Camp for eighth-graders instills love of algebra (w/video)

What do you get when you take 26 eighth-graders, one middle school math teacher, and four hours of Algebra a day? MC Williams Middle School is hoping the equation equals success on the STAAR Algebra I End of Course exam.

“All of our eighth-graders passed this year’s Algebra EOC, and we want the same success next May,” said Principal Corey Seymour. “Ultimately, we want all of our students to take Algebra in the eighth grade and earn high school credit.”

For the second year in a row, MC Williams is holding its summer Algebra camp for incoming eighth-graders who will be taking the subject in the fall. The camp is designed familiarize students with the basics of Algebra while developing confidence in their existing math abilities. Unlike other HISD middle and high schools who hold similar summer workshops, the camp at MC Williams lasts for five weeks and features four hours of Algebra a day.

“The group of kids I have this summer is larger than last year, and they are all very excited about learning.” said teacher Veronica Haynes-Smith. “I have spent the last few weeks teaching them fundamental concepts that they will have to repeat over and over throughout the course. They have been working very hard.”

Twelve-year-old Schmia Anderson says she was a little apprehensive at first about taking the course, but now she has a newfound passion for the subject. “Algebra is awesome. I love it. It is so cool.” 

Her fellow classmate, Ayza Williams, agrees and says solving equations makes her feel smart. “I get very excited and enthusiastic when I solve a problem and the teacher tells me I have the right answer.”