Rice University’s Tudor Fieldhouse was bustling with activity as 4,000+ energetic students from area school districts (Aldine ISD, Alvin ISD, Fort Bend ISD, Houston ISD, Humble ISD, Pearland ISD, and Spring Branch ISD) learned about mathematics and science and attended a men’s basketball game. The fifth annual “School House Mania” event was sponsored by the Rice Athletics Department. Students attending this event were deafening as they cheered on the men’s basketball teams from Rice University and St. Edward’s University. Prior to the game, the students and their teachers participated in educational activities that were presented by the Rice University School Mathematics Project (RUSMP). RUSMP staff and their student assistants together with a faculty member from the Rice mathematics department and a Rice engineering alumna assisted students and teachers during these activities.
RUSMP welcomed the students to Rice University by presenting a slideshow that spotlighted the mathematics that could be found on the Rice campus. Students then participated in the game “Sammy Says,” a version of the game “Simon Says,” in which students were to only follow directions given by Sammy, the mascot of the Rice Owls. In this game, students demonstrated their knowledge of computation and geometric terms by physically modeling the answers. As the basketball teams practiced on the court, the students were given mathematical clues to determine the jersey numbers for members of the Rice Owls men’s basketball team. The students’ teachers, as well as the basketball players, were elated when the students yelled the correct jersey numbers.
The mathematical activities continued as RUSMP used real-world objects to describe translations, reflections, and rotations. After a brief review of these transformations, the stands were rocking as students and teachers danced to the Transformation Shuffle! After actively applying their knowledge of transformations, students were led on a tour of Houston through a slideshow in which students answered questions related to science and mathematics. RUSMP concluded its presentation by having students estimate the time it would take to complete “The Wave” in Tudor Fieldhouse. The high-spirited students were exuberant as the wave travelled around the fieldhouse with all sections of students briefly standing, yelling, and raising their arms in ten seconds. The mathematics theme was continued during breaks in the game when students were challenged to answer trivia questions related to real-world situations.
RUSMP has been extending Rice University’s reach and impact in PreK-12 education since 1987 and is helping to shape the future of Houston by providing high-quality support for precollege institutions across the state. RUSMP continues to be the primary catalyst of sustained, progressive change in education in Houston-area schools and across Texas with its numerous programs for leaders, teachers, and students and through its support to schools and school districts. This is RUSMP’s fourth year to collaborate with Rice University’s Athletics Department on “School House Mania” which provides educational opportunities for Houston-area students.