New Math Lab to Solve Free Period Conflicts

Alice Bolandhemat We all know math can be challenging. And on top of homework from other classes, you may often find yourself under a lot of stress. Meeting with teachers to clear up confusion is highly encouraged at Latin, but if your math teacher is unavailable during your free periods, finding a time to meet can be difficult…but not anymore! The math lab has been newly introduced to the upper school this year. Located on the 5th floor (in the same room as the Writing Center), you will find qualified math specialists who can assist you with your troubles or look over your work. The two former full-time math faculty members in the lab may not necessarily be your math teacher, but they can help you review concepts and work through homework problems. Another advantage of the math lab is its flexibility.  It is not by-appointment-only, so you can walk in as you please. It is an opportunity made available to us as students at our own convenience. Every Tuesday and Wednesday the math lab is open to all upper school students from 12-4pm. This means that if the hours do not fit into your school day, you may stop in after school as well. In an interview with Mr. Stroup, the head of the math department, he explained the idea behind the math lab. “Ms. Gasser first approached me with the idea of a math lab and then I tweaked her ideas a bit and coordinated with Mrs. Rodriguez and Mr. Greer” said Stroup.  It was then that their ideas became a reality. Mr. Stroup addressed a common misconception that the lab detracts from students meeting with their own math teachers. “The math lab is meant to supplement students conferencing with their math teachers, when the timing does not work out,” said Stroup. He continued by saying that the teachers are here to enhance the experience of teacher-meetings, rather than replace them. Ms. Gasser and Ms. Felker are in touch with upper school math faculty, so they know what questions to expect from students. Mr. Stroup also added that it is important that the lab not start off too big in order for it to gradually grow. For now, the math lab is meant to provide students with help who do not necessarily have an outside tutor. Mr. Stroup and the math faculty’s hope for the lab is that it will provide students with “additional help outside of their math class and a quiet space to spend some time working. And, eventually, we hope it will expand beyond the Writing Center room and allow for opportunities for peer tutoring between students.” An added plus of sharing a room with the Writing Center is that it creates a comfortable environment in which students have the ability to thrive. Although the Math Lab may not be exceedingly popular yet, the concept is very much needed in the upper school. Its mission is to supply students with a place to work on math problems and address their uncertainties regarding the subject. The Math Lab has potential to foster an environment where students can both learn and help others with the subject, presenting the Latin community with an opportunity to bolster our math skills and community.  ]]>