Thursday, July 30, 2015

CFES at SMC in VT in the US

It's always a neat experience doing something you've never done before. This morning I presented an activity on Fractals to a group of students participating in the College For Every Student (CFES) program. CFES is a leading nonprofit designed with the goal of: 
"helping under-served students get to and through college, and ready to enter the 21st century workforce".
CFES currently "supports 20,000 students through partnerships with 200 rural and urban K-12 schools and districts in 27 states and Ireland".

I have worked with many, many different populations of students but this is the first time I have worked with H.S. students considering pursing a college education. We completed a number of activities related to fractals and mathematical patterns using my motto "Math is the science of pattern and the art of making sense". I was so impressed by the quality of their work and their ability to persevere with one particular activity that was not at all easy.

On their website, CEFS describes raising the students' aspirations  since most of them come from families with parents who haven't attended college. Neither of my parents attended college so I have a sense of how they view the whole idea of what it means to attend college and get a degree. I must admit that I think sometimes we are a bit misguided in the way we promote a college education as a way of getting a good job although I do acknowledge this is true.  I'm probably being somewhat idealistic in a material world but I believe a college education for as many people as possible is vital for the promotion and continuation of a civilized world. We need a caring and educated population that values knowledge, understanding and wisdom as they relate to our culture as much as we need skilled workers.

We concluded the activities with my favorite Vi Hart video.