Whiz Kids Mathematics Summer Camp Offers Something For Students and Teachers
KINGSVILLE - June 28, 2007
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A group of fourth and fifth graders are spending two weeks in the Whiz Kids Mathematics Summer Camp at Texas A&M University-Kingsville learning new ways to solve problems – as are their teachers.
Held from June 18-27, the camp brings together 23 kids entering fourth and fifth grade in the fall and teaches them how to deepen their mathematical thinking, look for the answers to problems in a new way and exchange ideas with newly made friends. The camp also provides new teachers with a chance at building and implementing original lesson plans.
The teachers overseeing the camp, in its third year, are Sue Sabrio, mathematics lecturer at A&M-Kingsville, and Carmen Soliz, a teacher with 30 years of experience currently at Kleberg Elementary in Kingsville. Teaching assistants for the camp include A&M-Kingsville students Christopher Buck of Kingsville, Kirby Krueger of New Braunfels and Veronica Trevino of Alice, along with A&M-Kingsville alumna Regina Villarreal of Brownsville. All are pre-service teachers.
“There are two goals of the camp,” said Sabrio. “The first is to expose fourth and fifth graders to some interesting mathematics that they may find meaningful and purposeful. The second goal is to provide practice for in-service and pre-service teachers in planning, implementing and assessing these mathematical experiences. I think both goals are being met with the camp.”
In meeting the first goal of enriching fourth and fifth graders with mathematics, Sabrio said it has been met beyond what they ever imagined.
“One parent commented that as she was bringing two of the children home, their conversation was all about the ‘c-word’ – ‘consecutive’ sums and finding the patterns in them. Another said her son had a sleepover and all he wanted to do with his friends was find the days of the week when they were born, something he had learned in camp.
“The planning and assessing sessions we have during the camp provide important insight for us about what the children already know and where they are having difficulty, but more importantly, we talk about what excites them about mathematics. The students leave each day with big smiles and they keep coming back.”
The Whiz Kids Mathematics Summer Camp is funded by the National Science Foundation grant Alliance for the Improvement of Mathematical Skills Pre K-16 (AIMS), and by the Texas A&M-Kingsville Office of the President.
The AIMS grant is a $4 million, five-year regional partnership between A&M-Kingsville, Del Mar College and 9 independent school districts that seeks to prepare all students for success in college-level math by the time they graduate high school through professional development, vertical alignment, challenging curriculum, use of information technology and research on strategies and interventions.
Sabrio notes that the AIMS grant will run out this September. She and the grant’s project director, A&M-Kingsville math professor Dr. Dwight Goode, are trying to find ways to continue the camp in coming years.
“We've had such positive results that we need to find a way to keep it going,” said Sabrio.
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