Summer of Kainotomia, part two

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

Previous coverage: Summer of Kainotomia, part one

HAMLET — Xavier Robinson hates school.

The incoming fifth-grader at L.J. Bell Elementary School is outgoing, energetic — and certain that he doesn’t like school. But the young man sure does love math camp.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Aaron Smith, a Washington Street School fifth-grader, talks about his computer project.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Aaron Smith, a Washington Street School fifth-grader, talks about his computer project.

“Computer!” Xavier exclaims as a primary highlight before dashing off, leaving the ordinary bench for an extraordinary adventure in front of a computer screen.

Xavier was one of some two dozen students participating in the Summer of Kainotomia, part two, the past two weeks at the Richmond County Ninth Grade Academy in Hamlet. Each Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., students learned how to use all sorts of fancy computer programs and 3-D printing machines. It was pretty cool stuff. They made jet fighters and rings and space ships and plenty more.

Who knew they were doing math? Shhhh — it’s a secret.

Instructors Jeff Epps and Chad Osborne, along with Richmond County Schools Summer Enrichment Program coordinator Kelly DeLong, have devised a way that incoming third- through sixth-graders can freshen up their math skills before the start of the new school year and not even know it.

The program is about enrichment, Osborne said. It’s also about flexibility. The instructors said they noticed most of the kids ran straight for the computers each time they were put on break and played Roblox, a massive multiplayer online (MMO) open source game. So Osborne and Epps decided to make it a math lesson. The characters were polygons, Epps said. With a CAD-like software program, it’s easy enough to build a character. That’s what the students did. Then they scanned in their facial images and added it to their newly created characters.

Epps described it as the students’ “capstone projects.”

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Tyler Michael, left, and Kaelob Ewing work at math camp Thursday at Richmond County Ninth Grade Academy.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Tyler Michael, left, and Kaelob Ewing work at math camp Thursday at Richmond County Ninth Grade Academy.

The camp is about taking math and making it more than — well, math.

“It’s making repetition fun,” Osborne said, and practice makes perfect.

In this camp, perfection is not expected. In fact, failure is encouraged.

“It’s okay for them to fail,” Osborne said. “There’s not a real strict timeline” to finish a project.

Instead, the idea is to lure kids into becoming interested in state-of-the-art technologies to the point where they might turn it into a career.

Tyler Michael, an incoming sixth grade student at Rohanen Middle School, works with Kaelob Ewing, a sixth-grader at Ellerbe Middle School, to scan a three-dimensional subject — in this instance, a news reporter sitting on a stool, notepad in back pocket and camera slung over a shoulder. After Kaelob walks around for a complete 360-degree scan, the two upload the series of images onto a computer. From there, they can create … well, a number of possibilities.

On Thursday, they didn’t print out a 3-D version of their subject. They did, however, begin to understand that sometimes it’s easier — and more cost-effective in terms of time and money — to replicate items in a digital forum rather than by hand.

Epps and Osborne were able to acquire the equipment through a donation from 3D Systems in Rock Hill, S.C. Epps said he was able to persuade them that he could show how the company’s software could be used to teach Common Core math.

Filed in: Business, Education, Featured News, Latest Headlines, News

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