By Matt Frankenbery, Director of Education & Executive Editor
Here’s a stumper for you – What do Utah, mathematics, and creativity have in
common? Well, as I summarize this issue of The Pitsco Network, I hope you’ll see the
connections among these seemingly unrelated dots.
If you are one of the many Career and Technical Education educators facilitating
a Pitsco lab, you will be inspired by the articles focusing on the endeavors of the
Washington County, Utah, school district. This district has utilized Module labs from
Pitsco for the past five years, and in this issue they have shared several of their “insider”
ideas with us, so we can share them with you.
One can’t-miss article from Washington County is the “Math-in-CTE” Q&A with
the district’s CTE Director, Dave Gardner. Mr. Gardner explains how his district’s
utilization of Pitsco Modules has led to improved state test scores in math, science,
and language arts.
That article transitions us to the mathematics-focused articles in
this issue. Pitsco has offered schools a Module-based core math program since 2007,
but in this issue we detail the upcoming release of a Cloud-based math program that
does not include Modules. For details on this hands-on math program that is available
anytime/anywhere, refer to this article.
So, how does that get us to creativity? We have seen examples across the country of
how our hands-on math programs for middle school and Algebra I are helping students
succeed in math, even when they had all but given up on understanding the abstract
nature of the subject. If you asked the typical middle school student if math class
provided them creative outlets and opportunities, what would they say? Within their
response, I suspect an overwhelming majority would describe math class as a stand-and-deliver
experience, where the class period ends by working 15 to 30 problems from a
book. Would they describe this as creative? Sadly, I doubt it.
When we embarked on the development of our hands-on math programs, we wanted
to offer a nontraditional instructional experience that would awaken students to the
wonderful opportunities presented via the world of mathematics. The goal of providing
students with creative outlets to experience mathematics has been validated by the
teachers in our programs and the test scores of students experiencing our solutions.
Two of the Curriculum Specialists who worked closely on the development of our
math curriculum, David Meador and Megan Rohner, share their thoughts on creativity in
education in "We must foster creativity" and "Creativity in the classroom."
How’d I do? Can Utah, mathematics, and creativity be related?
As you head into summer, please accept our gratitude for the inspiration and
modeling you provide on a daily basis. Never underestimate the impact you bring to
each and every student!