January 30, 2013 by Isabel Rodriguez, NMSU News Center
As a Project Lead the Way master teacher at the Arrowhead Park Early College High School, Nina Nunez teaches math courses, as well as an Introduction to Engineering Design course.
Her job got a little bit easier, thanks to a New Mexico State University-TI review team who awarded her a set of 20 Texas Instrument Nspire handheld calculators.
“My students and I are super excited to have received the calculators,” said Nunez, who has worked with NMSU through Project Lead the Way for the past six years. “The students began using them immediately in my math courses. They were able to collect data, graph their data and analyze the graphs. We worked with parabolic equations and exponential regressions.”
Nunez is already planning use of the calculators (each valued at about $140) in the upcoming semester in a statistics and reverse engineering unit.
“Last year, my students amputated the leg or arm off of a Barbie doll,” she explained. “The goal was to reconstruct the arm or leg using 3-D modeling software. The product improvement included creating a bendable joint for the doll. We plan to do this project again, and our goal is to utilize the calculators and motion detectors to track and analyze the bending motion of a joint.”
This past summer, Nunez attended Connecting Science and Mathematics through Technology, a three-day course for middle and high school teachers facilitated by Texas Instruments and hosted by NMSU’s Engineering New Mexico Resource Network.
“Through the Engineering New Mexico Resource Network, we are committed to partnering with industry to bring relevant hands-on engineering applications to middle and high school classrooms,” said Patricia A. Sullivan, assistant dean for the College of Engineering. “We plan to partner with TI and the College of Education this spring to bring additional training opportunities for STEM teachers.”
“The Arrowhead Park Early College High School has a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) focus,” Nunez added. “We have a large number of students in the engineering pathway, and we place all of our freshmen in the Introduction to Engineering Design course. The skills they learn in this project and problem based learning course have the potential to help them in all future courses.”
After receiving the calculators, Nunez said, she was given an additional 10 units from the Las Cruces Public School District.