Summer program offers teachers math lessons

By Linda Breazeale
MSU Ag Communications

Students who struggle with math rarely consider it interesting or fun, but 30 Mississippi teachers spent 80 hours of intensive training in June learning how to change those

students’ attitudes.
IMPACT2, or In-depth Mathematical Practices and Content Teacher Training, is a professional development opportunity for teachers to meet the requirements for their “highly qualified” certification in mathematics.
IMPACT2 project director Re-C Carter and curriculum specialist Sonya Smith, who are with the Mississippi State University Extension Center for Technology Outreach, organized the summer institute to assist middle school teachers in the implementation of Common Core State Standards for mathematics.
“The goals of the program are to increase teachers’ mathematical knowledge while building professional learning communities,” Carter said. “We also wanted to improve instructional practices to increase student achievement and to provide teachers with opportunities to gain professional growth.”
The two-week IMPACT2 summer institute launched the 11-month-long program. The keynote presenter, Marilyn Zecher of the Multisensory Training Institute in Maryland, taught participants about common math disabilities, the use of hands-on manipulatives in the classroom, the differences between conceptual and procedural mathematics knowledge, and the importance of proper mathematical vocabulary.
Smith said IMPACT2 featured experts from NASA and the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory. Also included were various Mississippi master teachers, who offered additional hands-on instructional strategies.
“The 30 educators in this year’s IMPACT2 program experienced a unique opportunity for professional growth and networking with peers,” Smith said. “IMPACT2 empowers teachers to inspire their students to think outside the box.”
Annette Bush from Trent Lott Academy in Pascagoula described the program as an opportunity to better equip herself and her students. With just one year of teaching experience, she said the hands-on lessons will be easy to teach and easy for the students to learn.
“The concepts were not tricks. They were concrete lesson plans that will promote understanding,” Bush said. “For example, we used cubes that students can manipulate to learn how to multiply or divide with multiple digit numbers.”
IMPACT2 is funded by the Mississippi Department of Education through a Math and Science Partnership grant provided by the U.S. Department of Education and supported by the MSU Extension Center for Technology Outreach.
For more information on IMPACT2 or other teacher training opportunities from the MSU Extension Center for Technology Outreach, contact Carter at 662-325-1685 or rcarter@ext.msstate.edu, or Smith at 662-325-5009 or sonyas@ext.msstate.edu.

Annette Bush, a fifth-grade teacher at Trent Lott Academy in Pascagoula, discovers the mathematics behind the square-wheeled car by designing one for her classroom on June 24, 2014, during a two-week In-depth Mathematical Practices and Content Teacher Training at Mississippi State University. Bill White, an eighth-grade teacher at Nanih Waiya Attendance Center near Louisville, was one of five mentor teachers for IMPACT2. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kevin Hudson)

Annette Bush, a fifth-grade teacher at Trent Lott Academy in Pascagoula, discovers the mathematics behind the square-wheeled car by designing one for her classroom on June 24, 2014, during a two-week In-depth Mathematical Practices and Content Teacher Training at Mississippi State University. Bill White, an eighth-grade teacher at Nanih Waiya Attendance Center near Louisville, was one of five mentor teachers for IMPACT2. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kevin Hudson)