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UTEP students and future high school teachers get ahead

A MaST mentor experiments with centrifugal force, which is used in rides like the Round Up
A MaST mentor experiments with centrifugal force, which is used in rides like the Round Up
Courtesy UTEP

Eleven math and science majors at The University of Texas at El Paso are getting some practice in teaching, as they participate in the Accelerate to 2014 summer outreach program at Canutillo High School.

On Friday, June 18, the UTEP 11 took the Canutillo freshman to Western Playland in Sunland Park, N.M., to learn about the laws and properties of physics by riding attractions such as the El Bandito rollercoaster and The Paratrooper.

“What makes (math and science) so fun, is the interactivity,” said Daniel Rivera, a senior math major and scholar with the MaST Academy. “We showed them how the rides worked in the world of science, and gave them a chance to experience it hands on.”

The outreach program, which ended June 25, included stops around the County of El Paso such as Hueco Tanks State Park and the El Paso Museum of History.

“(Hueco Tanks) was especially fun (for the students),” said senior Wylly (cq) Garcia, also a math major and academy scholar. “Most of them had never been there. They were surprised that something like that even existed in El Paso.”

The 11 MaST scholars were separated into groups of two or three and asked to develop a curriculum for ninth-grade students that involved certain math and science aspects. The results included demonstrations in centrifugal force and making water in makeshift miniature greenhouses.

“The purpose of the MaST Academy is to enhance the scope and quality of secondary mathematics and science teachers who graduate from UTEP to serve students in schools across the El Paso region,” said Ellen Esposito, assistant director of geological sciences at the University. “Accelerate to 2014 is an intensive program that gives each scholar experience in the classroom, which allows them opportunities they often do not have in our undergraduate program.”

Scholars Garcia and Rivera said they appreciated the opportunity to share the kind of hands-on math and science instruction that they did not get in high school.

“I don’t remember my high school being this interactive. It really is the key (to a better education),” said Rivera. “I’ve had some kids come up to me and tell me that they’ve learned more about science and math in days (at the outreach program), as compared to weeks or months in school.”

Principal funding for the MaST Academy comes from Automatic Data Processing (ADP). Terry McGreeham, ADP vice president, serves on the University’s College of Science advisory board.


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