GEAR UP Students Connect Math To Real World At Super Saturday

Feb. 6, 2002

by Lori Scott Fogleman

Students and teachers from three Waco middle schools will use falling dominoes, spilling M&Ms and basketball motion labs to connect math to the real world during Math Super Saturday Feb. 9 on the Baylor University campus.

"Looking for Math in all the Wrong Places?" will be held from 9 a.m. to noon in room 211 of the Draper Academic Building. The Math Super Saturday program is sponsored by GEAR UP Waco and has been selected as a model program for students and teachers by the Texas State GEAR UP grant, administered by the Texas Education Agency.

Students and teachers from Wiley, University and Lake Air middle schools will take part in hands-on math games and drills designed to help students become better math students through real-world applications while preparing them for college. Using a TI-Graphing calculator, students and teachers will collect and analyze data from dominoes, M&Ms and basketballs to reveal exciting mathematical relationships.

"Researchers and math education leaders talk about the importance of highly engaging students in 'rich mathematics,' which are interactive and entertaining but also teach deep math concepts," said Dr. Trena L. Wilkerson, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction in the Baylor School of Education.

"This is necessary for all children, but particularly for middle schoolers who are making decisions about their lives and for whom a strong math background is essential for their future," said Wilkerson, who also serves as project director of Math Super Saturday. "The GEAR UP Waco program also has exposed them to the university, which has been a highlight for many of our students. It shows them that college is a reality for them."

GEAR UP Waco is a comprehensive, collaborative initiative focused on preparing at-risk students academically and socially for college. Federally funded by the U.S. Department of Education, GEAR UP Waco serves as a community catalyst to assure an increase in students who pursue advanced and enrichment courses, pass the state exam and continue their education beyond the high school level.

GEAR UP is a partnership between Baylor University, McLennan Community College, Texas State Technical College, Waco Independent School District, Waco Foundation, City of Waco and Communities in Schools/McLennan County Youth Collaboration.

For more information, contact Wilkerson at 710-6162 or by mobile on Saturday at 717-4628. Matthew A. Williams, GEAR UP Waco project director, can be reached at 710-4975 or by mobile on Saturday at 717-0882. Wilkerson and Williams, as well as Math Super Saturday staff, students and teachers, are available for interviews on Saturday.

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