Because creativity helps students master lessons, math teacher Jennifer Burris looked for a better way to teach geometry than using the standard textbooks.

Creativity Helps Students Master Lessons“Math isn’t about memorizing formulas. It’s about knowing how to use them,” said Burris, head of the math department at Harding Fine Arts Academy.

After spring break, she organized her students into teams to build the Tin Man from “The Wizard of Oz” out of recyclable items.  They were to calculate the surface area of what they created.  After they made their calculations, Burris cut foil that would fit the Tin Man, just exactly.  Too little or too much meant that the calculations were not accurate. That was the test for the two chapters.

Real life applications of math and science are important to Burris. It’s one of the eight essentials of the Oklahoma A+ Schools framework.  According to Harding Fine Arts Academy principal Barry Schmelzenbach, the approach of the A+ Schools model offers better preparation for college and career. Students may know in college how to choose the right answer on a multiple choice question, “but don’t have an original thought in their head,” he said.

With A+ Schools, the arts are integrated into learning for all subjects, and core classes are linked so that education is not departmentalized.

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