Freshmen + fourth-graders tackle the perils of math
Last summer, Pamela Leonard asked her daughter what she planned to do for her service project required by the Greensburg Salem School District.
“I told her she had to pick a way to be involved in the community,” said Leonard, a fourth-grade teacher at Metzgar Elementary School in Salem Township.
Grace Leonard, 15, thought about it and came up with the idea of freshmen teaching math to fourth-graders at Metzgar.
“She has a penchant for math, so it took over from there,” her mother said.
Grace Leonard and other freshmen, all girls, took turns teaching 15 fourth-graders. They met after school every other week from November through March as part of the Metzgar Math Club.
District officials promote a program that encourages service, scholarship, leadership and character in its student body.
“That's the district mission and what we try to aim for as an entire school district, a goal for each student,” Grace said.
She and her friends taught lessons from the book, “Perfectly Perilous Math,” then held labs with the students.
“We'd let them solve it, or helped them along the way,” Grace said.
“We had an open enrollment,” her mother said of how the fourth-graders were selected. “It was sort of first-come, first-served.”
In one lesson, students watched a key that dangled from a string and witnessed how a change in the string's length affected the number of times the key would swing back and forth.
Another time, students counted the sequences of scales on pineapples.
Leonard and freshman Emma Cribbs attended most of the classes.
“I thought it was very beneficial to the younger kids,” Emma said. “It helped them to learn and better understand the materials.”
The freshmen got the chance to serve as good role models for the younger students, Pam Leonard said.
Grace said her classmates enjoyed the time they spent with the fourth-graders.
“They liked working with the younger children,” she said. “They enjoyed how the younger kids reacted working with us.”
Cribbs, who wants to be a teacher one day, explained the classes gave her a chance to see what it would be like standing in front of students.
Fourth-grader Melina Vandenberg said she and her fellow students loved the after-school classes.
“I think it was fun and educational,” she said. “With all the help we got, everyone enjoyed it and came together as a group to think of the answers.”
At the same time, the freshmen learned how to work as a team, Pam Leonard said.
She expects to hold the after-school program next year, this time with boys taking part as mentors. “It was a good pilot year,” the teacher said.
Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.