Camp draws grade school mathletes to campus

Attending camp to improve her math skills is a great way to spend two weeks of her summer vacation, says Lulu Guo.

“I can come here and actually learn something,” says the Roseland Public School grad, who will head to Vincent Massey Secondary School in the fall. “There are a lot of things they don’t teach you in elementary school. I would like to have a base of knowledge for high school.”

The camp, run by retired math teacher and UWindsor grad Bruce White (BSc 1966), is aimed at giving local students in grades 6, 7 and 8 confidence in their ability to excel at math. White identifies four goals.

“I want the students to gain an understating that math is a language. I want them to learn to work from what they know rather than focus on what they don’t know. I want to give them confidence that they have control and I want to improve their awareness of specific concepts.”

He says he discourages the memorization of formulas in favour of developing a broader comfort with the subject matter.

“I try to build it on a foundation that makes sense,” White says. “I tend to use problems that have more than one solution.”

Mathematics professor Richard Caron helped White bring his annual summer camp to the campus this year for the first time.

“Bruce offers these students a way to think critically about issues,” Dr. Caron says. “The ideas he articulates are ones they can use in higher-level mathematics.”

White received an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University in 2002. Among other honours, he is a winner of the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Mathematical Association of America’s Award for Distinguished High School Mathematics Teaching.

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