Intel Schools of Distinction - real-life math gets the nod

By Murray Bourne, 16 Feb 2009

Intel gives out awards for top schools in math and science. From their site:

Every year, Intel honors U.S. schools that have demonstrated excellence in math and science education as Intel Schools of Distinction. [...]

In order to be considered as an Intel School of Distinction, schools must develop an environment and curricula that meet or exceed benchmarks, including national mathematics and science content standards.

In each winning school, extensive use of technology is used to enhance lessons (not surprising, considering Intel is giving out the prizes). Another common theme is that winning schools make an attempt to integrate "real world" math and science into their lessons.

On the winners page, we read about Sabino High School in Tuczon AZ:

Sabino--which is among the highest scoring schools in Arizona on the state mathematics test and boasts a 92-percent mastery rate for 10th graders taking the test for the first time--has earned an "Excellent School" ranking from the state for the past five years.

"We support all learners via the development of a math tutoring center, using SMART Boards, podcasting lessons, offering Advanced Placement classes, assessments through projects, the use of graphing calculators almost daily, incorporating group work in class, using sensors to measure data, and making math become real," said Valerie Payne, Sabino's principal.

Students also look for real applications of math in the newspaper, present information using a variety of technologies--including video and PowerPoint--and design final projects on a topic they're personally interested in.

You can see videos about each of the winning schools on that winners page.

Last year's Star Innovator Award went to Sojourner Elementary School, in part because of family involvement:

All families have math manipulative 'kits' at home so that students can continue to develop ideas at the conceptual level. Families also have access to the district website, where the online Student Learning Center provides valuable resources for practice activities at a variety of levels.

The application form for this year's awards is available: 2009 awards.

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