Archive for Thursday, March 4, 2010

Teacher recognized for efforts to make math applicable to everyday life

March 4, 2010

The quadratic formula, parabolas, the Fibonacci sequence.

These terms strike varying levels of fear and boredom into the hearts of some.

The challenge for Eudora High School math instructor Scott Keltner is to make that information applicable to everyday life.

“Math on the surface, to a lot of people stinks, but if you can put an interesting or practical spin on it, it pays off,” Keltner said. “I’m showing my students that they can actually use math in the real world that goes beyond the four walls of the classroom.”

Keltner’s ability to do so is part of what caused his peers to vote him the Eudora Chamber of Commerce Teacher of the Month for February.

Keltner, a teacher who has spent all seven years of his career at Eudora High School, said the award was especially flattering since it came from his peers. He also was surprised by the participation on the part of area merchants.

“I was amazed at how may local business chip in and support the teacher of the month,” he said.

He became a teacher because both of his parents are, but also because of an experience he had as a junior in high school.

He was a teacher’s aide in a math class and the teacher’s mother became ill for long stretches, which caused a long-term substitute to teach the class. After the sub noticed Keltner was helping students around the room, the sub told him, “Why don’t you come up front and help everyone at the same time?”

Keltner found his calling then and there.

He currently is pursuing grants in order to have a small wind turbine built on the EHS campus. He would use it as a lesson in various engineering principals.

“I’ve got so many kids who are going into engineering and related fields, and it would be a great benefit to them to get to college and not have to figure out where electricity comes from,” Keltner said. “But it’s also vocationally minded kids who can learn we can generate electricity from a turbine and not just the smokestacks you see in Lawrence.

“It’s cool to give kids an application in any of those respects.”

Keltner also teaches at Johnson County Community College and serves on the EHS technology committee.

EHS Principal Dale Sample praised Keltner’s dedication to innovation in the classroom.

“That’s the whole point of learning, to apply it to everyday life,” Sample said. “The kids love it and respond to it, and he’s grown through the years as he’s been here. He’s always looking for ways to do new things, and that’s appreciated.”

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