April 10: Teachers and Partners Discuss Impact Math Midway Exhibition Had on Students at Rochester Museum & Science Center
Special project involved 115 teachers and 2,500 city students in math learning
WHAT: "An evening of Sharing and Celebration: Rochester's Math Midway Project"
Project partners join teachers in roundtable discussions about the possible changed perceptions toward mathematics as a result of a project that combined professional development for teachers, classroom lessons, and student visits to the Math Midway exhibition at the Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC). This is a heartening project of how community partners joined to solve a need creatively—get students excited about math (see below for background).
WHO: Bolgen Vargas, Superintendent of Schools, Rochester City School District (RCSD); Patty Malgieri, Chief of Staff, RCSD; additional RCSD leaders; 115 teachers; Representatives from OppenheimerFunds (Math Midway exhibition lead funders); Representatives from the University of Rochester Warner School; Professors from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Department of Applied Mathematics; RMSC staff.
WHEN: Thursday, April 10, 2014: 4:30–6:30pm
WHERE: Rochester Museum & Science Center, Eisenhart Auditorium
657 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607
PROJECT BACKGROUND: The national need to graduate more students both ready and eager to move into technology jobs is reaching a critical level. Until kids start to consider math as an interesting and relevant field, this is not likely to change.
A special program for the RCSD has enabled more than 2,500 city school students to visit the RMSC for free to experience the powerful and exciting world of mathematics in action. Prior to their visit, the 115 teachers of these students attended a three-hour professional development workshop at RIT to learn from math experts about the math behind the real-world application of the exhibits. After the workshop and prior to attending Math Midway, teachers engaged their students in activities that challenged students to think about the mathematics behind the exhibits. For example, a "no left turns" maze challenged students to get from start to finish without ever making a left turn. This fun challenge has real-world connections—computer programs have been created to run routes that never make a left turn (FedEx uses this strategy).
OppenheimerFunds, a significant sponsor of the National Museum of Mathematics in New York City, and RMSC provided scholarships for full admission assistance while the RCSD covered busing for the 2,500 students. Teachers in the city who did not take the workshop, as well as teachers from any school district within traveling distance, were able to apply for partial scholarships for their students and are still encouraged to apply now that the Math Midway visit has been extended through April 27.
PROJECT RESULTS: From January 17 through March 17 (original exhibition stay—Math Midway has been extended through April 27), more than 7,300 students attended Math Midway. More than one-third, 2,500, of these students were from the RCSD.
EXHIBITION BACKGROUND: Math Midway, a carnival-themed, hands-on traveling exhibition, encourages direct physical investigation of the surprising breadth and variety of mathematics. More than 20 interactive, playful exhibits allow visitors to slip naturally into the world of pattern, shape and number. Math Midway enhances students' perception of mathematics as an evolving, creative and aesthetic human endeavor. Math Midway seeks to spark an interest for kids to pursue careers in the STEM fields.
EXHIBITION SPONSORS: Math Midway is presented by OppenheimerFunds. The media sponsor is Time Warner Cable. The Math Midway is a production of the National Museum of Mathematics, America's only museum dedicated to the wonders of mathematics, momath.org.
Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC) includes the Science Museum, Strasenburgh Planetarium and Cumming Nature Center. Offering experiences at the Museum with more than 200 interactive exhibits, Planetarium with a 65-foot dome and Nature Center on 900 acres, the RMSC stimulates community interest in exploration. In addition, the more than 1.2 million RMSC collection items tell the story of Rochester's past including its rich history of innovation and invention. RMSC receives major funding from Monroe County, where it is of the top three most visited attractions serving children and families. For more information about RMSC, visit www.rmsc.org. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.