Math camp organizers hope to foster student interest

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo David Vargas, 11, counts the number of items he placed in an egg carton as an example of how fractions work Wednesday at Marshall Middle School’s Kitten Math Camp.

Liliana Castillo

Clovis resident Carman Richard had trouble getting her daughter Joy Richard to read until she found a story that interested her.

Richard is hoping for the same thing to happen with her daughter and math at Marshall Middle School’s first Kitten Math Camp.

Beginning Monday, more than 40 students are spending two hours a day, five days a week for a month learning seventh grade math with three Marshall teachers.

“We want students to see the fun part of math,” Marshall Math Department Head Mary Ann Collings said.

Students in the program were nominated by their sixth grade teachers and took a placement exam.

The program is funded by a grant from the Clovis Municipal Schools Foundation and is intended to bridge the gap between sixth and seventh grade math.

Collings said the camp is focusing on real-world applications of math, hands on learning and students’ attitudes toward math.

The teachers gave the students a survey about how they feel about math the first day and will give them the same survey at the end of the camp.

“The camp is more to get them comfortable with math at the middle school level and with coming to school here,” Collings said.

Collings said the group in the camp has high functioning math skills and the first three days have gone well. Students rotate through three modules: Data and probability with Luis Campos, Algebra and problem solving with Dustie Gonzalez and fractions with Collings.

Richard said her daughter Joy, 12, has come home each day full of stories about the games and activities.

“And she’s telling me how you do this kind of problem and that kind of thing,” Richard said.

Richard said her daughter told her about one question on the survey that asks if the student would rather get a shot or do math homework. Joy hates getting shots, her mother said.

“She chose math homework,” Richard said. “I’m hoping she looks at math from a different perspective.”

Enrollment is down from the 54 that registered and Collings said she thinks more will show up next week when there are less activities going on.

The camp runs through July 1.