Apache Mathematics Camp
The purpose of the Whiteriver Junior High School Summer Camp is threefold:
- to enhance the participants' problem solving skills
- to acquaint the participants with computers and the latest hand calculators
- to enhance written and verbal communication skills
This camp was created to give the Apache students the same opportunities that the brightest students in the city have to explore and create mathematics.
The Whiteriver Junior High School Summer Camp evolved from the University of Arizona Summer Mathematics Camp. Each summer twelve eighth graders from Whiteriver Junior High School on the White Mountain Apache Reservation spend a week at an intensive summer residential program dealing with problem solving and technology.
The format of the two-week University of Arizona Summer Mathematics Camp was adapted to a one-week camp for the Apache students. The students arrive on a Sunday afternoon after a 200 mile trip to Tucson. On Monday, they are introduced to the computer they will be using throughout the week and how to use it. Tuesday, the students are introduced to several exploratory problems, [For examples of exploratory problems refer to: Stevenson, Frederick W.. Exploratory Problems in Mathematics. NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics). 1992.] students team up, choose a problem and work on it the remainder of the day and all day Wednesday. On Thursday the students write up their findings in the morning and in the afternoon give oral presentations to their colleagues, their school principal and teacher, interested parents, and guests from the University of Arizona Department of Mathematics. On Friday morning there is a “graduation” ceremony where each student is presented with a booklet containing the results of their colleague's research activities.
Participants are selected by their mathematics teacher based on their abilities and interests in mathematics. The Whiteriver Junior High School eighth graders have various fundraisers throughout the school year so they can have some spending money when they attend the summer camp.
Primary funding for the Whiteriver Junior High School Summer Camp comes from the Apache Nation and local foundations through the University of Arizona Foundation, a funding arm of the University. Program expenses include student room and board, travel costs, instructor and counselor salaries, computer resources, publicity, and supplies. Future plans include developing similar programs for the high school on the White Mountain Apache Reservation, and for other local reservations such as the San Carlos Apache, Navajo, Hopi, and Tohono O'odham.