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Math adds up to daily life, pupils learn


As a disc jockey for Baltimore's 98 Rock FM radio station, Steve Ash uses a little applied mathematics every day.

In addition to spinning discs, the DJ, who visited Rockburn Elementary School in Ellicott City yesterday, has to calculate precisely how much air time he has for music, talk and commercials.

"The math is really used in planning my day," said Mr. Ash, whose on-air name is Stash. "I'm thinking in terms of seconds, in minutes. Math at work is really important."

That was the message Rockburn students heard from Mr. Ash and 15 other guest speakers who participated in the school's first Math Day.

"Math Day is to show students

how to use math skills in everyday life," said Carole Harris, a fourth-grade teacher who helped organize the daylong event. "Everything you do has math in it."

In addition to Mr. Ash, speakers included a traffic engineer, a Giant Food cashier and an employee of the U.S. Mint in Washington, D.C.

Students in kindergarten through fifth-grade listened to the speakers and used math in a number of activities, including guessing games and the use of computer software requiring students to count money.

Ms. Harris' fourth-grade students applied their math skills in analyzing different brands of choc

olate chip cookies.

They examined price, caloric content, the number of cookies per package and even the number of chocolate chips in each cookie. They then graphed the results.

Students also learned how to estimate, guessing how many pennies and gummy bears were in two different containers.

The lessons were not lost on students. David Craig, a 9-year-old from Elkridge, said math and science are his favorite subjects.

"It seems so interesting to change one number to a different number," said David, who wants to be a scientist when he grows up.

Mr. Ash said it is important for students to realize that the "things they learn in school can be applied to life. . . .

"They can do whatever they want to do."

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