Real-world experiences get kids “AMPED” on algebra

Real-world experiences get kids “AMPED” on algebra
Posted on 03/10/2020
Students in OHS AMPED press t-shirts The Algebra, Manufacturing, Production, Entrepreneurship and Design (AMPED) course at Mehlville High School and Oakville High School is teaching students math and business simultaneously through real-world application.

“They learn the curriculum of Algebra I while learning to run a business and make money,” said OHS AMPED instructor Suzy Mueller. “We produce products after we design them, then sell them for a profit.” 

Throughout the course of the school year, students have designed and produced stickers, banners, posters, T-shirts and printable vinyls. 

“I feel like I’m actually doing something for a purpose, and it makes me want to learn it more,” said OHS freshman Hailey Veninga. “Usually in math class, people say, ‘we’re never going to use this. What’s the point of it?’ In this, you actually get to apply it literally.”

For example, Mueller said, her teaching partner Ronald Thompson, teaches a math lesson on slope. “Then we will go into how that goes into business with supply and demand, what types of slopes are we dealing with and where is that intersect point,” said Mueller. “We take that math problem and put words to it that interface the business aspect.”

Potential clients contact Mueller or Thompson with a request. The teachers forward work requests to the students who handle the entire project including communication with the client, calculating cost of production, designing the product and production. Some of the projects include posters for teachers, stickers to raise awareness for causes and t-shirts for clubs.

“You get to come up with all of these ideas and use creativity and mathematics to apply yourself in different ways,” said Veninga. “We’re all working together, and you get experiences you wouldn’t get in a normal math or business class.” 

The AMPED course is a freshman-level course available to students at both MHS and OHS. 
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