Susan Milner

Mathematician shares her skills at Nelson schools

Susan Milner volunteered to go around to schools to talk to students about where their math skills could take them.

Susan Milner can’t stand the way many people say they can’t do math.

“If they were telling you they couldn’t read, you’d expect they’d be trying to do something to improve their skills,” she said. “But with math, it’s almost fashionable to be bad at it.”

Milner, a mathematics instructor at University of the Fraser Valley who was raised in Nelson, was in town earlier this month visiting her parents and while here she volunteered to go around to schools to talk to students about where their math skills could take them.

“Our world runs on math,” she said. “We don’t have computers without it, we don’t have business without it.”

Also on the list of occupations that require a math skills: science, medicine, engineering, finance, and many more.

Milner said she’s noticed that students tend to be most enthusiastic about math in the younger grades, but by middle school only about a third of students will admit to liking the subject. In high school, when math becomes optional for Grade 12 students, many will choose to drop it completely.

“Students think they just won’t study math because it’s not cool, and they’re really closing doors on themselves and the type of jobs they could do in the future.”

During her visits to schools, Milner showed students that math is more than just crunching numbers. She had them complete puzzles and games that require the same logic as solving equations.

“They’re building their math skills without even realizing, because they’re also have fun,” Milner said.

From November 19 to 23, Milner visited Trafalgar middle school, South Nelson elementary and Hume elementary, and she plans to return in April to speak at to the schools she’ll miss on this trip.

Her visits are organized by Science World BC through its Scientists and Innovators in the Schools program, white invites scientists, engineers, technologists and technicians to share their expertise with science classes around the province through hands-on activities.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Perry Siding man drowns in kayaking accident

The death occurred in Slocan River last month

Nelson Innovation Centre opens in Railtown

Centre will provide networking, training and workspace for all things tech

Memories all that remain of Balfour general store

History by Greg Nesteroff: In 1912 a log cabin near Balfour became a store

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Commercial huckleberry harvesting restricted in Kootenays

The province of B.C. has banned commercial-scale picking from July 15 to October 15

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

Most Read