Photo by Heather Middleton
By Curt Yeomans
On Wednesday evening, the "weather" at Rex Mill Middle School was "states of matter, with a chance of 2+2= 4."
Approximately 600 students and parents, and another 100 teachers and school staff members, gathered at the school for its Fourth Annual "Math and Science Blizzard."
During the event, parents and students went from classroom to classroom, participating in activities, such as "Making a Flower," "Ice Cream-ology," "Are You Smarter than an 8th Grader?" and "Eskimo Casino."
"Welcome to the Fourth Annual Rex Mill Middle School Math and Science Blizzard," said Principal Cassandra Hopkins, to parents and students, during an introductory pep rally. "Tonight, you have an opportunity to see just how much fun math and science can be."
While activities created for the annual event are based on Georgia Performance Standards for education, the main focus of the Math and Science Blizzard is to expose students to both math and science in an interactive environment, said Rex Mill Assistant Principal Brenda Ross, who coordinated the first three blizzards, when she was the school's instructional math coach.
Rex Mill has been a math and science theme school for much of its four-year existence.
"It's just a way to get people excited about math and science," Ross said. "Math, in particular, is not a subject that a lot of people look forward to, because a lot of people don't like math. It's not their strongest subject."
The school's new instructional math coach, and blizzard coordinator, Andrea Wright, said the teachers at the school are responsible for the activities that were conducted at the blizzard. "Our teachers started brainstorming back in November, to come up with ideas for this event," she said.
Those activities included teaching people how to make ice cream in only a few minutes; making flowers out of tissue paper, craft beads, construction paper and pipe cleaners; trying to find a way to make a set of four numbers add up to 24 in "Eskimo Casino;" learning how to make paper animals using origami; and participating in a scavenger hunt.
"We came last year, and we loved it," said Sandra Hill, the mother of seventh-grader, Alexandria Lloyd. "As a parent, I get to see what the children are learning in school in the form of experiments."
Another parent, Pam Brown, who has a son in the seventh-grade and a daughter in the eighth-grade, said the event is also a way for families to bond.
"Basically, it's just spending the quality time with my kids that I like, and I also like the fact that the school gives us an opportunity to spend that quality time together," she said, after finishing making ice cream with her children.
Seventh-grader, Tyree Brown, 13, Pam Brown's son, said he enjoyed all of the activities available to families at the event. "It's fun, and you get to learn stuff you didn't know before," he said. He then turned to his mother and said he wanted to try the ice-cream-making experiment at home.
His sister, eighth-grader, Keylah Brown, 14, added, "I like that the activities show how math and science are present in things we do every day."
Twin seventh-graders, Keon and Keonna Hobbs, 13, said they had several favorite activities that were held during the blizzard. "I liked making the ice cream, that was fun to me," Keon Hobbs said.
"All of the activities were a lot of fun, actually," Keonna Hobbs added.