March 17, 2010

SUPER-M sighting on Moloka‘i

March 6 marked the day SUPER-M became a household name on the island of Moloka‘i. How did this happen? Through Moloka‘i Math Day. The half-day event, co-organized by UH Mānoa’s School and University Partnership for Educational Renewal in Mathematics, otherwise known as SUPER-M, featured fun, hands-on activities designed to illustrate the importance of math.

The intent of the SUPER-M, a newly funded National Science Foundation Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education project, is to make high-level mathematical concepts accessible to K-12 students through partnerships between teachers and mathematics graduate students. Moloka‘i High School students participated as mentors, along with local teachers who volunteered their time.

Around 110 members from the Moloka‘i community packed the Mitchell Pauole Center in Kaunakakai for the opportunity to tinker with robots, make and play with paper airplanes, create and decipher codes, have fun with gears, play with a deck of cards to build their math skills, learn about polyhedrons and much more.

The event was co-organized by the Native Hawaiian Science & Engineering Mentorship program, and supported by UH Mānoa’s Student Equity, Excellence and Diversity office, the Society of Women Engineers, Moloka‘i High School, the City & County of Maui and MEO-Moloka‘i.

Led by UH Mānoa mathematics professor Monique Chyba, SUPER-M Fellows from the UH Mānoa mathematics department and Fellows from the UH Mānoa Native Hawaiian Science & Engineering Mentorship Program gather for a team photo before the day’s festivities kicked off.

Led by UH Mānoa mathematics professor Monique Chyba, SUPER-M Fellows from the UH Mānoa mathematics department and Fellows from the UH Mānoa Native Hawaiian Science & Engineering Mentorship Program gather for a team photo before the day’s festivities kicked off.

Top row from left to right: Alii Garcia, Robert Grimmett
3rd row from left to right: Kelsea Hosoda, Hye Jung Kim, Amber Imai, John Marriott, Shantel Hunt, Marisa Billington
2rd row from left to right:Jessica Agsalda, Austin Anderson, Nelson Fernandez, Jean Verrette, Michael Cummings
Front row: Tristan Holmes, Zachary Lee-Ho

Eager children test their math skills at the "Try your luck and play 21" station.  No money was won, but there was an ample supply of candy to go around to the winners.

Eager children test their math skills at the "Try your luck and play 21" station. No money was won, but there was an ample supply of candy to go around to the winners.

Several parents and children gather at the “Platonic Solids” station led by Fellow Zachary Lee-Ho from the UH Mānoa Native Hawaiian Science & Engineering Mentorship Program.

Several parents and children gather at the “Platonic Solids” station led by Fellow Zachary Lee-Ho from the UH Mānoa Native Hawaiian Science & Engineering Mentorship Program.

Native Hawaiian Science & Engineering Mentorship Program Fellow Nelson Fernandez engages and encourages two youngsters to put their skills to good use at the robotics station.

Native Hawaiian Science & Engineering Mentorship Program Fellow Nelson Fernandez engages and encourages two youngsters to put their skills to good use at the robotics station.

Under the guidance of Italian graduate student Luca Invernizzi, a young girl controls the remotely operated vehicle that she just built.

Under the guidance of Italian graduate student Luca Invernizzi, a young girl controls the remotely operated vehicle that she just built.

SUPER-M Fellow Austin Anderson and Native Hawaiian Science & Engineering Mentorship Program Fellow Amber Imai lead one of the various discover stations,“Airplanes and Brains.”

SUPER-M Fellow Austin Anderson and Native Hawaiian Science & Engineering Mentorship Program Fellow Amber Imai lead one of the various discover stations,“Airplanes and Brains.”

With such a great turnout, positive feedback and invitations from several parents to return to Moloka‘i, plans are already under way for collaboration between SUPER-M and a school on Moloka‘i, by partnering one of the SUPER-M Fellows with the school. Through this intense partnership, the teachers on Moloka‘i benefit from having the unique opportunity to focus on specific mathematics content and frame their teaching within a greater trajectory. The program leaves students with a renewed interest in mathematics and science, and leaves the teacher with new teaching resources.

To track the SUPER-M, see http://www.math.hawaii.edu/SUPERM/.

For more information about the Native Hawaiian Science & Engineering Mentorship Program, see http://nhsemp.eng.hawaii.edu/.

For more on UH Manoa, see http://manoa.hawaii.edu/.

November 13, 2009

It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s SUPER-Math!

By Diane Chang

To Professor Monique Chyba, math is a beautiful thing.  So much, in fact, that she has organized “An Afternoon of Beautiful Mathematics” events at the Campus Center for the past two years, to foster the interests and talents of math- and science-loving youth throughout the community.

Now she is the principal investigator of SUPER-M, which stands for School and University Partnerships for Educational Renewal in Mathematics. Funded in 2009 by the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate STEM Fellows in K-12 Education program, the $2.8 million grant allows Super-M Graduate Teaching Fellows from the UH Mānoa Department of Mathematics to work one-on-one with state Department of Education teachers in grades K-12.  The partnership’s goal:  to bring top-notch math expertise into the public schools, and make high-level math concepts accessible on all islands.

Super-M Fellow John Marriott regularly travels to Kaumana Elementary in Hilo, where he and pre-K to sixth-grade teachers collaboratively design innovative lessons.  John’s area specialty is control theory, a field of applied math that’s useful when delving into the world of autonomous robots.  Imagine—these Big Island youngsters are being exposed to sophisticated robotics and challenging problem-solving theory while still in elementary school!

Super-M Fellow Jean Verrette goes twice a week to Halau Lokahi, a public charter school on Waiakamilo Road where she, students and teachers engage in classroom math activities that are far from the norm.  For example, the kids are taught traditional navigational skills to provide motivation and enhance intuition while learning geometry and trigonometry.  Next semester, Jean will also facilitate student projects while utilizing computer programming, and parallel programming to explore math in marine science.

These Super-M Fellows are proving that teaching and learning math can be a beautiful thing.  To track the SUPER-M, visit http://www2.math.hawaii.edu/superm/.

From left, SUPER-M Fellows Austin Anderson, Marisa Billington, Jean Verrette, Hye Jung Kim, John Marriott and Tristan Holmes.

From left, SUPER-M Fellows Austin Anderson, Marisa Billington, Jean Verrette, Hye Jung Kim, John Marriott and Tristan Holmes.

Diane Chang, B.A. 1979, J.D. 2012, is director of communications for the UH Mānoa campus.  See http://manoa.hawaii.edu/.