Students learn about real-world math


July 22, 1998|By Pat Brodowski | Pat Brodowski,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

FROM FOOTBALL to flowers, math and numbers are infused in daily life, or so it should seem to the 67 students enrolled in Summer Math Camp at Spring Garden Elementary School.

On July 15, speakers from area businesses took the world of real-life mathematics to the children for six half-hour workshops.

Some students pretended to be insurance agents under the guidance of Dorothy Gaspar of State Farm Insurance of Hampstead. Accumulated cash values on policies were a surprise to them, she said.

"I stressed that the key was to save, rather than borrow," said Yvonne Zeminski, branch manager of Farmers and Merchants Bank, as she explained interest and estimating car payments.

Orthodontist Kevin Lawyer described how teeth are numbered and measured. Cyndi Atkinson of Saturn of Owings Mills took students through the purchase of a car and cost of extras. Susan Bahorich of Prestige Cable, who taped the day at camp for television, also introduced the numerical side of video production. Hampstead florist Gail Terzano of Timeless Creations explained how geometry is essential to floral design.

Two Baltimore Ravens got the children's attention. Kenneth Whisenhunt, a coach whose son Kenneth is in first grade, brought Eric Zeier, quarterback, to the math camp to show the complex world of numbers that guides every move in football.

Cory Rogers, 9, could enumerate a few football facts, such as length of downs and field size, before meeting the Ravens. He enjoyed learning how football plays were structured, with holes for players to move through that were spoken on the field in a type of code.

"Players are called by their player number, and then hole number. Different teams have different patterns of play. I'm starting to sound like I know football," laughed Vanessa Stewart, a fourth-grade teacher.

"Holes are numbered odd on the right, even on the left," said Barb Passmore, mother of camper Holly Passmore, 9. Holly liked the trivia, such as Zeier's birthday, Sept. 6.

"We showed them no matter what you do, there's some relevance to numbers," Whisenhunt said. "In football, numbers is a part of what we do."

The campers thanked the Ravens by presenting a handmade banner each had autographed. Whisenhunt told them it would hang where every player could see it. His wife, Alice, gave Ravens logo bookmarks to every child.

Math camp, in its third year, is the brainchild of fourth-grade teacher Erica Guenther. Students who wish to reinforce math skills were given the opportunity to attend by their teacher.

Classes of 14 students or fewer, each with a teacher and assistant, meet each morning for innovative learning and daily half-hour of computer lab.

"I was never very good at math as a child," says Guenther. "At Western Maryland College, I learned new techniques. Now I'm excited at helping children with the same problems I had and seeing them become successful. The main point is to give a positive image about mathematics, that it's a fun, enjoyable thing."

A mural in Hampstead

A vision grew for Pat Bowersox of Westminster as she commuted to Hampstead every day. The side wall of Hampstead Big A Auto Parts, facing a small parking lot, seemed like an artist's canvas waiting for her talents.

"I thought it would look so neat with flowers, so bright and alive," she said. Bowersox knew how she would paint the wall: like a bedroom she'd painted at her home, featuring lime green lawns, blue skies and flowers. She took photos of the bedroom to show Doug Wheeler, store manager.

"I thought, hey, why not? And the owner of the building approved it," Wheeler said.

With a palette containing 5 gallons of white paint and quarts of red, blue and yellow, Bowersox mixed colors and covered the stucco exterior with sky, clouds and lime-green slopes. Then she added a field of flowers and trees here and there for a look akin to Grandma Moses.

"I just mix and play, nothing too serious," Bowersox said, who works for Long & Foster Realtors in Hampstead. At 51, she hasn't taken art classes, but knows what she likes. Her husband, Larry Bowersox, held the ladder as she reached the top of the wall 11 feet up. She estimates it took about 18 hours to paint the mural.

Students exhibit works

Artist Barbara Schnell of Hampstead is well-known as a teacher for children and adults.

Her home studio is a classroom for 26 students, the youngest age 9. Each student is taught in a classical manner, in a sequence advancing through drawing materials to painting. Their works are inspired by arrangements of found objects, people or other interesting subjects.

An exhibition by her students begins today at Hampstead Town Hall, 1032 Carroll St., to continue through October.

"Each student will choose to exhibit what they like the best," said Schnell.

Schnell and her students invite the public to meet the artists at the opening reception from 6 p.m. to 7: 30 p.m. Saturday at Town Hall.

Pub Date: 7/22/98

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