Los Alamos National Laboratory

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Middle school math camp works to build confidence in Pojoaque

Laboratory co-hosts online camp for over 70 students
July 8, 2020
Last year’s camp took place in person, but this year’s was all online.

Last year’s camp took place in person, but this year’s was all online.

The students have been engaged in the math activities and are developing a sense of what it means to have a growth mindset – to believe in one’s ability to learn and do math to high levels.- Monica Martinez-Archuleta

The Laboratory’s Math and Science Academy (MSA) co-hosted a four-week online summer camp June 8 through July 3, designed to support mathematics understanding for 74 Pojoaque Valley School District (PVSD) students who will be entering grades six to eight in the fall.

The free Mindset Math Summer Camp was designed to foster students’ appreciation for mathematics, to develop their problem-solving abilities, and to raise their awareness that they are capable of learning mathematics to high levels.

“The camp was also designed to provide a professional learning experience for teachers, so that they could develop alternative perspectives and practices in mathematics teaching and learning,” said Monica Martinez-Archuleta, one of the MSA organizers.

Students engaged in hands-on activities using materials provided to them in a math toolkit and facilitated by the camp teachers: five PVSD teachers and two Laboratory education specialists from the MSA.

As the camp went on, the district teachers took more responsibility for developing and leading sessions.

“The students have been engaged in the math activities and are developing a sense of what it means to have a growth mindset – to believe in one’s ability to learn and do math to high levels,” said Martinez-Archuleta. “Also, we all learned about some of the challenges to online learning, including computer technology and connectivity, teacher familiarity, and student engagement in a remote setting.”

The Math and Science Academy (MSA) is a comprehensive professional development program designed to support improvement of teaching and learning mathematics and science in school districts in Northern New Mexico.

Its two major initiatives currently are the Regional Partnership School (a collaboration between the Pojoaque Valley School District and its community, New Mexico Highlands University, and the MSA), and the Math Teacher Leader Network designed to facilitate and strengthen high quality mathematics teaching and learning in elementary and middle schools in Northern New Mexico.

Support for the Mindset Math Summer Camp came from Laboratory managing operator Triad, the LANL Foundation, the Santa Fe Community Foundation, and the Intel/Rio Rancho Community Foundation.