On March 15, forty-nine eager sixth graders from the Peabody School took part in the annual Math Breakfast, sponsored by their NetPal mentors from Cambridge Systematics (CS) and Grace Construction Products. Managed by Cambridge School Volunteers (CSV) and now in its thirteenth year, the NetPal program pairs each Peabody sixth grader with an employee from CS or Grace for a year of e-mail exchanges and on-site mentoring focused on language arts, science and math. It also serves to bring career awareness to the Cambridge middle schoolers. Grace hosted the breakfast at their Alewife office this year.
Following their arrival at Grace, students were treated to breakfast and animated conversation with their NetPals. This was the third face-to-face meeting of the adult and student pairs. PowerPoint presentations by three CS and Grace employees highlighted the field trip. Each focused on how math is used in everyday life. The presentations included: using math to budget time for planning one’s day after school (homework, snowboarding, bedtime); figuring out complex recipe directions when doubling them from simple ones; and using the survey method to determine the fastest and most economical way to travel by car vs. public transportation.
The final get-together of the school year will be in May, when NetPals go to the Peabody School for the opportunity to see the students’ Science Fair projects. This event is a favorite for both students and adult mentors, too.