Swansfield pupils use math to construct a city


April 12, 2000|By Heather Tepe | Heather Tepe,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

WHEN SWANSFIELD Elementary School Principal Earl Slacum entered the fifth-grade team area Friday to cut the ribbon on Geo City, he said he could envision the pupils as future architects, city planners, carpenters and electricians.

Geo City is a town built to scale from cardboard boxes, poster board, felt and construction paper by pupils as part of a math lesson designed to teach children real-world applications for geometry.

"It's a fantastic project," Slacum said. "What better way to learn about math than through practical applications?"

The pupils worked in teams to create sections of the city on plots the size of two pieces of poster board taped together.

Each neighborhood was required to have one major street running through its center. All major streets had to be 1 1/2 inches wide. Pupils had to calculate and label the acute and obtuse angles created at road intersections.

Parks were to be included in each design, measuring at least 40 square inches. Each park included a fountain or pool with the circumference and diameter of the water structure calculated and labeled.

Buildings in the city had to include at least three types of polygons. The pupils were told to give geometric names to each building and calculate its volume.

Jimmy Burlas, 10, worked with his team to build a neighborhood they called Geo Village. Their design included an airport, clothing store and fast-food restaurant.

Darius Fequiere worked with Kathleen Tran, Jordan McDonough and Brittany Dunbar to create a large shopping center they named Geo Mall.

Kaitlyn Walsh, Heather Johnson, Kara Swirdovich and Amber Lopez designed Geo Metric Avenue. Their neighborhood held an antiques shop, pet parlor and hotel. Kaitlyn said she enjoyed the project. "It's a great way to learn about geometry because it's fun and you learn a lot more than just by writing on work sheets," she said.

Teacher Anita Gallitano developed the curriculum last year when she was a Johns Hopkins intern at the school. This year, she worked with fifth-grade teacher Meshawn Kendrick and Don Morrison, another Johns Hopkins intern.

Slacum said 10 interns from the Johns Hopkins University School of Professional Studies in Business and Education are working with pupils at the school. He has hired three former interns -- Glenn Hays, Julie Todaro and Gallitano.

Slacum appreciates the intern program at his school because it reduces pupil-teacher ratios in the classroom and offers future educators the opportunity to learn from experienced teachers.

Gallitano worked on Wall Street for 15 years as a stock analyst and investment banker before joining the intern program at Johns Hopkins.

"I was a career changer," she said. "I always knew that I wanted to teach, and it got to the point where I was just ready to do it."

Upon completion of the 13-month intern program, Morrison will earn a master's degree in teaching from Johns Hopkins.

Information about the Johns Hopkins School of Professional Studies in Business and Education: 410-290-0747.

Celebrating Earth Day

Last week, pupils at Bryant Woods Elementary School presented an environmental awareness program in celebration of Earth Day on April 22.

Under the direction of resource teacher Leslie Weinberg, second-grade pupils performed in "An Earth Day Carol."

Based loosely on Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," the play follows Ebenezer Litterbug as he learns to reuse, reduce and recycle with the help of environmentally aware children and a few ghosts.

Michael Kavusak played the role of Ebenezer Litterbug. Vanjalic Tolbert was the narrator. Laurie McSweeney, Ariana Johnson and Hannah Leiberg played the ghosts of present, past and future.

Other cast members included Arielle Miller, Zachary Ayers, Kimberley Jean, Laura Pinto-Coelho and Jenna Boule.

The fifth-grade stage crew included Matthew Bright, Kevin O'Brien, Sean Anderson, Piotr Roman and Gabriel Colon.

After the play, parents, pupils and staff members were invited to play "Who Wants To Be An Energyaire?" Members of Bryant Woods' Energy Squad asked audience members for answers to questions relating to energy conservation at the school.

The Energy Squad works with pupils and staff to reduce energy usage at the school.

The Energy Squad comprises these fourth- and fifth-grade pupils: Bajah Johnson, Jordan Haskins, Max Schultz, Paul Wexler, Jared Laswell, Christine Schmidt, George Shammas and Deshon Scott-Hopwood.

Duckworth race

Glenelg High School played host to the Duckworth Scholarship Run on March 25. The one-mile fun run and 5K race raised $2,500 for a scholarship fund in honor of Steve Duckworth.

Duckworth was the Howard County Public School supervisor of physical education, an avid triathlete and member of the Howard County Striders. He died of an aneurysm in 1991.

Since 1992, the Striders and Princeton Sports have sponsored the event.

Last week, Clemens Crossing Elementary School was presented with a banner for having more participants in the event than any school in the county.

Don Disney, coordinator of physical education and athletics for Howard County schools and chairman of the event, said, "Steve Duckworth was a man that cared deeply about the environment and about children and physical fitness. He really impacted me, and I wanted to continue what he stood for and pass it on to help others. That's why we started the scholarship fund in his name."

The scholarship will be awarded to a Howard County graduating senior, planning to major in environmental science or physical education.

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