Statistics Students Work With Kindergartners
On a typical weekday morning, five students surround a table in a Moore County kindergarten classroom, counting.
However, recently some students' knees reached all the way up to the table top as they struggled to fit their teenage bodies underneath the small area designed for 5- and 6-year-olds.
No, these individuals did not fail kindergarten. They were AP Statistics students from Pinecrest High School, volunteering their time to educate young minds further in mathematics.
Over a course of two weeks in May, students from Jennifer Kearney's Advanced Placement Statistics class traveled to Southern Pines and Aberdeen primary schools, and Pinehurst, West End and Academy Heights elementary schools to lead kindergarten students in several activities teaching upper level math in a context understood by youth.
The activities were simple, yet engaging. One high school student was assigned to a group of four to five kindergarten students. Each student was given a bag of M&Ms to arrange and count by color.
The kindergartners were instructed to create a graph depicting the number of each color of M&Ms.
The graphs helped the students begin to understand the distribution of the number of M&Ms and where the median number fell, invaluable concepts they will need to use in higher level math classes.
Of course, after the lesson ended the students were free to eat their M&Ms!
Both kindergartners and AP Statistics students appeared to find the activity fun and educational.
The activities were concluded by lining up the students in the classroom by birth date. The children were told to sit down until the only student left standing was the kindergartner with the middle birthday.
This reiterated the concept of medians to the students in a real world example.
For some AP Statistics students, volunteering at the kindergarten classrooms was more than community service. A few students were able to return as alumni to the kindergarten classrooms from which they graduated.
Pinecrest math student Kathleen Boorman was enthused to volunteer at her old classroom at Southern Pines Primary School.
"It was great to go back to my kindergarten classroom," said Boorman, "I was excited to share my love of statistics with others."
The kindergarten activities were planned by AP Statistics teacher Jennifer Kearney. Kearney organized and transported volunteers and supplies to the classrooms.
The kindergarten program was sponsored by ADCUT cutting services located in Aberdeen. ADCUT made a donation of 500 packets of M&Ms to be used in conjunction with the project.
Kearney expressed her gratitude for the donation stating, "We couldn't have done it without ADCUT. The M&Ms were such a nice gift from an involved community business."
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