Thursday, March 10, 2012
Holly High gets technology grant
By SUE WATSON
Holly Springs High School students are stepping up a notch this semester in math. Ten students are taking calculus and learning how to make practical use of the knowledge with the aid of new scientific instruments.
Maya Miller-Vedam, who is in her second year at Holly Springs High School through the Mississippi Teacher Corps, said students will have a better chance of scoring well on college entrance exams and could receive college credit for AP calculus. New laboratory equipment came in in December and students are learning how to take scientific measurements for the duration of the semester.
The great thing about this technology equipment is that the school already has a good bit of science and math technology and this equipment will make science subjects, such as physics, understandable and relevant, Miller-Vedam said.
Students who study math are learning how to relate to abstract concepts, memorize theorems and recite statements regarding functions and numbers, but may not understand the real-world application of what they learn in a textbook, she said. It is the kind of knowledge students need to be able to go into higher fields.
“The point of the material is to be able to do things that are abstract,” she said.
For example, one piece of equipment is able to take measurements to determine the speed an object may travel. The math involves measuring both distance travelled and time lapsed.
New instruments will also help students to monitor temperatures with probes and measure light, oxygen and carbon dioxide levels as well as electric current.
Miller-Vedam said students who go to college will take physics and chemistry that goes along with their majors. The equipment will also create graphs that show what is being measured.
Sharicka Jones, a senior who is taking calculus, said she wants to be ready to go to Ole Miss. She has already been accepted into the school’s dental hygiene program. At Ole Miss she will take two years of study before going the next two years to dental school where she will study hygiene.
Miller-Vedam is from Vancouver, Canada. She received a bachelor of arts in math from Amherst College. She likes the South and the distinct culture of her students.
“I feel like teaching is an extraordinary challenging profession, and I wish people knew how hard and challenging it is,” she said. “I feel really lucky to learn about our students’ culture.
“In our nation as a whole, there is a lot of math phobia. I feel Holly Springs students do well at math, but have difficulty with language arts. A lot of schools in this area do not have calculus. It is standard in affluent cities and school districts. It definitely shows that Holly Springs is improving and rising to meet the world’s educational standards.
“Before deciding on this technology, I did get input from parents. They wanted their children to learn about science and the math behind money and finance.”
Miller-Vedam teaches calculus, trigonometry and algebra II.
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