Learning About Math

By The Numbers  Upstream Learning has had another successful year of MathCounts for middle schoolers. Almost every Wednesday since September...

By The Numbers 

Upstream Learning has had another successful year of MathCounts for middle schoolers. Almost every Wednesday since September, the Math Club has met to engage in math-related activities, games, and problem-solving.  MathCounts is a national organization, with the goal to “provide engaging math programs to U.S. middle school students of all ability levels to build confidence and improve attitudes towards math and problem solving. Some students love math. Other students fear math. MathCounts is the place for both.” As a coach, I enjoy seeing students collaborate, think, and learn from each other new ways to solve problems. 

This year we held a “Math in the Real World/Career Day” for the first time. Three presenters came to share with students how they use math in their daily work. 

Ben Carlton, a power company lineman from CVEA, related how important math is in his field. To be a lineman, you must have solid math skills, because the study of electricity involves both basic and complicated mathematics. Trigonometry, algebra, and measurement are used every day to make safety decisions when working with electricity. 

Dave Abbott, a registered nurse from CRNA, talked about how important numbers are in assessing patient health -- from pulse, to blood pressure, to lab results. He also stressed the need to be competent in measurements, fractions, ratios, and decimals. Particularly when administering medications, one decimal place can mean the difference between life and death. 

Becky Schwanke, a small business owner, had students complete an exercise in which they thought through the costs of designing a product, and determined the profit that could be made. She also used her decade of experience as a Wildlife Biologist to show how scientists make decisions on the optimum size of caribou herds. Students learned how to read and interpret graphs to make the best decisions. Special thanks to Copper Valley Electric and Copper River Native Association for allowing their employees to take time from their work to come inspire the next generation. 

Several students won awards this year, and I would like to recognize them for their hard work and success. Zane Gerlach won the $100 grand prize for earning the most points throughout the year in our club competition. Zane completed more than 240 challenging math problems, participated in competitions, and wrote over sixty pages of math notes to win this award.  Jorgen Eggebroten won the “Great Attitude, Great Helper” award for always choosing to focus on the positive, and staying after club to help clean up. Chisana Korth was our “Most Improved Mathematician,” with her math scores quadrupling over the last year.   Cheyenne Fields won the “Determination to Understand” award, Caleb Grandlinard was the “Multiplying Menace,” and Ally Fields won an award for “Consistent Participation.” Congratulations to Madison Carlton for winning the Upstream Learning School competition, and to Kayla Abbott and Caden Schwanke for strong performances in the Chapter Invitational. Kayla Abbott won the Alaska Rural Chapter Invitational Competition, and sixth-grader Caden Schwanke was the Rural Chapter runner-up. Madison, Kayla, and Caden will be representing Upstream Learning and the 
Copper River School District at the State competition on March 25th. 

Special thanks for Coach Rebekah Sjoberg (my sister) from State College, PA, for the encouragement to start this program. Coach Sjoberg also invited our local students to join her nationally-competitive team this year for online practices. Several took advantage of this opportunity. Her rigorous practices and homework assignments were both challenging and fun! Thanks to James and Tricia Fields and the Hub of Alaska for donating ice cream and toppings for our end-of-season party. Thanks also to Mark Proch, Mary Hernandez, and Jen Counasse for their support in making this program happen.

NOTE: This press release  – along with accompanying photos of students and adults – was submitted by Sarah Abbott on behalf of the Copper River School District. Photos cover the period from October 28th, 2020 to March 3rd, 2021. 





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