Math mania teaches kids high-tech skillsNakhia Hopkins and...

the Forum

May 07, 1993

Math mania teaches kids high-tech skills

Nakhia Hopkins and other children who participated in Baltimore City's "24 Challenge" contest deserve recognition for working hard to strengthen their math skills.

Readers should also know about another local mathematics initiative. During the 1992-93 school year, children in Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford and Howard counties participated in Provident Bank's "Math Mania" program. Under the auspices of Maryland Science Week, co-sponsored by Towson State University and the Maryland Science Center, "Math Mania" was created to help fourth-grade students develop mathematical problem solving skills and build mathematics confidence.

From November through March, students worked on five, multi-step mathematics challenges that emphasized analytical

skills and the application of mathematics to real world problems. They used the same team approach to problem solving used by the world's most successful corporations.

"Math Mania" served as a classroom tool for teachers preparing their students to meet the rigorous mathematics outcomes defined by the Maryland State Board of Education.

From the nearly 6,000 students completing the five "Math Mania" challenges, 300 were randomly selected to represent their schools in the final challenge April 24 at Towson State University. Participating students faced problems relating to bridge construction, architectural design and size distribution for the sweat suit industry.

Provident Bank provided $30,000 in prize money for the first-, second- and third-place teams. The funds were divided among the schools represented on the winning teams.

Brad Lescalleet, a fourth-grader at South Shore Elementary School in Anne Arundel County, expressed his feelings in a letter to the president of Provident Bank. He wrote, "Math Mania was a way for kids to learn and have fun at the same time. I bet that if you do it again, it will make a lot of kids very happy and a little bit better at math."

Judith S. Sachwald


The writer is executive director of the Maryland Science Week Commission.

Christian example

The most positive, uplifting news that has been reported for a long time appeared on the front page of the April 28 Evening Sun. It was about the rape victim who, because of religious convictions, refused to accept a $200,000 court settlement.

There is a perception among some Christian groups that the news media treat evangelical/fundamentalist Christians unfairly. We were gratified to read this article which gave a positive account of a young woman living out her Christian convictions.

Perhaps if more Christians were to act according to the precepts of Christianity and the example of Christ, even when such actions might seem opposed to self-interest, there would be more such articles.

!Paul and Martha Canner


Red herring

When is a pig a fish? When the Republican Party claims that they defeated the Clinton economic stimulus bill solely because of the "pork" contained therein.

No member of the Congress has ever been against "pork" in any way, shape or form.

The "pork" argument used by the Republicans is a red herring.

They love pork. But they deplore the much-needed social programs contained in the stimulus package, such as Head Start, inoculations for children, WIC (which would have benefited indigent women and children) and a summer jobs program for students whose parents can't afford to send them to camp.

These programs -- not "pork" -- were the target of the Republican filibuster; and the programs are sorely needed because no social programs got through the Reagan and Bush administrations -- whereas a whole lot of "pork" did.

Donald P. Jans


Mona doesn't get it

Mona Charen just doesn't get it ("The in-your-face gay rights march," Other Voices, April 28).

As an openly homosexual male, I can assure you that gays do not hold a monopoly on public affection, sexual diversity or exhibitionism.

Ronn Olszewski


Empty threat

An April 28 Evening Sun editorial states that the threat of state takeover provides great motivation for local districts to improve troubled schools.

I believe that we are dealing with an empty threat.

It is one thing to come up with unrealistic goals for others to achieve, but it is quite another to be the one responsible for achieving them.

The overwhelming social problems present in the communities served by these schools will make the task of bringing them up to a satisfactory level an extremely long and difficult process.

William A. Boyle


Obstacle to peace

Is peace between Israel and its neighbors a real possibility or an illusion?

It is very hard for me to visualize a real peace because of the infamous "charter" of the PLO that calls for Israel's destruction.

The Palestinians still embrace that charter and all of its anti-Israel provisions.

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