Yes, the Mission Hill presentation was successful.

Yes, the Mission Hill trip was successful. Two weeks ago, I promised to tell you the results of our decision to replace Chinatown with Mission Hill as one of the eight Boston neighborhoods we visit each summer as part of an applied math project in the Quantitative Reasoning course at the Crimson Summer Academy. Here’s an excerpt from what I had said about this decision:

Usually seven of the groups have succeeded in finding interviewees and people to survey. But Chinatown has always been a problem, since the large majority of residents whom they approached claimed not to speak English. So we reluctantly replaced it with Mission Hill this year for yesterday’s visit. At the end of the month, when each group delivers a presentation to the entire sophomore class, we’ll see the results. I am eager to find out whether it was a good change or not. I will let you know.

So I’m letting you know. The answer is that it was a resounding success. Unfortunately I can’t show you much of the presentation, because the students (rising high-school sophomores) followed the correct advice and used the slides to illustrate their talk, not to dominate it. “The presentation is not the presentation,” as I like to say. If you can understand what was being said without actually hearing it, then something is wrong! In this case, the audio is essential, taking center stage; the slides are merely supporting actors. But I can show you an example, a slide that compared and contrasted actual racial data with the students’ initial hypotheses, made after visiting, but before doing any research:

The important thing is that these aren’t just numbers: the students analyzed and interpreted them (and other numbers) convincingly. They also included videos of their interviews with neighborhood residents. Equally importantly, their 20-minute talk was engaging and held everyone’s attention. Congratulations to these scholars from the Academy of the Pacific Rim, Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School, City on a Hill Charter School, and New Mission High School!

Categories: Dorchester/Boston, Math, Teaching & Learning