Students sometimes don’t always understand until much later why they need to learn math concepts in school. Their realization may come when they actually need to use that math skill on the job.
One of North Plainfield’s own graduates and now a teacher is helping to make the math to career connection early on by bringing in professionals or local business owners to speak to the class about their occupation and how they apply math in their business everyday with a classroom activity.
Elisa Salvemini, a grade 6 math teacher at Somerset School in North Plainfield brought in her first business owner last month. She knew she could tap into very local talent and started by asking her mom, Johanna Salvemini who owns Johanna’s Creations Custom Framing in North Plainfield, to come and talk to them about picture framing.
Mrs. Salvemini who has been a custom picture framer for over 20 years taught the students to measure and cut moulding and make a “custom frame” for the art they had created in class the day before. Bulletin board boarders were used as the framing moulding and the students had to use a ruler and protractor to measure the proper length and angle of the moulding, and then cut and fit the pieces together.
“My classes had a lot of fun”, said Ms. Salvemini, a graduate of NPHS, Class of 2008. “Once they selected their border material, they were excited to see how the frame would come together.” Not aware that a frame was made with angles, the students realized they had to be careful not only with making and marking measurements but also insure the moulding was cut in the proper direction so that when assembled, it looked correct.
Mrs. Salvemini said of her daughter’s classes, “It was a great way for the students to see that although many aspects of a process can be automated these days, an employee still needs to be able work with manual methods in their particular field of study. Not every business will have the latest and greatest technology and equipment and students need to be prepared manually and mentally for what’s presented to them.”
The students had a lot of fun and took pride in seeing their framed art on the wall outside their classroom. They were able to see that math is not just for the classroom after all.