Foresthill High School has reached the end of the 20/2021 school year, which was likely one of the most stressful years any student, teacher or administrator has ever endured. It was a year of adjustments, creativity and lots of reassurance that children and teachers alike would continue to thrive under the current COVID-19 restrictions.
Under these bizarre circumstances…it was an honor recently to join Mr. Scott Barry (en-masque) in his Pre-Calculus class for a 4th time over the past many years as an invited guest lecturer. As a local business professional and a Mom, I am thrilled when I am given any opportunity to stand before young adults and hope that what I have to say might spark an interest.
I knew it might take some extra “sugar” to buy my way into their hearts and grab their attention. So…with a full bag of Dollar General candy and a few fun giveaway gifts…I joined Mr. Barry for to present my own “nerdy” passion about math.
It was an enjoyable opportunity to remind the high schoolers….that what Mr. Barry is teaching them daily is more than formulas, areas under a bell-curve and passing mandated tests….it is the foundation of their lives. Just like Nike has successfully used the “Just Do It” slogan…I urged them to “Do the Math” in all aspects of their lives.
One young man was asked if he thought math – had anything to do with his desired career in woodworking. Though he seemed doubtful – I reminded him that he will have raw material costs, his time, administrative/marketing costs to sell his wares. He may have to pay someone to design a website, pay a bookkeeper, and wouldn’t it be important to know his ROI (Return on Investment) to know how to price his product and artistry? I could see his wood-wheels turning, then we threw him a bag o’ candy.
Another young man said he wanted to be a dentist…he too looked doubtful that math may be a big component in his profession. He was reminded that staff has costs, his building has overhead costs, payroll, dental supplies, etc. “Yes” I declared….dentistry needs math, then logically we threw him a bag of tooth-rotting candy!
I also used the classrooms’ “fancy” tech board to show a real-life example of a math problem that I myself had to answer while on the phone with a “friend”. A problem that in fact, needed some moderate algebra and solving for “X” to answer the question. As the kids helped me reconstruct the solution using math, Mr. B threw out bags of attention grabbing candy.
Foresthill High School, by way of Mr. Barry’s teaching, convinces students that passion for math is a building block for their careers and lives. From budgeting for living expenses, pricing a product, meeting payroll or calculating a future retirement…every student needs to hear “DO THE MATH” mantra. High five Mr. Barry…thanks for the invitation, next time I will bring toothbrushes with the candy.