh, assistant professor of mathematics education in Mason’s College of Education and Human Development (CEHD).
“I believe that this type of partnership between the university and local schools that weaves course work into clinical experiences puts Mason at the cutting-edge of demonstrating best practices in enriching mathematics education to diverse learners.”
Mason pre-service teachers Deanna Andrews and AnneMarie Thomas play a mathematics game with students. Photo by Courtney Baker
The camp culminated with a Math Carnival and Kidz Biz Expo. During the Math Carnival, the elementary students invited their family and friends and taught them mathematics games that involved probability and number sense.
The Kidz Biz Expo gave students an opportunity to learn about financial literacy, such as starting a business with a loan, making a profit and building mathematical power.
The camp was jointly supported by CEHD’s Elementary Education program and the Math Science Partnership (MSP) Center at Mason. The MSP Center, which was established by Suh and Padmanabhan Seshaiyer, associate professor of mathematical sciences in Mason’s College of Science, supports student learning in grades K-8 and professional development for math teachers. The MSP Center is funded by a grant from the Virginia Department of Education.