BGSU preservice teachers secure funds for future Math Camps

math-camp

By Natasha Fly

Students from the Bowling Green Council of Teachers of Mathematics (BGCTM) were awarded the Emma Lou Brumfield Award in the amount of $500 to be used for future math camps that will take place throughout Northwest Ohio.

Dr. Gabriel Matney, associate professor in the School of Teaching and Learning, introduced math camps to BGSU after conducting years of research and development with colleagues in Thailand. During his third year of research Matney began was able to have BGSU preservice teachers travel to Thailand and observe the math camps and help conduct research.  BGSU students had the opportunity to experience both collegiate and public school math camps that were conducted abroad. In 2014, these preservice teachers were able to bring math camps from Thailand to Ohio and adapt them to the US context.  

BGCTM designs each individual camp with oversight from BGSU’s mathematics education faculty. The curriculum is aligned with the Common Core & Ohio Learning Standards for Mathematics. To coordinate the event BGCTM preservice teachers work with each school’s liaison to identify specific areas of mathematical need for the students in order to design a worthwhile and focused camp experience.

Each math camp is made up of various activities to engage different areas of the brain in continuous learning. Stations are used to engage small groups to develop problem solving, teamwork, perseverance and critical thinking skills.  

The brain challenge activity creates new ways for students to apply their classroom learning with challenging problems that include puzzles, logic and mathematical equations. For example, a game called Ravana, uses photographs taken at the camp that day to encourage problem solving, teamwork, communication, logical thinking and intuition. Math art gives campers time to reflect, summarize and synthesize a group response to their experience at math camp. Energizers inspire song, dance and games that are performed throughout the duration of the camp.

The grant was awarded to the BGCTM by the Ohio Council of Teachers and Mathematics. The funds will provide students with essential resources that make math camps possible for the 2016-2017 academic year. The students responsible for writing the proposal are Alyssa Lustgarten, BGCTM president and executive energizer leader, Cory Fischer and Courtney Wilcox, both math camp executive co-leaders. The students worked with Matney, associate professor in the School of Teaching and Learning to secure the funding.  

The preservice teachers will lead the collegiate camp, where about 150 students will receive training to conduct activities central to all math camps. Additional leaders of the camp include Davis Gerber, executive families leader and Sarah Wildenheim, executive stations leader. Students organizing the camp are middle childhood education or adolescent to young adult education majors and typically specialize in math education. Before they can participate, students receive training at the collegiate camp to learn the necessary skills for leading the activities throughout the math camp.

This grant is instrumental in providing the needed supplies to run the camp at six community schools. BGSU students will travel to the local schools on Saturdays and run the camps all day with students. While the leadership and a few other energetic math camp organizers will work on all six camps, there will be different students who will fill various roles and leadership responsibilities at the different camps. A system of checks and balances is implemented to allow time for training of new leaders while allowing for new ideas to be incorporated from the younger generation of preservice teachers.

The program provides great benefits for collegiate and community participants through thoughtful engagement in an exciting learning atmosphere. BGSU preservice teachers  gain valuable teaching experience by developing their team building, problem solving skills, confidence and appreciation for math.