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JCSU collaborates with CMS for Impact Extravaganza

Charlotte, N.C. / June 13, 2019- Johnson C. Smith University Associate professor of mathematics, Dr. Dawn McNair, in collaboration with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools held their annual impact day. This year the focus was on mathematics and technology. The 18-month joint effort, funded by the Belk Foundation, provides teachers at select CMS schools the tools to build 3D printers that catapult teaching methods in the classroom. Teachers and students gathered at the university’s New Science Center to display their 3D printers and the items they created.

 “We thought it would be neat to actually have teachers build these 3D printers and have students create the design in classrooms. Because we always teach them find the area, find the volume, here’s a cube. They don’t actually see how a cube is made”, said Hima Lalwni with CMS. “This is a great, great opportunity. We couldn’t do it in all the schools, but we are really happy that the schools that participated they have really benefited from it.” This year funding supports efforts at North Mecklenburg High School, Southwest Middle School, Bruns Avenue Elementary and West Charlotte High School. 

The response from teachers has been great. “One of my kids, a 5th grader, he built the Eiffel tower. It took him about a month to do it, but he was deliberate. So it teaches the kids a lot about having perseverance; kind of like when they make a mistake they continue to work at it,” said Ashlee Ford, Bruns Avenue Elementary teacher. Ford is one of the teachers who is getting a first-hand look at how the program is affecting students. According to her, learning gains in science at Bruns Avenue have been the highest in at least six years. “It gives them the ability to kind of print some things, do some things. Put some real world experience on some of these math projects we cover,” added Geoff Reckerd, Southwest Middle teacher.

The goal is for teachers to learn how to implement standard-based tasks, new ways to incorporate technology, and teach how math relates to various careers. “My hope is teachers will be empowered to do something different with regards to how we teach math,” said McNair. “I hope they walk away with some activities that they can do, a better understanding of how technology plays a role in that and just to inspire or peak the interests of their students in the sciences.”

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