Event brings math to life

STEUBENVILLE -The Harding Middle School pupils worked on a series of math problems and then dove into a small plastic swimming pool to find the plastic ball with the correct answer.

“This is a very polite group of kids. But they are having fun,” remarked Bobbi Parnicza, an assistant professor of engineering technology at Eastern Gateway Community College.

The college’s annual MathQuest was held Tuesday.

“MathQuest is always fun for us. We are actually on our spring break but a number of us volunteer to come in today to help out. If you watch these kids you see they are working as a team in each corner of the room. And at the same time they are learning math skills they will take back to Harding and hopefully will inspire them to continue their education in the fields of science, math or engineering,” explained Parnicza.

“We are involved in the national S.T.E.M. program. S.T.E.M. stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. It is a national push to get more students into those courses of studies. We feel the younger we can get students interested in mathematics, the better chance we have of keeping them involved in mathematics in later years,” Parnicza noted.

“The day-long Math Quest is almost always a good and positive experience for the students. I think they enjoy themselves because a lot of the students think math is boring. We try to show them that math is also fun and they can also learn here,” said Parnicza.

“This is our ninth year and we enjoy this as much as the kids do,” she added.

Karen Aulet, a sixth-grade science teacher at Harding Middle School said the pupils “love today at EGCC.”

“They talk about this day several days before we actually come here. They look forward to coming to EGCC to do the math problems because they have heard about how fun it is,” Aulet said.

“And they take what they learn here and use it at Harding, so this is a good educational tool. It actually makes them realize math is fun. Look how well they are working together as a team,” she added.

A team of Gage Price, Anthony Gentile and Cassiani Avouris called out encouragement to teammate Jordan Serjeant as she searched for the plastic ball holding the number she needed to solve their math equation.

“Do you need help? Come back and tap out and someone else can look for the ball,” advised Price.

At another work station Paige Everhart, Emma Black, Charly Sloane and Kiara Smith carefully studied a math problem before deciding on the correct answer.

But in another classroom four sixth-grade boys bent over a table to work out the answer to a math problem and then looked for the object they needed to find the answer.

“Be careful in here,” a teacher advised a visitor walking into the room. “These guys are very excited and working very hard to solve the math equations.”