Mariah Kaufman is a senior who is double majoring in Music and Secondary Education.
On Wednesday, we had our largest attendance at Math Camp thus far- a grand 23 students showed up and outnumbered us. With a steady increase in attendance each day, our daily activities changed slightly. Each day of Math Camp, we plan activities such as: crafts, outside play, science and math, music, and water games. We are working with a wide range of student ages, stages of development, and ability levels. As such, we have attempted to gauge the best ways to involve students. Mid-week, we began experimenting with age-level groupings for some of the more complex craft activities. This seemed to work well, because projects were easily adaptable. One day, the students made shakers out of construction paper and rice. Our crafts leaders came up with three different designs to teach. The students enjoyed making and using these shakers for music class as well as comparing the way that different amounts of rice altered the sound of the instrument.
It has been a good challenge to incorporate math into our various activities. For music, we have utilized games such as Hot Potato to get kids singing. However, instead of going out when ending up with the “potato,” students instead must solve a basic math problem. Although we are leading Math Camp, most of the learning is coming from activities and experiential learning rather than direct instruction and drilled practice.
One of my favorite memories from this week involved a group of younger students on the playground. They were taking turns going down a big yellow tube slide when I suggested that we pretend to “blast off” like a rocket ship. To ensure a successful take-off, we of course needed a countdown! The kids got super into counting and choosing how long of a countdown they wanted. For some students that picked larger numbers (such as a thousand), we brainstormed alternatives to counting consecutively. We ended up counting by fives and tens for these numbers. It was very rewarding to see the kids having so much fun (and as an education major, it was nice to make sure that academia was involved in outside play too). While playing outside is a highlight of the day, many of the students favor water games. It is so hot and dry here that playing with water at the end of the day is even more enjoyable than normal!