Tuesday, August 1, 2017

YCCOSP 2017 Summer Reflection

The YCCOSP Program

For the past three years I have worked for York College of Pennsylvania as an adjunct professor and as a summer mathematics instructor for the York College Community Opportunity Scholarship Program.  The summer program is designed to help our students succeed in an accelerated curriculum and prepare them to enter college.  The program offers enrichment to students who apply to the program from William Penn Senior High School. The groups that are in the program are either entering their sophomore, junior or senior year of high school.  I work directly every morning and afternoon with the Rising Sophomores and Juniors teaching them more mathematics problem solving and critical thinking skills.  They also take a course on reading and writing to help develop those skills.  The Rising Seniors take an entry level writing college course and can earn course credit with successful completion of the class.

The program is designed to enrich and has no set curriculum so I have the freedom to design whatever I want for the students to create and learn.  Working at William Penn and knowing the curriculum we offer helps me in structuring the summer class for the students' success for the upcoming school year.  The program helps emphasize critical thinking skills and advancing SAT preparatory skills.  Students in the program are either going into Pre-Calculus their junior year or doubling up their sophomore year with Geometry and Algebra 2.  We worked this past summer on skills involving critical thinking, problem solving, polynomials, geometry basics, trigonometry and even some statistics.  The ten students were also broken into three teams that were tasked with a culminating project called "Design a Winner."

2017 Project: Designing a Winner

Each year the students showcase what they have learned and/or worked on, so this year I found a project online through Curriki using geometric skills to, "Design a Winner."  Students were tasked with building a multi-sports complex with set criteria.  The question  was designed as open ended and each team created a company name, then they had to start preliminary designs, proposals, 3-D models of the final design and showcase mathematical computations they used to help in their designs.  The beauty of the project was that it tied into what is going on in the community already. We begun by reading the YDR article "Rutter's cornfield could become sports complex."

Students also got a special treat because there is one of the largest sports complexes in the nation right down the road from York in Lancaster.  We bused the group down Route 30 to the Spooky Nook Sports Complex, where two experts lead us on a tour of the facility and gave us facts and figures to start the teams on their brainstorming creativity.  Students took to Instagram for a scavenger hunt on the tour and documented the trip with facts and pictures of the facility to use in their projects.  Students then took to using Sketchup to complete 3-D models of their projects.  (Educators can get the $600 program for free with proof of employment by a school district!)


With the program running for 5 weeks and only Monday-Thursday time was limited on the project.  What made things run more smoothly was dividing up the aspects of the project between the student writing class time and mathematics class time.  Students wrote proposals, created Powerpoints and designed pamphlets for advertising in the writing class. They then created their model, used mathematical ratios and proportions to scale their models and created a poster to show off their designs and calculations in math class.  All components were then put on display during the showcase finale.  Students were also tasked with writing and orally practicing their proposal so they could discuss and answer questions about their project with the staff and parents who came to view their work.  

Students working on their project.

The last week I was really worried about how the project would turn out because I felt like we had rushed everything to be done on time.  We did not get to use trigonometry to talk about angles in the complexes the students were creating nor did we complete more calculations that would have intensified the math, but the students were excited to use the Sketchup program and learn about new designing software.  The thing that also did not help was that I did not have time to approach and have the campuses IT download or purchase a subscription to Sketchup for the students, I took my own personal laptops, I had 2, for the students to use and one student brought his own and downloaded the free version of Sketchup Maker.  The designs that came from the students were pretty amazing, although the time did not permit tons of detail they did come up with some interesting beginnings of designs.  

Athletic Era and their Project Design

The students were innovative and worked diligently in and out of the classroom, some utilized the Google Document Apps features to collaborate on one pamphlet or slide show at all times, which I did not even have to suggest.  By the end of the program my fears of the students being unprepared quickly subsided by looking at the posters and listening to the students discuss their designs to various YCP faculty members and their parents.  The students had a great sense of what the project was all about, they had stunning posters, great rate changes and an even better understanding behind design.  One group thought so much about the culture of York that they wanted to create a complex in the formation of a rose, since we are the White Rose City.  

AGibso and their Project Design

Although I did not feel like we got through everything that could have been done with the project, the time that I had with my students was invaluable in re-fueling the fire that makes me want to teach.  The inquisitive creative teams that I worked with were fun and impressed me with the work they completed.  The students did such a great job this summer that I feel a sense of pride in their accomplishments, plus I feel rejuvenated and ready to take on my regular geometry classes again! 
Clock Work and their Project Design

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