Students get iPads through grant

SURREY Math students at Surrey High School are using mini iPads to graph trigonometry functions thanks to a $10,000 grant from the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program.

The grant, funded by the Monsanto Fund, offers farmers the chance to nominate a local public school district, which can then compete for a grant of up to $25,000 to enhance math and/or science education. More than 1,150 nominated school districts submitted applications. Surrey was nominated by Jeff Drawz, who farms in the Surrey area, and the grant was written by math teacher Cathy McDermott and Title program teacher Terry Johnson.

McDermott said she has used the grant to purchase 25 mini iPads for high school math classes, which is enough for a classroom set. The technology coordinator at Surrey has helped the teachers install free applications on it. The iPads are set up so that, when the students are doing a calculation, the screen can be mirrored on an interactive smart board at the front of the classroom, enabling the whole class to see it.

When she showed that function to a parent of one of her students, he was so impressed she thought his eyes were going to pop out of his head, said McDermott.

McDermott said the school will use the rest of the grant funding to buy 15 TI-Nspire graphing calculators for use in math classes.

McDermott, who has taught for 38 years, said technology has changed significantly from the early 1970s, when she bought a calculator for $25 that could add, subtract, multiply and divide. At the time, she thought the technology was just wonderful.

Now the iPads enable her students to do so much more, she said.

“We’re really excited,” said McDermott.

A representative of the Monsanto Fund will present a check to the school during a band concert at 7 p.m. on Thursday evening at the school.