Students learn mathematical concepts through Summer STEM Academy

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- High school students were faced with a rather challenging task Tuesday morning. They had to build the tallest tower possible out of just five sheets paper and 12 inches of tape, there was another catch, do it in only have 10 minutes. They stacked, their towers fell and they stacked again. Trial and error are an important part of the exercise.

"Going over technology and building things and learning about different engineering processes is like a really fun thing for me and I just really enjoy it," said University High School sophomore Anoshka Choudhury.

What looked like fun and games was actually a learning lesson at Fresno State's Summer STEM Academy. This year's theme is building bridges and exploring structures and forces.

"It incorporates math, physics, engineering, and technology for a week of fun and education," said Dawn Moate with the Mathematics Department at Fresno State.

About 100 students, grades 4-12 are taking part in the week-long math-focused camp featuring hands-on activities showing the subject in a new light. University High School sophomore Ariana Mohebbi, along with her team, built the tallest tower. She said the Academy is a great way for her to sharpen her skills.

"I like to do something academic so I don't just completely forget everything I learned all school year and get ahead," she said.

Students were not the only ones who learned. Math teachers from across the Valley sat in on classes and picked up new teaching concepts. Tanya Hunter is the math coach at Pioneer Middle School in Porterville. She says through the knowledge she gains, she can make her lessons more engaging.

"They may not learn the same way as everyone else and that is a good thing because then creativity comes into play and they are able to understand how they're doing the problem on their own," said Hunter.

At the end of camp, students will get to present their work and earn a certificate of accomplishment.
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