Calculators purchased for St. Amant ninth-graders in algebra, geometry _lowres

Photo provided by Laney Gautreau -- Students in Laney Gautreau’s third block geometry honors class display their new calculators purchased, thanks to an Ascension Fund grant. The class includes, first row from left, Carly Harrell, Kellie Gill, Amber Williams, Drue Gautreau, Madison Guitrau, Sophie Porrier and Kailyn Borne; second row, Eli Coleman, Logan Vaughn, Keondra Carter, Hadley Hebert, Ashtyn Turner, Alexis Hymel and Carley Fontenot; and third row, Tristan Harrison, Alex LeBourgois, Evan Garrett and Michael Landry.

St. Amant High School algebra I and geometry ninth-graders are learning that calculating is fun, thanks to an Ascension Fund donation that helped to purchase graphing calculators.

In addition, the tools have resulted in higher performances on tests and a better understanding of the subjects.

“To hear students exclaim, ‘This is so cool,’ and ‘I never knew a calculator could do this,’ in a high school math class is not always the norm,” teacher Laney Gautreau said.

But that is the reaction she’s been getting in class since the purchase of 11 TI-84 graphing calculators, made possible by a $1,000 Ascension Fund award funded by Freeport McMoran Foundation Endowment Grant.

“These calculators have a wide range of use that has motivated these young adults to explore our world through the eyes of mathematicians,” she said.

She said the students use the calculators on a daily basis to not only calculate but to explore other concepts in order to improve their understanding.

Algebra I and geometry students must take an end-of-course test that is part of their class grade and also a graduation requirement, she said. The teacher credits the ability to use the calculators as tremendously improving test scores.

“The calculators played a huge role in connecting math to real-world situations in order to make sense of their solutions in a very concrete way,” she said. “The Ascension Fund is true to its goal of promoting academic intelligence.”