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Neff Outreach Fund Awardees

Announcing the 2024 Neff Outreach Funded Projects

  • Project Institution: Bishop State Community College
  • Project Director: Stacey T Shepperson
  • Project Summary: Math Circles provides enrichment activities provided by the Math Department of Bishop State Community College to the above-listed secondary schools of the MCPSS. The objective is to build a heightened interest and appreciation of mathematics and its applications. This project seeks to engage students over the academic year with participation in hands-on, real world activities in subjects such as Algebra, Geometry, Statistics and Finite Math. The Math Circles will culminate with a MaPP Challenge to be held at Bishop State Community College.
  • Project Institution: Chaminade University
  • Project Director: Lori Shimoda
  • Project Summary: The I Am A Scientist (IAS) program is a unique free STEM outreach program where professional scientists and university undergraduates teach science & math concepts and skills to students in their own school. Using innovative and career relevant hands-on activities, students experience success using math and data in an exciting and supporting environment outside their standard classroom curriculum. IAS collaborates with the Data Science, Analytics and Visualization Program at Chaminade University of Honolulu, the United Nations CIFAL Center Honolulu, Hawai‘i public schools, and many community organizations. IAS prioritize serving students in rural and underserved communities which include Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander populations on the neighbor islands and on Oahu where STEM resources are limited. IAS instructors are ethnically and economically diverse, and have unique educational and career pathways, allowing them to better connect with the communities they serve.
  • Project Institution: Colby College
  • Project Director: Scott Taylor
  • Project Summary: Sum Camp is a month-long summer day camp for public elementary school students in Waterville, Maine who are at academic risk. It uses music, theatre, visual art, and math games to help students develop a strong number sense and an alertness to the relevance and value of mathematics. Sum Camp: Multiply the Math is a new initiative to embed mathematics in every moment of the camp, focusing on the mathematical discussions happening during meal breaks and recess. The project will also implement daily concluding math activities that explicitly tie the math embedded in the arts activities and games to school mathematics.
  • Project Institution: Gateway Community Math Center
  • Project Director: Mary Garner
  • Project Summary: The Summer Day Camp in Mathematics at Osborne High School entitled "Weird Geometries" will provide high school students and perspective high school students with the opportunity to explore non-Euclidean Geometries including Taxicab, Spherical, Hyperbolic, and Fractal. The camp will be held Monday through Friday 9 AM to 4 PM at Osborne High School in Atlanta, Georgia. Lunch and snacks will be provided. Any student who wants to attend the camp will be accepted free of change, up to 24 participants. Emphasis will be on collaborative exploration of Euclidean principles and definitions on non-planar surfaces. In addition, connections to literature, gaming, and art will be exploited.
  • Project Institution: Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming
  • Project Director: Briana Rickman
  • Project Summary: Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming's innovative project, 'Math in Nature Meeting in a Minute,' aims to engage girls in grades K-5 in hands-on mathematics activities that integrate seamlessly with outdoor exploration. Through a series of badge-earning programs and interactive sessions, participants will discover the mathematical patterns inherent in the natural world, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for mathematics. Supported by positive feedback from participants and volunteer Troop Leaders, the project not only aims to improve mathematical literacy but also instill confidence and interest in STEM fields among girls, particularly those from underserved communities. By leveraging the organization's commitment to STEM programming and strategic partnerships, Math in Nature Meeting in a Minute promises to bridge the STEM workforce pipeline and empower the next generation of female mathematicians and scientists.
  • Project Institution: Hope College
  • Project Director: Gina Kling
  • Project Summary: Hope College Family Math Festivals: Building Positive Mathematical Dispositions for K-8 Students and their Caregivers - Research shows that early numeracy is a predictor for later success in both mathematics and literacy, and that negative attitudes towards mathematics held by parents impacts their children's mathematical success. Thus, positive mathematical experiences for both children and parents are essential for helping position children for mathematical achievement. The purpose of this project is for Hope College (located in Holland, Michigan) to provide two community Family Math Festivals for K-8 students in the Holland area, particularly the Holland City Schools District, which is a high-needs district. By providing a welcoming environment for families throughout the city to come together to engage in fun mathematical explorations, we hope to change the narrative on what it means to do mathematics. The family math festivals will feature 14 stations with engaging, hands-on, creative problem solving opportunities and mathematics games that will appeal to elementary and middle school students. The majority of these stations will utilize materials from the "Juila Robinson Math Festival in a Box."
  • Project Institution: Kansas State University
  • Project Director: David Auckly
  • Project Summary: The Navajo Nation Math Circles project is an outreach program for students and their teachers in the Navajo Nation. There are three components for students that for the basis of this Neff project. These are mathematical festivals, regular math circle sessions during the academic year, and a signature summer math camp for students in grades 6 -12. The camp includes two 90-minute math circle sessions per day where students collaborate to explore open-ended mathematical questions. It also includes cultural, physical, and social components as well as indigenous STEM role models.
  • Project Institution: Rockhurst University
  • Project Director: Zdeňka Guadarrama
  • Project Summary: Tiling for Change is a collaboration among three academic institutions in the in the Kansas City Metro: Rockhurst University, Academie Lafayette Elementary, and Resurrection Catholic School. We strive to create sustainable and integrative active learning by combining activities in mathematics and art that produce high levels of student engagement and cognitive stimulation. Students in grades 5th-8th will engage in mathematical tiling workshops in which they will learn about exciting recently discovered mathematics and using play and puzzles they will explore a variety of tiling concepts. After the mathematics workshops students will work with their art teachers on “people” and “hearts” tiles created from the basis of an octagon/square tiling pair, including in their artwork their reflections on their responsibilities as individuals in society and their ability to direct change. All the tiles produced by the different groups of students will come together as a collective window tapestry in a public exhibition at Rockhurst University also called “Tiling for Change” .
  • Project Institution: Sedgwick Public Schools, USD 439
  • Project Director: Rae Niles
  • Project Summary: The “Cardinal Crew” math project focuses on exposing students to "math in the wild.” Activities for students include experiential visits to local businesses, industry and natural environments to explore math concepts, as well as, opportunities to learn more about how math impacts their everyday lives. We are planning for experiential activities in areas of the four “Cardinal” directions of north, south, east and west and how those opportunities influence potential career pathways for students, too.
  • Project Institution: The Math Movement
  • Project Director: Axel Brandt
  • Project Summary: The Math Movement (TMM) is a nonprofit organization operating in Cleveland, Ohio that seeks to build community and expand educational opportunities for students navigating a separate and unequal K-12 education system. TMM's primary activity is operating a free, 4-week summer camp for middle and high school students in a university setting, prioritizing the participation of students attending public schools in under-resourced communities. Students engage with mathematics-specific curriculum that invites them to discover beauty in the world, with math being a primary example.
  • Project Institution: The University of Wisconsin - Platteville
  • Project Director: Jason Thrun
  • Project Summary: The UW-Platteville Mathematicum is a traveling math museum. While the Mathematicum has exhibits that appeal to elementary, middle, and high school students, the museum travels most often to the under-resourced, rural elementary and middle schools in southwest Wisconsin. Students (and parents) enjoy creating art on a giant Spirograph, experimenting with an elliptical pool table, or trying to solve supersized math puzzles. Some exhibits currently under construction are a lights-out toggle puzzle, a magnetic system of gears game, a binomial (Plinko) board, and two sets of tiles for aperiodic tiling. The current proposal requests funding to build new exhibits, especially those that appeal to middle school students.
  • Project Institution: West Virginia University
  • Project Director: Erin Goodykoontz
  • Project Summary: WV Math Game Days is a project designed for middle school students in rural areas of West Virginia. West Virginia University professors will visit these schools, engaging students and families in math games to enhance their understanding and proficiency in mathematics. The sessions include enjoyable game play along with discussions on mathematical strategies and logic. Each student participant will receive a set of the games played during the events, contributing to their ongoing math education.

 

Read About Previous Awardees

 

2023          2022

2023

  • Project Institution: Chaminade University of Honolulu
  • Project Director: Lori Shimoda
  • Project Summary: The I Am A Scientist (IAS) program is a unique free STEM outreach program where professional scientists and university undergraduates teach science & math concepts and skills to students in their own school. Using innovative and career relevant hands-on activities, students experience success using math and data in an exciting and supporting environment outside their standard classroom curriculum. Our project is a collaboration with the Data Science, Analytics and Visualization Program at Chaminade University of Honolulu, the United Nations CIFAL Center Honolulu, Hawai‘i public schools, and community organizations. We prioritize serving students in underserved communities on the neighbor islands and on Oahu where STEM resources are limited.
  • Project Institution: Kansas State University
  • Project Director: David Auckly
  • Project Summary: The Navajo Nation Math Circles project is an outreach program for students and their teachers in the Navajo Nation. There are three components for students that for the basis of this Neff project. These are mathematical festivals, regular math circle sessions during the academic year, and a signature summer math camp for students in grades 6 - 12. The camp includes two 90-minute math circle sessions per day where students collaborate to explore open-ended mathematical questions. It also includes cultural, physical, and social components as well as indigenous STEM role models.
  • Project Institution: Pace University
  • Project Director: Shamita Dutta Gupta
  • Project Summary: The American Mathematics Competitions (AMC) are a series of competitions in middle and high school mathematics and administered by the Mathematical Association of America. The aim is to strengthen the skills of the next generation of mathematicians, thinkers, and analysts using classroom resources that culminate in a friendly competition. Pace University will work with Pace High School to offer an after-school AMC training program which will help students develop proficiency for mathematics and analytical thinking beyond classroom mathematics. We will make deep dives into topics of mathematics, through multi-tiered problems. With this approach the students will make deeper connections between topics and start connecting the dots improving their skills enough to find the AMCs, though challenging, an enjoyable and satisfying endeavor. Thus, they will become lifelong learners of mathematics. The program will also be open to other area high schools.
  • Project Institution: West Virginia University
  • Project Director: Vicki Sealey
  • Project Summary: Our project works with middle school students in rural counties in West Virginia. We will host Math Game Days for middle schoolers and their parents/guardians, where we will spend the majority of our time playing math games with students. During and between games, the project team will interject with mini math lessons that are related to the games to help students build fluency and flexibility with numbers and operations. All middle school students and math teachers who attend the event will leave with their own copy of the games that were played, so that the fun and the learning can continue after the events end.

 

2022

  • Project Institution: University of Hawaii
  • Project Director: Monique Chyba
  • Project Summary: Our project builds upon existing collaborations with the department of Mathematics and the Center on Disability Studies at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa (UH), the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education (DOE) and selected Hawaiʻi's Middle Schools. Our focus is to work the Native Hawaiian student population both on Oahu and the neighbor islands. Inspired by the current Covid-19 pandemic, the project is to introduce middle school students to "Computational Modeling and Simulation of Epidemic Infectious Diseases". UH undergraduate students will work at the schools in collaboration with the teachers and students for a semester to prepare them for a State Math Challenge: “808 Math Island Style” to take place as a culmination of the work done during the academic year. The students will be introduced to a discrete version of the now well-known SEIR compartmental models, and existing online platforms to run disease spread simulations. Their knowledge will then be applied to data from the Covid-19 pandemic in the State of Hawaiʻi. This will provide them with computational and data sciences skills that are becoming critical for College degrees.
  • Project Institution: Arkansas School for Math, Sciences and the Arts
  • Project Director: Sara Brown
  • Project Summary: At Arkansas School for Math, Sciences, and the Arts, the goal of student development is to create a living-learning community that connects students beyond the classroom, assists in developing them as a whole person, and prepares these future leaders for successful and fulfilling lives through building sustainable skills and mindsets. ASMSA’s Outreach Department will create a path for middle school students across Arkansas to participate in the Math Olympiad program. The Math Olympiads program is one of the most influential and fun-filled math competition programs throughout the world. Connecting mathematics to every other discipline teaches creativity, flexibility, and practicality in problem-solving. It prepares future generations for college and career pathways.
  • Project Institution: Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming
  • Project Director: Shalese Gentry
  • Project Summary: For over a century, Girl Scouts have given girls the opportunity to unlock their full potential and make the world a better place. Even though girls continue to break down barriers, specifically within the STEM pipeline, there is still a huge gender disparity of women working in STEM professions. Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming is dedicated to providing countless opportunities for young girls to jump into STEM, specifically math, and explore their interests and passions with fun and challenging activities. Through Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming’s in-school and after-school programming, girls K-8th grade will experience the great outdoors while learning math concepts with their Math in Nature program. By combining these two concepts, girls will learn about symmetry, geometric shapes, fractals, the Fibonacci Sequence, the golden rectangle, and tessellations found in nature.
  • Project Institution: University of Kentucky Research Foundation
  • Project Director: Margaret Readdy and Richard Ehrenborg
  • Project Summary: The Kentucky Math Carnival is a one-day event for middle school students from Lexington, Kentucky and its six surrounding counties. Engaging hands-on activities supervised by University of Kentucky graduate students and faculty will introduce participants to new areas of mathematics outside the standard curriculum, as well as educational and career opportunities. A non-competitive and collaborative environment will be in place to encourage all participants, especially underrepresented groups. The overall goal is to boost the enthusiasm for mathematics at a stage when middle schoolers often disengage, and to provide outreach training and experience for graduate students.
  • Project Institution: Chaminade University
  • Project Director: Lori Shimoda
  • Project Summary: Chaminade University's I Am A Scientist (IAS) program is a unique STEAM outreach program where professional scientists and university science students teach science concepts and skills to students in their own school. The FREE mobile STEAM outreach program delivers a selection of engaging, hands-on science lessons, designed by Chaminade researchers. Drawing on the strengths of Chaminade’s STEM degrees and research, IAS promotes equity of access to quality science & math education; increases science & math literacy and awareness in Hawaii’s students; supports the science standards set by the Hawaii Department of Education; demonstrates the everyday relevance of science and math to students; and increases student awareness of STEAM education & career pathways.

 

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