MSIT’15 at UCA

The 8th annual MATHEMATICS, SCIENCE, & INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ACADEMY (MSIT) was conducted during the week of July 13-17, 2015 on the University of Central Arkansas campus. The Department of Mathematics, Department of Computer Science and the STEM INSTITUTE at UCA sponsored the event. This one-week program is designed for promising 9th, 10th, and 11th grade students in central Arkansas. This year eleven students attended the program. The main objective of the program is to stimulate and enhance interest in mathematics and its applications to computer science.

This year’s activity, Web-designing, was taught by Dr. Mark Smith, a senior lecturer in the Department of Computer Science. Brandon Ashley, a graduate student in MS Applied Mathematics provided support to Dr. Smith as well as to the students. The participants learned the most popular Web technologies and services used in building an e-commerce website. Web technologies such as HTML 5, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), Javascript, PHP, along with web services provided from Google and PayPal enabled students with all the tools necessary to build a complete and functional e-commerce website. Students utilized web development tools while creating their own Blog. The activity was conducted in a hands-on computer laboratory setting provided and maintained by the UCA Computer Science Department. Students used Microsoft Visual Studio Professional when developing a multimedia website that integrated images, audio, video, and animations. Students fully implemented and tested their website using Visual Studio before publishing it to a free web-hosting site that supports PHP.

The lunch time activities during the week included a visit to the UCA Planetarium, chemistry lab and a presentation on mathematics and science programs at UCA.  For more information about the future programs, please contact Dr. Ramesh Garimella at 510-450-3147 or e-mail rameshg@uca.ed.

 

 

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Summer 2015 PD Workshop: Blending Mathematics and Science

Blending Mathematics and Science was the focus of a two-week workshop for middle grades teachers held on the UCA campus during the summer of 2015. The workshop, sponsored by the UCA STEM Institute, was led by Dr. Charles Watson, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Mr. Jerry Mimms, Lecturer of Biology. All the activities for the workshop were based on the Common Core State Standards for mathematics and the new science standards as adopted by the Arkansas Department of Education earlier this spring.

This workshop was based on Math 4314, which is a capstone course for middle grades teachers and engages students in a variety of hands-on learning activities that are based on mathematics content with underpinnings from the physical and biological science or science content with a strong mathematics base.

For the culminating activity the class made “home-made” ice cream but not before it calculated the amount of heat that had to be removed from the “mix” before its temperature was lowered to 0o C and then changed state from a liquid to a solid.

Participants will be expected to incorporate activities from the class in lessons during the fall semester. Dr. Watson and Mr. Mimms will be visiting these teachers in their classrooms during the fall semester.

Middle grades teachers interested in participating in a similar workshop in the summer 2016 should contact Dr. Uma Garimella, Director, UCA STEM Institute at 501-450-5663 or ugarimel@uca.edu

 

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Summer 2015 Algebra Workshops at UCA

During the month of June, Dr. Clarence Burg, Associate Professor of Mathematics,  taught three tracks in a summer Algebra camp for students planning to take Pre-Algebra, Algebra I or Algebra II during the upcoming academic year.  He also taught the Algebra II class for Upward Bound for the 8th year.  Meeting for fifty minutes each day, the students reviewed certain arithmetic and algebraic skills needed for success in their upcoming Algebra class.  The students also gained experience and confidence with some of the key concepts such as solving linear equations and inequalities, graphing lines, factoring quadratic equations and determining the equation of a line between two points.  As in past years, Dr. Burg administered a pre- and post-assessment test to each class.  The average gain on the assessment test was between 40 and 50% for these four classes.  Dr. Burg plans to offer similar classes next summer and hopes to expand the program to include other subjects and instructors.  For more information, please contact clarenceb@uca.edu or call 501-450-3147.

 

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2015 Summer Computer Coding @ UCA for Middle and High School Students

The Department of Mathematics at UCA in co-operation with the Department of Computer Science and the STEM Institute offered the first summer camp in Computer Coding.  Thirteen middle and high school students in central Arkansas took part in the camp, which was held on the UCA campus  during the  weekdays from June 9 to July 3, 2015from 12:00 to 12:50.

The lead instructor for the camp was Mr. Sudheer Kavi, a Senior Solutions Developer at Acxiom and an adjunct professor of Computer Science at UCA.  Mr. Brandon Ashley, a   graduate student in applied mathematics, provided technical support to participants during the sessions.

During this camp, Mr. Kavi laid out a perfect platform for students to build computer programs by using Scratch Software (created by MIT) as a starting point. Students learned basic computer coding concepts including control structures, decision making, and repetition using loops.

Several hands-on labs in the class helped students to understand the concepts better. Also, they learned the best practices for naming conventions for variables, blocks and projects. During the last week, they participated in a team project, where they learned about teamwork, co-ordination and planning. For information on the future computer coding programs, please contact Dr. Ramesh Garimella at 501-450-3147 or rameshg@uca.edu .

 

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