Each week from October to May of this past school year, I sent out open-ended questions for students in grades 3 through 6. My idea was to have a companion project High School Math Mentors, where high school students would respond to the elementary student's solution, praising, offering advice, asking for clearer explanations, etc.
The Elementary Problem of the Week was greatly received. The problem was that I couldn't get commitments from other high schools, and so my students ended up doing the majority of the work and in the end, I did most of it because I really couldn't expect my students to, although some volunteered their time and stuck with it to the end.
A Possible Solution Instead of having a High School Math Mentors group, I would like to change it to "Visiting Math Mentors" who would receive special recognition. Each school/person would only have to commit to one week, although if they could do more weeks, not necessarily consecutively, it would be greatly appreciated (with more possible perks - see below).
Who Falls into the Visiting Math Mentor Category? Some possibilities are: classes of high school students; middle school students (grades 7-9); pre-service teachers; retirees who love problem solving and interacting with young children; college students; teachers; college professors; and anyone else with a love of problem solving and a willingness to share it with elementary students.
Responsibilities During the week that you or your students are the designated Visiting Math Mentor, I will forward you all the responses from that week. You'll reply to the students, and usually, by the end of the week after the problem is due, you will e-mail me a list of students who haved solved the problem correctly, and a list of a few interesting solutions to put into the Highlighted Solutions section. Again, if you look on the Elementary Problem of the Week web page, you'll have a better idea of what I'm talking about. I will then send them to Eric Sasson at the Math Forum, who maintains the page.
What's In it For You/Possible Perks and Rewards Steve Weimar, Program Administrator of the Math Forum has suggested that people who make a significant contribution to the project (mentoring for a week(s), sending several problems that we could use, etc.), would be able to use the services of the Forum staff. For instance, if you need help with something you're doing on the web, they would be available to help you. We're thinking of issuing "credits" that you could accumulate and exchange for a certain number of "help hours."
We also want to make sure that the "Visiting Math Mentors" get special recognition on the web.
How do I sign up? Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org Let me know which week or weeks would be best for you. If you have any possible problems to use, you can e-mail them to me also.
Please let me know to what extent you'd like to be involved. Thanks, Ruth
****************************************** Ruth Carver email@example.com Germantown Academy P.O. Box 287 Fort Washington, PA 19034