Pilot program at McWane Science Center encourages careers in mat - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Pilot program at McWane Science Center encourages careers in math and science

Posted: Updated:

Math and science may not be your best subjects, but the world needs people who are strong in these disciplines. Advances in medicine, engineering, construction and other industries are dependent on it. Which is why a pilot program for fifth grade students at the McWane Science Center is garnering so much attention.

'If I Had a Hammer' is a mathematics application program. Students build a house large enough for the entire class to fit inside. Throughout the building process, there is a strong a focus on fractions. Fractions are the gateway to algebra, which is the gateway to  the sciences.

Fifth grade students from Locust Fork Elementary took their jobs seriously. On this day, they were construction workers, under deadline to finish building a house. It was not a real house of course. But the students got  a glimpse into how math applies in real life careers.

Kathy Fournier is vice president of McWane's education department. She saw a gap in their education programs.

"We've always been really strong in the science, pretty good in the engineering, and we really wanted to bring on the math and the technology side of what we're doing here at McWane so this is what we're doing in terms of bringing in more math," said Fourier.

McWane partnered with If I Had a Hammer which is an initiative that started in Nashville. Right now McWane is testing it as a pilot program with ten elementary schools across the state. Prior to getting their hands on a hammer for "the build",  students spend several hours on curriculum that focuses heavily on fractions.

"That's where the kids struggle the most in class, typically in math. So we want to strengthen those skills, combine it with building this house to show them that there's a place for math."


The program goes hand in hand with the Alabama Math Science and Technology Initiative. Director, Steve Ricks, says AMSTI serves in a supportive role for the program; even providing education specialists to  help teachers with the curriculum prior to the build. And while the program is just a pilot, Ricks says he would like to see it as a permanent addition at McWane.

Math teacher, Deborah Hill , agrees.

"Actually doing math and science is what we're trying to get our students to do. We need to get them to see the value of that. It's not jut paper and pencil math anymore," said Hill.

When the house was complete the students pride and excitement were evident. Not only had they built their house, they applied lessons learned in class to do it.

Perhaps fifth grader Austin McMurry summed it up best.

"It's a lot of fun and all you need to know is perimeter and area."
   

  • Central Alabama NewsMore>>

  • John Carroll to head Ethics Commission

    John Carroll to head Ethics Commission

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 8:57 PM EDT2014-09-03 00:57:28 GMT
    Former Cumberland Law School Dean John Carroll will serve as acting director of the State Ethics Commission beginning Oct. 1.Ethics Commission Chairman Ed Crowell announced Tuesday that Carroll will fill in when Director Jim Sumer retires Oct. 1 after being the commission's top staff member for 17 years. Crowell says Carroll will not be a candidate for the permanent position. The commission is accepting applications for the permanent position.Carroll spent 13 years as dean of the Cumberland L...More >>
    Former Cumberland Law School Dean John Carroll will serve as acting director of the State Ethics Commission beginning Oct. 1.Ethics Commission Chairman Ed Crowell announced Tuesday that Carroll will fill in when Director Jim Sumer retires Oct. 1 after being the commission's top staff member for 17 years. Crowell says Carroll will not be a candidate for the permanent position. The commission is accepting applications for the permanent position.Carroll spent 13 years as dean of the Cumberland L...More >>
  • Poll shows most U.S. parents happy with schools

    Poll shows most U.S. parents happy with schools

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 5:18 PM EDT2014-09-02 21:18:23 GMT
    A new survey indicates that a majority of parents in the United States with children in public school systems would rate the quality of their children's schools as above average. Among those polled, 66 percent of parents would rate the quality of their child's school as above average or excellent. However, looking deeper in the demographics shows that minority parents are more likely to believe their children's school is average or worse.The study was released by Vox Populi Polling.More >>
    A new survey indicates that a majority of parents in the United States with children in public school systems would rate the quality of their children's schools as above average. Among those polled, 66 percent of parents would rate the quality of their child's school as above average or excellent. However, looking deeper in the demographics shows that minority parents are more likely to believe their children's school is average or worse.The study was released by Vox Populi Polling.
    More >>
  • Video appears to show beheading of US journalist Steven Sotloff by ISIS

    Video appears to show beheading of US journalist Steven Sotloff by ISIS

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-09-02 21:15:56 GMT
    An Internet video purports to show the beheading of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff by the Islamic State group.More >>
    An Internet video purports to show the beheading of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff by the Islamic State group.
    More >>
  • Anniston - Gadsden Area NewsMore>>

  • Deputies in Etowah County arrest three women for chemical endangerment

    Deputies in Etowah County arrest three women for chemical endangerment

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 7:47 PM EDT2014-09-02 23:47:56 GMT
    The Etowah County sheriff's office arrested three women for chemical endangerment of a child. Investigators charged 28-year-old Ashton Lauren Wood, 25-year-old Jessica Amber Abner and 24-year-old Keeley Elizabeth McCain. Sheriff's Office Deputy Jeremy Lasseter say Wood and her baby both tested positive for amphetamines following the baby's birth. Her bond is set at $10,000. Wood will be supervised by Community corrections and must comply with DHR requirements. She will not be allowed to make ...More >>
    The Etowah County sheriff's office arrested three women for chemical endangerment of a child. Investigators charged 28-year-old Ashton Lauren Wood, 25-year-old Jessica Amber Abner and 24-year-old Keeley Elizabeth McCain. Sheriff's Office Deputy Jeremy Lasseter say Wood and her baby both tested positive for amphetamines following the baby's birth. Her bond is set at $10,000. Wood will be supervised by Community corrections and must comply with DHR requirements. She will not be allowed to make ...More >>
  • Clean out your cabinets for Drug Take-Back Day

    Clean out your cabinets for Drug Take-Back Day

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 1:38 PM EDT2014-09-02 17:38:07 GMT
    Do you have a drawer or cabinet of medicines? Are any of them out of date? Now is the time to check because you can safely dispose of the medications at the Etowah County Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. It is part of a nationwide effort. The event will be Saturday, September 27. A take-back station will be set up at the East Gadsden Walmart from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.A law enforcement officer will remain with the drug disposal box at all times, and the drugs that are turned in will be tr...More >>
    Do you have a drawer or cabinet of medicines? Are any of them out of date? Now is the time to check because you can safely dispose of the medications at the Etowah County Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. It is part of a nationwide effort. The event will be Saturday, September 27. A take-back station will be set up at the East Gadsden Walmart from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.A law enforcement officer will remain with the drug disposal box at all times, and the drugs that are turned in will be tr...More >>
  • Arrest made in large level extortion scheme

    Arrest made in large level extortion scheme

    Friday, August 29 2014 12:45 PM EDT2014-08-29 16:45:16 GMT
    "Everett Leon Stout, 72 and Miriam Clair Schultz, 67 are charged with 14 counts of extortion.More >>
    "Everett Leon Stout, 72 and Miriam Clair Schultz, 67 are charged with 14 counts of extortion.More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...