My name is Kate Miller. I am a Junior at Manhasset High School, and I have just completed my Girl Scout Gold Award. I have been a part of Girl Scouts since kindergarten, and was thrilled to have the opportunity to serve the community through a project of my own creation.
My passion for math led me to create math enrichment lessons which I taught to elementary school students at Adventures in Learning. My goal was to inspire younger students to love math as much as I do, or, at the very least, show them that everyone has the ability to be good at math.
I created a curriculum which consisted of hour-long lessons that included short instruction, followed by games and activities, to apply the concepts being taught or reviewed. I began with a survey which asked simple questions about the kids’ math abilities and their attitudes toward math. This was followed by a multiplication and division review, in order to strengthen the students’ abilities and build their confidence with a topic they had already learned. The next lesson was prime numbers. The concept was explained, then we played a card game as a group to teach the students to recognize prime numbers. Students each flipped over a card, then one at a time went around the circle and identified which numbers were prime.
The remaining sessions were meant to provide an introduction to computer programming concepts using pen and paper techniques. I have an equal passion for programming, and I hoped that these lessons would encourage the kids to work hard at the programming lessons they do in school, as well as to give them a greater understanding of how programming works. Using arrows and four-by-four grids that I drew on the whiteboard, the kids wrote short “algorithms” to color the grid in a designated pattern. We used left, right, up, down, and color-in symbols. Additionally, I explained loops and incorporated them into our list of symbols in the later lessons.
Finally, at the last lesson, I had the kids do a survey with similar questions as the pre-instruction survey. The results were fantastic. Almost all of the kids said that they felt more confident in math, and that they thought math was fun. Every time I went to Adventures in Learning, I had so much fun spending time with and building relationships with the kids. If I was able to inspire or give a little more confidence to even just one of them, then I’d consider my project a success. I am extremely grateful to have had this opportunity.