Joined by teachers, parents and student volunteers, more than 100 Wickliffe Elementary School students turned out for a Saturday camp to have fun while building their math skills.

Joined by teachers, parents and student volunteers, more than 100 Wickliffe Elementary School students turned out for a Saturday camp to have fun while building their math skills.

About 130 students huddled in the school's main hallway March 5, awaiting their instructions for hiking the Mathematical Trail.

After some guidance from Katie Coplin, who teaches second and third grades at Wickliffe, they all dispersed with backpacks, pencils and booklets designed to help them navigate -- and learn -- along the 12 stations that had been set up in the school's gym and hallways.

"We're doing it for fun," Coplin said of Wickliffe's first one-day Math Camp. "We've been doing math all year and this is a way for students to be engaged in math in a real-world way."

Around 70 percent of the school's second- and third-graders showed up for the voluntary event, which integrated English, art and other lessons into the math problems.

The program used creative, hands-on activities based on Common Core state standards in math that applied concepts students are learning in their classrooms.

At some stations, students were asked to describe a camping scene, then use math skills to solve questions such as, "Seven of us went to go fishing, and two returned to camp. How many people are still fishing?"

At other stations, they were given recipes for making s'mores and trail mix.

Rather than just combining the ingredients, however, they were asked to adjust the basic formulas to account for varying numbers of snackers.

"If there are three campers, you have to multiply or add to get the right amount," third-grader Amirah Elsawad said.

Coplin and other teachers and staff members borrowed the Math Camp concept after seeing its appeal and effectiveness in other districts.

It was made possible through financial contributions from Wickliffe's PTO, which purchased supplies and found the recipe lessons. Other support came from a grant from the Trotier Family Fund, established by former Upper Arlington teacher Audrey Trotier and her husband in April 2001.

The grant was distributed to Wickliffe through the Upper Arlington Education Foundation, which has more than 50 endowed funds that pay for specific educational needs that go beyond Upper Arlington schools' yearly budgets.

"This is so exciting to see," Trotier said as students began the "hike."

"My grandson went through Wickliffe and it really was a special experience because it's so family-centered. This was close to my heart."

"The Math Camp-In program kits were beyond the district's budget," said Alice Finley, program and project specialist for the foundation. "That is where UAEF stepped in,"

Wickliffe was buzzing throughout Saturday morning as students shared their excitement over the nontraditional lessons.

Third-grader Henry Anderson took some time to enjoy his trail mix and explained how he honed some advanced math skills at a station that taught students how to figure averages.

"I learned division," he said. "It was the division you did with the bug thingy.

"I learned a lot of math. I think it will help."

At another trail stop, second-grader Paige Heise used addition to determine how much money she would need to spend to buy each of the shapes she needed to build a piece of art.

"We have to figure out the total costs of all the patterns we use," Heise said. "One hexagon is 10 cents, and each triangle is 1 cent. But if I use four (triangles), it would be 4 cents, and with the hexagon, it's 14 cents."

Coplin said she was pleased with the turnout, as well as how the program's partners and volunteers came together to bring the camp to students.

"There are 130-ish kids here, 45 volunteers and 11 camp counselors who are older kids," she said. "Everything we do in math is preparing them for this, and this is a review of what we're doing in class.

"It integrates everything and it's fun."

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