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Elementary campers realize math’s use in everyday life, jobs

Elementary students engage in a building project at Madison City Summer Math Camp. (CONTRIBUTED)
Elementary students engage in a building project at Madison City Summer Math Camp. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Unlikely factors of fun and mathematics added up to a successful run for Madison City Summer Math Camp.

Mill Creek Elementary School hosted the camp on June 9-13 for students entering grades 3-6.

Camp coordinator Kacy McKay said the camp went “extremely well, with lots of smiles every day. We had 148 students from all seven elementary schools” in Madison. McKay is assistant principal at Mill Creek.

Campers engaged in “activities and projects based on real-life scenarios. (They) learned how math is used in different careers with a preview of math skills for the upcoming year,” McKay said.

When planning the camp, McKay and coordinator of elementary instruction Judy Warmath guaranteed two important factors: mathematics and fun. They realize those two factors often don’t jive.

However, “from the looks of the students’ faces and the hands-on learning, I would definitely say the two were merged,” McKay said.

Third-graders pursued “Vets and Math” to budget care for different pets. Abby Vanderwier and Colleen Whitehead with Whitworth Animal Clinic shared valuable tips about caring for various animals.

Fourth-graders focused on planning for travel and vacation expenses, while using mathematical concepts and solving problems. Susan McDougal with Adventure Travel explained how she uses math in her career.

Looking at engineering and space exploration, fifth-graders calculated volume, area and perimeter while constructing parachutes and lunar buggies. Joe McKay from the aeromechanics division of the Aviation Engineering Directorate flew Vapor and Quad-Rotor helicopters.

Architecture was the sixth-graders’ theme. They used geometry to build towers and geodesic domes, Kacy McKay said. Scott Stafford with Stafford Architecture discussed mathematics used in building and blueprint design.

Several parents emailed their approval about the camp to McKay. One parent wrote, “All the kids loved the math camp. Yesterday, they were talking that they would love to go to the camp even for two more weeks.”

Another parent was willing to pay more for the camp. The child “was so excited telling his friends that math camp was so much fun.”

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