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Engineers show importance of math through example

Lindsay Weimer | The Feather Online

During his visit to FCS, David Kwalwasser showed detailed maps of his work on the High-Speed Rail.

Taking a break from their work on California’s High-Speed Rail, David Kwalwasser and Mauro Weyant visited Angie Counts’ math three classes this Wednesday, Feb. 27. Bringing in surveying equipment they use during their jobs, the land surveyors gave presentations regarding their work with math and the importance of a surveyor and engineer. The equipment they showcased, included a laser-based machine that scanned the environment around the machine and then created a 3D picture.

Kwalwasser, the senior land surveyor at the California High-Speed Rail, recognizes the math skills he uses in day-to-day life.

To me, math is valuable, you use it everyday,” Kwalwasser said. “When you go to a restaurant and you give the person a certain amount of money, you know you will get back a certain amount. When I drive down the street and see the curves, I see the math, because I have been doing this for 30 years.”

Seeing the importance of teaching advanced math to high schoolers, Kwalwasser equates knowledge with better life decisions.

“Knowledge in any form, is invaluable,” Kwalwasser said. “The more knowledge you can get, the better off you’re going to be. The advantages of teaching advanced math to high school students is that it gives them the opportunity to see the bigger picture. When they go to college, they have more information to base their life plans on.”

Counts’ currently teaches math two and math three, and explains her reasoning for inviting the engineers to her classroom. As part of the visit to the school, math three honors students are required to write a two page paper, relating what they learned from the engineers, to math.

“I wanted the kids to see a real life person using some high-level math,” Counts said. “I wanted them to see the toys that they get to play with, which I thought would really be fun for them to see all the fancy machinery. I knew that it would be practical for them to see and enjoyable to just see all the advancements in the engineering field.”

The following podcast features Angie Counts expanded her views on the importance of math.

As computers and other devices becomes increasingly integrated into schools, Kwalwasser relates math to the growth of technology.

“All technology is built on math one way or another,” Kwalwasser said. “Computer codes, even though they are just letters in a line, when you go to the heart of the code, it’s all math based. It all has some kind of mathematical relationship between the two things. So I think math, with the way technology is heading, is probably one of the most important subjects in school”

Academic advisor, Evangelina Tello, shares the importance of students seeing their classes applied in life. Tello also values math and feels it is used in any career option, and therefore is a critical skill.

The following tweet highlights the surveyor’s visit to Fresno Christian and the technology they showcased.

“I think it’s really important for them to see,” Tello said. “A lot of students always ask why am I learning this? When am I going to apply this in the future? So for someone in that field to actually come to the class personally and share with the students how these classes benefited them and helped them become who they are, is extremely valuable.”

Agreeing with Tello, Counts comments on the importance of math in the workplace, no matter what the career.

“A good example is today when two engineers came to visit,” Counts said, “it shows that in order to go into any career that uses math you have to have a higher level of math. He gave an example using trigonometry to build bridges. The upper level math is so practical in so many different fields so it’s valuable to teach them.”

Lindsay Weimer | The Feather Online

Using surveying technology, Mauro Weyant took 3D, interactive pictures of the classroom.

Appreciating the engineer’s visit, Alina Ochoa, ‘19, saw value in the exposure to real-world skills.

I thought it was valuable because it showed what tools they use on a daily basis,” Ochoa said. “They explained their math and other skills and they showed how much math is used in their type of work. It kind of showed if you wanted to go in that field, what you were going to be working with, so I thought that was good.”

As part of their quarter three project, math three students are responsible for writing a two-page essay, explaining the value of seeing math in the workplace.

For more articles, read Sports Records Series: Soccer, or Eighth graders visit Ronald Reagan Library, Feb. 28.

Vijay Stephen can be reached via Twitter or via email.

Below is a slideshow of Kwalwasser and Weyant presenting their work to math three, Feb. 27.

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