August 29, 2014

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Avon students use math to learn about giving

AVON — What do you get when you combine a lot of fun and some learning?

You get Math Week at Avon Heritage South Elementary School. From Dec. 10 to Dec. 14, fourth-graders at the school were treated to an array of math-related activities, including scavenger hunts, estimations, brain teasers and a math-themed food event.

CHUCK HUMEL/CHRONICLE
Third-graders at Avon Heritage South Elementary School learn giving along with math principles. Front row (from left), Ian Zollos, 8, holds a box of cereal, which represents a rectangular prism, while Mary Paulin, 8, holds a 16-ounce can, which represents a one-pound weight. Back row (from left), Marley Kalata, 9, Connor McKiernan, 8, and Mitchell O’Hara, 9, use canned goods to demonstrate prime numbers.

Students faced a different brain teaser each day, giving them the opportunity to flex their brain power for prizes.

Math teacher Hollie Glaser led the event and said that the Avon Endowment Fund provided a grant to bring in a Lego activity in which students built Lego cars that taught them the basics of gears and motion.

“We wanted to submerse the students in real-world math activities in a fun way,” Glaser said. “The students really enjoyed the Lego activity and the estimation activity in which there was a jar full of candy.”

Students also completed a “Mathematician Match” by using information they found on the Internet.

While the students had a great deal of fun, they also learned some important life lessons.

“I watched them complete some difficult math activities that use higher-level logical thinking,” Glaser said.

Students John Karkor and Nick Mazzola agreed that the Lego event was exciting.

“It was fun because you got to build a Lego car, then improve it to make it go faster,” John said.

Nick added, “The best part was driving and crashing the cars.”

With the holiday season here, the class and staff thought that a math-related food drive would be a good way to donate to others and learn at the same time. Each day, students brought in different types of nonperishable foods that fit into certain categories.

On Monday, they brought in cylinders (cans), Tuesday it was rectangular prisms (boxes), Wednesday’s request was a 16-ounce item, Thursday’s item was something that measured 4 inches (boxes of Jell-O were popular donations), and Friday’s request was a prime number of whatever item a student chose.

Students collected more than 1,000 food items that will be donated to a local food bank.

“I brought in cylinders because we’d just learned about them in class,” said student Tyler Courtright.

The program was a great success, and will become an annual event.

“We have a science week and a right-to-read week, so we’re really excited to have a math week now,” Glaser said.

Contact Lee Ann Mullen at 329-7155 or metro@chroniclet.com.