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Halmos Faculty and Students Explore Math with Children at Library’s STEM Session

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Mathematics major Samantha Major (shown at left) works with children at a STEM Programs for Children session presented by faculty and students at the Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography. The series is hosted by the Alvin Sherman Library.

Faculty members and students at NSU’s Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography helped children explore the mathematical concept behind making predictions at a recent session of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Programs for Children series hosted by the Alvin Sherman Library.

The STEM Afternoon Series meets monthly to help children in grades three through six explore STEM concepts though activities, experiments, demonstrations, and guest presenters. College faculty and students led the session on April 14, 2016, titled “How Many Fish Are in the Lake? Estimation by Capture/Recapture.”

During the session, about 15 children practiced using statistical inference to make accurate predictions. The “lake” was a giant opaque bowl, and the untagged and tagged “fish” were represented by cheddar cheese and pretzel goldfish crackers.

Leading the session were four faculty members from the college’s Department of Mathematics and three undergraduate students. The faculty included Jason Gershman, Ph.D., an associate professor who chairs the department; Evan Haskell, Ph.D., professor; Emilola Abayomi, Ph.D., assistant professor; and Jeffrey Lyons, Ph.D., assistant professor.

Mathematics majors, including senior Ly Nguyen, junior Teodora Suciu, and freshman Samantha Major, also mentored the children.

April is Math Awareness Month (http://www.mathaware.org/index.html) and this year’s theme is “The Future of Prediction,” a theme that correlated with the STEM presentation, Gershman said.

“A fun and educational time was had by faculty, students, and the young children. The predictions from all five tables differed a bit, but some weren’t that far from the truth,” he said.