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CNMI UCEDD successfully completes virtual Summer Math Camp

Community Bulletin
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(NMC) — Twenty-five CNMI middle school students successfully completed the 3-week virtual summer math camp program sponsored by the CNMI University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at Northern Marianas College in collaboration with the University of Hawaii Center on Disability Studies.

From July 20 to Aug. 7, 2020, Project BEAM mentors Dr. Dora Miura and Ms. Vina Duenas facilitated virtual sessions that offered hands-on math activities, real-world applications, project development, and distance learning. With regards to the hands-on math activities, Duenas shared that the majority of students enjoyed “OrderUp! because they baked a cupcake. Many students said they enjoyed the math lesson on the volume and surface area of a rectangular prism, square pyramid, and composite shapes.”

When asked about the successes and challenges of the program, Miura said that the students enjoyed the math.

“They were able to challenge their mathematical minds and learn new concepts by building on old ones,” Miura said. “I would say that the biggest challenge was the online platform. Creating a community of thinkers is less challenging when everyone is physically together and can interact, laugh, and struggle together.”

Dr. Miura offered this tip for students who are passionate about math and are considering math as a career: “The STEM field is burgeoning. With this pandemic, we can readily see the value of having people know what they are doing to help in the capacity of healing, treating, and preventing (all STEM fields). If you find yourself interested in any STEM field, don't be intimidated by the technical aspect of it. Don't be afraid to seek others with your same passion so that you can struggle and grow together in an effort to be part of the STEM field profession. We live on an island that is physically isolated from the rest of the world and is limited in its resources. Your eventual technical expertise will help the CNMI become more innovative in ways we solve problems that can help us become more sustainable.”

On the last day of math camp, August 7, students presented their final research projects, which were completed individually or as a group. Topics included water pollution, Diabetes, inequality, littering, reading, underage drinking, economy, gender awareness, global warming, pandemic, and energy conservation. After the presentations, UCEDD program staff conducted a focus group meeting with the students to get their feedback on their math camp experiences:

“I learned about other subjects including history and technology...I really liked the program.”

“I had a lot of fun working with my classmates.”

“Working in a group is engaging.”

“My relationships are related to math. Most of my friends are liking math or loving it.”

Despite some challenges, students gave proper credit to their family, friends, and instructors for encouraging them to do well in the math camp.

Dr. Miura and Duenas have a combined 29 years of teaching experience, with 18 years dedicated to math. In 2015, Dr. Miura was the recipient of the Presidential Award for Math and Science Teaching, while Duenas began her teaching career at Saipan Southern High School teaching various math subjects.

Project BEAM is a five-year project funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Education Program (Award #S206A170014). The purpose of this project is to promote STEM participation and help middle school students to improve their math skills and accomplishments.

CNMI UCEDD is in its third year implementation of Project BEAM. Last year, Dandan Middle School and Hopwood Middle School students participated in Project BEAM.

For more information about the UCEDD program, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 237-6801.

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