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June 15, 2012 > Math essay contest winners announced

Math essay contest winners announced

Submitted By Joyce Blueford

The Math Science Nucleus is proud to announce the winners of the Dana Raimondi Math Program Essay Contest on "Why Math is Important." Competing this year were 450 students from Maloney, Brier, Vallejo Mills, Blacow, Durham and Cabrillo, all of Fremont Unified School District (FUSD). Each school had an assembly that provided an opportunity for the students to meet Mrs. Raimondi and receive their prizes. Every child received a math puzzle and a first place winner for each class received an electronic maze called "Hexabug."

The Dana Raimondi Math Program started in 2007 to provide lower performing schools in math with supplementary hands-on math lessons emphasizing the importance of math. Most people agree that math is important but unfortunately, most students do not understand why math is important in science, engineering, building, plumbing, and many other professions. These lessons provide an opportunity to find out.

Dana Ogden Raimondi, a resident in Fremont, funds this program through the Math Science Nucleus, a Fremont non-profit organization. The program provides five hands-on math lessons throughout the school year that follow the sixth grade curriculum. Laurey Hemenway, Education Director is in charge of the program and coordinates the lessons and materials. Lessons allow students to apply newly acquired knowledge to hands-on activities such as compiling data about San Francisco Bay mollusks, learning about geometry by constructing 3-D models, and working on a mini dinosaur fossil excavation.

Through these lessons, students learn to use math as a tool for science. Students realize very quickly how everything involves math and that math is integrated into all the other subjects they learn in school, even history. They are surprised to find out that even the subject of math has a history.

"Before I thought math was just for homework and money but I was wrong. Math is used everywhere, even in science, so it is very important," says Nina Garcia from Cabrillo Elementary, a sentiment expressed by many other students in the program.

Feedback from students and teachers that have participated in the project has been encouraging and the Math Science Nucleus is working with FUSD to find a way to follow-up with these students once they are in seventh grade.

Upon completion of this year's lessons the Math Science Nucleus had students write essays about why they think math is important. The essays help students review their thoughts on the year's lessons and it's a way for the Math Science Nucleus and FUSD to assess the impact of this project. From the essays received, it's apparent that the lessons have helped change opinions about math overall, a feeling summed up by Logan Kiester of Brier Elementary: "These math lessons were great. I liked how you turned some boring math lessons into something fun and exciting. I learned so much from your lessons; like how math is in everyday jobs. Math has a very old life that goes back to ancient Greece, or that math is in science too."

The winners for each school are:

Blacow: Ritikia Piple, Prachi Verma, Areli Llanos; Honorable Mention for Art: Michelle Prasertsanit

Brier: Arzo Zazai; Andony Payne; Logan Kiester; Honorable Mention/Art: Emily Liu

Cabrillo: Jasleen Kau; Jasmeen Hundal; Honorable Mention/Art: Gabby Riemer

Durham: Yahao Chen, Jessica Le; Honorable Mention/Art: Joanna Ramirez

Maloney: Prachi Verma, Shiranthi Jawahar

Vallejo Mill: Ethan Mehta; Denny Rich

Dana Raimondi, who's continued generosity keeps this program going, provides students with a chance to achieve what they may have never thought possible: to love math and be good at it.

To find out more about the program go to the Math Science Nucleus website and view the lessons: http://msnucleus.org/raimonidi/lessons.html.

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