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Seventh Graders Learn About The Sum Of Success



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Seventh Graders Learn About The Sum Of Success

By Larissa Lytwyn

Newtown Middle School’s grade 7 “Green Cluster” recently learned how math skills are integral to a variety of careers, including industrial design, advertising, and veterinary science.

“A few weeks ago, the students did a project interviewing members of the community whose careers involve math,” explained seventh grade math teacher Lisa Puma. “Some of the students interviewed their parents, and today three of them came in to talk about their careers!”

Robert Eckenrode, an industrial designer with Design Builders & Remodeling in Sandy Hook, said he enjoys speaking to students about his work because of their “interest and enthusiasm.”

“I grew up with a love of building things,” said Mr Eckenrode. When he understood how mathematics could be visually applied to blueprint making and other aspects of architectural design, the onetime math-phobe embraced the world of numbers.

His son, Robert Eckenrode, Jr, is a grade seven student.

Donald Coffey is a production director for Norwalk-based Integrated Marketing International, an advertising firm whose clients include Hellmann’s, Ragu, Skippy’s Peanut Butter, and Slim-Fast.

Mr Coffey detailed both the creative and technical facets of advertising. Meredith, his seventh grade daughter, seemed proud as she watched her father engage students in “brainstorming” ideas to advertise Hellmann’s mustard.

“What do you think of when you think of mustard?” he asked the class.

Responses included its flavor-enhancing quality to foods such as hot dogs, sandwiches, and pretzels.

Mr Coffey showed students a video clip from Integrated Marketing’s photo session with actors portraying a rock star, magician, and opera singer. Each wore blue ribbons somewhere on their outfits, bodies, or faces, reflecting Hellmann’s blue-ribbon logo.

The final result was an advertising billboard featuring the three characters that today is featured in supermarket cardboard cutouts, coupons, and more.

“The math comes in when we are determining how much the client is charged for hiring [Integrated Marketing] to do their advertising,” Mr Coffey explained.

Integrated Marketing analysts determine the costs of everything from photography equipment to the salaries of art directors, stylists, and makeup artists.

“You may look at an ad and just see a picture,” said Mr Coffey, “but there is a lot of time and money behind it!”

Kathleen Moody, a veterinarian, introduced her presentation with an overhead picture of a kitten curled comfortably against a dog. “Everyone thinks that cats and dogs don’t get along,” she said. “But that is not always true!”

Ms Moody explained the danger of leaving cat and dog bites — both on animals and humans — untreated. “A cat in particular has small but sharp teeth that can cut you very deeply,” she said. “Dirt and bacteria can be pushed inside of the wound in the process.”

If not properly cleansed, the wound can artificially heal over and eventually form a puss-filled abscess. The condition can be fatal in animals.

Ms Moody also discussed how math is applicable in her every day routine, such as determining the appropriate amount of medication an animal should have for a certain amount of time.

Ms Moody’s daughter is seventh grader Lora Streett.

“This was a great experience for the students,” noted Ms Puma. “Students could understand how math can be applied to everyday life, how it can even be enjoyable!”

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