Toothpicks (raisins + bubble soap) = fun.

That was the primary equation for Whitehall students Aug. 30 at Etna Road Elementary School during the school's first Math Camp-In.

"The goal of the event was to make math relevant for the kids and to show what it means," said Etna Road Elementary School Principal Jessica Moore.

All students in grades 2-5 participated in the daylong event with age-appropriate activities that adhered to a camping theme, Moore said.

Fifth-grade students used toothpicks and raisins to create three-dimensional structures that were immersed in bubble solution.

The solution filled in the openings to create "bubble tents" and students studied the angles and vertices, Moore said.

Second-grade students applied math skills to study a recipe for trail mix.

"The students learned to count and use math to make the kind of trail mix they wanted," Moore said.

Vanessa Brown, 10, a fifth-grade student at Etna Road Elementary School, was among the students who enjoyed the day's activities.

Vanessa said she especially enjoyed creating the bubble tents.

Planning for the Math Camp-In was led by Beth Robine and Katherine Kiedaisch, both teachers at Etna Road.

The teachers formed a committee to organize the event at Etna Road after learning about it from the Teaching & Learning Collaborative, a Worthington-based nonprofit organization that promotes the development of math-rich programs, Robine said.

In addition to making tents and trail mix, students used math to create a blueprint for a campground, Robine said.

Students enjoyed a lunch of hot dogs and other camp-style food grilled by Whitehall City Schools Superintendent Brian Hamler and Deputy Superintendent Mark Trace.

"It was a great way to allow the kids the opportunity at early ages to use math in fun ways to solve interesting and complex problems," Robine said.

For Vanessa, it brought even more satisfaction to something she already finds enjoyable.

"I've always liked math, but this made it so much more fun," she said.

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo