Jefferson Somerset gifted class attends FSU math lab

Story Courtesy of Brenda Wirick

A small group Jefferson Somerset students from third grade through eighth grade spent Saturday, Feb. 2 involved in spectacular hands-on engaging math and science activities at Florida State University — yes, they did math on a Saturday.
Many thanks to Dr. Monica Hurdal at FSU Math Department for putting together all the activities. More than 15 students were able to learn about fractals, both digital and tangible, math in nature and the Fibonacci sequence, coding, symmetries and patterns, construct geometrical shapes from three-dimensional triangles, spin around on a see-saw while throwing a ball into a bucket, pull their own weight six feet into the air using a pulley and played lots of other games with FSU professors.
As an added activity, they were able to enter a math escape room, where they had to solve several puzzles to find clues that would ultimately lead to them exiting the room. What a way to bring math to life!
Students also participated in hands-on physics activities. Actual FSU students from the physics department showed them how to change the rate of a pendulum’s swing, demonstrated circuits and how they are designed for different uses, discussed how magnets interact with different materials, showed students how you can “see” sound waves using flames attached to a speaker, demonstrated a boat powered by fire, allowed students to generate hydropower while controlling the rate of flow and so much more. Then, they watched a planetarium show called What is Black Matter.
Students also experienced the Marine Lab, where they overcame their hesitation to let an ocean snail or hermit crab crawl on their arm. Throughout the halls were different challenge problems, posters about women in the fields of math and science and funny comics that showed the lighter side of these subjects.
The opportunity to see what the fields of math and science encompass was invaluable to Jefferson County’s young learners. This trip would not have been possible without the generous donation and sponsoring from Gladys Rowan-Watson and the Jefferson County Youth Council. Jefferson Somerset thanks everyone who made this possible.