Students from Kodiak and seven rural schools gathered in Port Lions for a four-day intensive 'Math Academy' workshop. Activities were varied; on Thursday eight teams built cars propelled by mousetrap springs.
Jacob Resneck/KMXT photo
week was a rare opportunity for students from Kodiak's rural schools to
assemble in one place. No roads connect these isolated schools though many of
the students already know each other as classrooms are linked by video
teleconferencr. But this week gave them a chance to work together face-to-face
as part of a four-day intensive session in Port Lions. KMXT's Jacob Resneck
visited and filed this report.
(math academy pkg) 5:30 "More than fifty ... In Port Lions, I'm
fifty students are gathered in the Port Lions school gym. They've been broken
into teams. Their task: build a pair of wooden cars powered by the spring of a
household mousetrap. Coordinating the project today is Father Joshua Resnick
from St. Innocent's Academy. In his morning pep talk, he tells students the
task won't be easy.
has a budget they'll have to adhere to. They'll need every penny as supplies don't come cheap: yarn sells for
$5.94 a foot; a dab of grease is $7.23. The numbers aren't round for a reason,
this year's theme is mathematics and students will have to keep an exact tally
when buying from Michael Mears, who also works at St. Innocent's Academy.
sorting out the arithmetic the eight teams get to work drawing up designs,
purchasing supplies and starting work on their cars.
I check in
with Raissa Boskofsky, a sophomore from Port Lions whose team is one of the
first to complete designs for their two cars.
amb - sawing
Then I ask
Tamara Swenson, a senior from Old
Harbor, why she's sawing
their mousetrap in half.
students in each team are from different villages but there's little apparent
awkwardness between pupils. For the past several years they've become
acquainted with each other via classes linked by teleconference. It's Anthony
Dao's first year in Ouzinkie from where he teaches math and science via video
conference across Kodiak Island. The students
are used to interacting electronically, he says, but seem to relish this
opportunity to meet in person.
Johnson is the principal of the rural schools. He says this week is part of an
effort to get students from different villages thinking of themselves as a
unified student body.
confabs are funded by an ANSWER grant which Johnson said has provided the
district with roughly $650,000 per year for the past three years. He says this
week's session is expensive. Bringing together more than fifty students can cost
as much as $10,000 and his office is investigating ways to keep these types of
initiatives running after the grant expires.
gymnasium floor, already there's some pre-competition bravado.
enough rubber bands
classical music piped over the PA, the students go into the final push to ready
their cars. Resnick confides to me what the winning teams will win something
that so far has been a closely guarded secret.
competition unfolds with some successes...
throw it away
53 students board small planes and return to their villages. They'll all be seeing
each other Monday but for many it will be through a video screen.
Lions, I'm Jacob Resneck.