Undergrads Perform Community Service
by Ann Henry
During the fall semester, the Math Education Club decided to do an "outreach" project. As club president, I mailed letters to area schools, and the first school to respond was Tecumseh Middle School. Working with counselor Mary Margaret Foreman and teacher Bill Marti, two of us in the club tutored eighth grade students who were failing math, but who had the potential and the desire to do better.
Each week during the semester, sophomore Mei Gong and I worked with five Tecumseh students on basic math skills: Denise, Michael, Lynneth, Aaron, and Franchesca. Lynneth spoke almost no English, having just moved from Mexico, so Denise, who is bilingual, served as interpreter. The students had all transferred to Tecumseh during the fall, and the transition had made it difficult to place them into a math classes according to their abilities. Our goal was to help them catch up by providing extra help during their study hall periods.
Mei and I worked with the students on things like area and perimeter of irregular shapes, factoring of numbers, changing units (going from miles to feet, for example), and a lot of other basic mathematics ideas. The kids' grades improved as the semester went on. Mei and I both looked forward to seeing them every week--they were wonderful kids with a lot of potential, who just needed a little more individual attention to get motivated at times. It was a great learning experience for me as well!
Ann Henry, a senior in mathematics education, is from Newburgh, Indiana, located just outside of Evansville. This spring, Ann is student teaching at Lafayette Jeff High School. After graduating in May, she hopes to begin teaching in the fall, or she may continue her education and pursue a master's degree.
Officers of the Actuary Club pose in the Purdue Memorial Union before a career fair last fall. They are, from left to right: John Koelling, Kelley Starkey, Lee Ann Kreske, Jackie Krausman, and Shannon Leathers. John Koelling is president of the club, which is one of three math-related student organizations at Purdue.