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The Madison Record

Rainbow fifth-graders see MathAlive!

The concepts and scope of mathematics took a new perspective for fifth-graders from Rainbow Elementary School at Math Alive!

Rainbow PTA volunteer Emily Peck coordinated the visit to the Math Alive! exhibit at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center for the students’ monthly enrichment exercise.

“The Rainbow Elementary Enrichment Program uses some of our local community businesses, such as Sci-Quest Hands-On Science Center, Burritt on the Mountain and Huntsville Botanical Garden to expose children to enriching activities that they otherwise may never experience,” Rainbow PTA president Alice Lessmann said.

With its design, MathAlive! inspires, sparks creativity and shows math’s possibilities. The exhibit targets students in third through eighth grades. Youth see the interaction that occurs in real math that drives video games, sports, fashion, music and robotics. Interactive sessions demonstrate ways that math works in design, application and real use (mathalive.com).

The Math Alive! exhibit covers 5,000 square feet. In realistic depictions, Rainbow students stepped on snowboards for a three-dimensional ride and applied riding tricks. They coded commands for a robotic arm on the International Space Station. They designed and played their own video games, using stop-motion procedures, and then edited the game.

In broader experimentation, the students attempted to engineer a city’s infrastructure. The Rainbow fifth-graders saw applications in the fields of design, engineering, technology and science.

In addition, the students tried a binary dance party. About 40 different experiences took the Rainbow youth into a brand new world of math.

They explored and operated simulations of robotics that NASA uses, including the Robonaut 2 and the Curiosity Rover. A large-scale futuristic bridge allowed the students to understand how engineers manage operations for a city’s infrastructure.

Math Alive! is included in individual daily admission to the space museum.

Raytheon supports math and science education through MathMovesU. MathAlive! is produced by Evergreen Exhibitions and developed in collaboration with NASA, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, MATHCOUNTS, National Society of Professional Engineers, Society of Women Engineers and MathMovesU.

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