National Geographic : 1991 Dec
Sherry Baca, a math teacher at Prescott High School in Prescott, Arizona, believes that the study of math shouldn't be confined to just the classroom. Which explains why these students are busy exploring the site of an archaeological dig in their native state. The genesis ofthis inventive approach to teaching math skills came from a video Sherry showed to her class. "The students were fascinated by a program on archaeol ogy and the Anasazi Indians; explains Sherry, "and that gave me an idea:' The "idea" is a teaching unit developed by Sherry to show how math is applied in archaeology. In the process, the students learn how archaeologists map out digs using variations of the cartesian coordinate sys tem. They develop their own graphing and cataloging system. They even investigate the dating of artifacts. This learning experience climaxes with a field trip to the Anasazi ruins in Northern Arizona where the stu dents see firsthand how scientists apply the very math skills they are learning. Like all ofher teaching innovations, Sherry created this one with one purpose in mind: "I just want my students to enjoy and love math as much as I do:' Undoubtedly, Sherry has succeeded. That's why State Farm is honored to pre sent her with our Good Neighbor Award. We are also delighted to make a contribution of$5,000 to Prescott High School in her name. Sherry Baca. She's shown her students how the quest for knowledge can take them to some interesting places indeed. STATE FARM I N SURA NC E STATEFARMINSURANCE COMPANIES HomeOffices:Bloomington, Illinois The Good Neighbor Award was developed incooperation with the National Council of Teachers ofMath (NCTM).