Math Fair a Sure Bet for Fun and Learning


Rob McCaffrey

This semester’s Math Fair features a casino theme.

For those who fondly remember ‘Pi Day’ in middle school, you can have a similar experience as a college student at the Osceola Campus Math Fair this Thursday, Dec. 1.

The event will feature math related games, food and even prizes all day in the Osceola Math Depot located in building 4, room 121 on Valencia’s Osceola Campus.

“We have the casino theme this semester, which we run every other year in the fall semester because it’s the most popular,” said Instructional Lab Supervisor Daniel DeRosa.

To add festivity to the event, those facilitating it will be donning white shirts and bow ties as well as black pants and skirts in order to look like casino dealers, as a way of giving the ambiance of a real casino.

About sixty prizes will be given out throughout the fair. Prizes from previous fairs have ranged from Math Depot t-shirts, to book store gift cards and iPods. Major prize contributors from the past have included businesses like Chick-fil- a and Wawa.

Although the prizes and the food provide a way of enticing students to attend, what coordinators of the event want students to take away from the event is far more lasting.

“It gives the students the chance to see that math is applicable everywhere. Even with fun things like a casino,” said math faculty member Vicki Barnett. “It’s a motivation for the students to study their math a little harder—that it is applicable somewhere besides the classroom. That’s the whole point.”

Elizabeth Washington, a former math coordinator, who continues to teach at Valencia part- time, was actually behind the idea of the Math Fair— originally started to help developmental math students.

“We wanted students to come get tutoring, they were failing their classes, they weren’t placing well on the placement test, they were not passing the state exam,” said Washington. “We really wanted to kind of put a face to the name. Don’t be scared. Come to The Depot, get help, come meet your teachers at the Math Fair.”

The Math Fair has grown exponentially since it first began almost a decade ago. The first fair was only able to get thirty-five students to attend, whereas last semester, when the last fair was held, there was an attendance rate of over 400 students, and it has grown to become one of the most popular events held on campus.

Organizers credit the success of the Math Fair to the tremendous funding that they receive from student development, but mostly to campus faculty.

“We also have more involvement from instructors and faculty,” Said Instructional Lab Assistant Senior Diana Buddah. “They are working together with us. They help advertisement, sometimes they give a little bit extra credit. They are motivating their students to come and enjoy (the math fair). Some of them even come in to volunteer in between their classes.”