Todays Events - April 18, 2021

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  • Apr 19th - Apr 19th, 2021 - BOE Regular Meeting
    6:30 PM - Mt. Olive Middle School

  • Apr 26th - Apr 26th, 2021 - BOE Regular Meeting
    6:30 PM - Mt. Olive Middle School

  • May 10th - May 10th, 2021 - BOE Regular Meeting
    6:30 PM - Mt. Olive Middle School

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MOMS IN THE NEWS

The joy of Java

Math lovers enjoy the challenge of solving problems by using their knowledge and creativity; they relish the thrill of those magical “aha” moments when it all comes together.
 
But for seventh-grader Evan Matyskiel, there was a greater challenge than just arriving at the correct answers in his Dynamic Math class: Could he build a better mousetrap? Could he use his new Java skills to code the various equations needed to solve his math problems and then use his Chromebook to crunch the numbers?
 
This winter, Evan participated in a series of Java workshops that were remotely run by students in the high school’s robotics club. The training sessions, held once per week for five weeks, provided Evan and the other interested MOMS students with a functional foundation to the popular programming language, and gave them hands-on practice. In Dynamic Math, when he was learning to calculate the area of polygons, the idea came to him to use his nascent Java skills to solve the problems faster and easier than by hand. He coded the formula to do the heavy lifting for him.
 
“All I wanted to do was enter the numbers and press enter,” Evan said. “I got the correct answers faster than using my calculator.”
 
After that, he was hooked. He coded the functions and processes for everything he was learning in Dynamic Math. How to find the hypotenuse of a right triangle? Easy. How to calculate loan payments with compounded interest over a period of time? Done. Figuring out net income after federal and state taxes? Depressing, but done. In total, Evan coded more than a dozen formulas for class.
 
When students harness the information and skills they’ve learned in one subject and apply it in another, teachers ring bells and set off academic fireworks. That’s the type of higher-order thinking they try to cultivate in all their students. Add in the fact that Evan’s Java forays were self-directed, then you truly have something to write home about – or call home about as math teacher Steve Leonard did.
 
“I spoke with his mom and told her I thought it was amazing that Evan was taking his Java knowledge and building code to replicate the math he was learning in class,” said Leonard. “Prior to my career as a teacher, I spent 17 years in the IT industry as both a computer programmer and an IT systems manager, so I was excited to see his coding work. Evan really enjoyed walking me through how he coded the different formulas.”
 
The second trimester Dynamic Math course recently wrapped; however, the young programmer isn’t stopping. In fact, the end of the course has given him cause to broaden his vision and use his coding skills in other ways. Tasked with developing a game in his gifted & talented class, Evan used Java to create a digital vocabulary game that would help students learn new words. In social studies after learning the cost of a first-class ticket aboard the Titanic, Evan wanted to know the price tag in today’s dollars. Yup, he coded the formula for that too.
 
“It worked out to be about $100,000,” he said. “I was just curious. I like figuring things out. That’s who I am.”


Mask holder

A student-designed mask holder in the shape of the coronavirus hangs on the glass door to the MOMS makerspace

  

Students find inspiration in pandemic

Eighth-graders in Innovation & Design classes have been tasked this year to design products that would make pandemic life a little easier. Working individually and in teams, the students applied their ingenuity and their knowledge of the engineering design process to develop products that have real-world uses in the COVID era. Some of the products were even able to be prototyped using the 3D printers in the school’s makerspace.

The students designed items such as mask hangers, hands-free door openers, phone cases that can hold cleaning wipes, an app that will alert the user if someone is within six feet, and a temperature sensor that can be attached to a smart phone for easy readings and tracking.

The COVID design project is a twist on assignments traditionally done in I&D classes. Students are typically challenged to develop products that would solve problems experienced by specific demographic groups such as toddlers or senior citizens. This year, the students happen to be in the target demographic.

The personal experience of living in a world in which health concerns profoundly impact daily existence has provided students with a first-hand perspective. They were being asked to identify and solve problems that they were experiencing themselves. The project not only empowered them to ease the disruption in their own lives but also consider the larger population affected by the pandemic.

“The students are living through an unprecedented time and can truly feel the impact of social distancing, mask-wearing, and a hybrid learning environment,” said teacher Rebecca Kreider, Ed.D. "They can see the need for new products and are far more in touch with the design process.”



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