To get kids excited about math, the challenge can sometimes be to show it in a whole new light. That was the goal of presentations at PSU’s annual Math Honor Day for high school students.

Students at Math Honor Day participated in interactive sessions ranging from “Statistical Thinking” and “Mathematical Games,” to “Bell-y Math” and “How Wii do Math.”

Dr. Tim Flood, chairman of PSU’s  Department of Mathematics, said the sessions are designed to be fun and to test the students’ mathematical knowledge. “Bell-y Math,” conducted by Dr.  Cynthia Woodburn, teaches students about the connections between bells and math.

Dr. Cynthia Woodburn looks on as students perform.

“I’ve done this activity with the bells many times at Math Honor Day and then I perform a couple of songs on the handbells during the dessert course at lunch,” Woodburn said. “It’s a  hands-on activity I do with the students where we take a look at connections between bells (in particular, the change ringing of tower bells) and mathematics. I first give the students some background and  then they work in groups to write their own composition, which they play on handbells for the rest of the groups to hear.”

In addition to the workshops, the students participated in the Honor Day Luncheon and Award Presentations. The  keynote speaker at the luncheon was alumna Jennifer Jabben. Jabben, an associate actuary with Allstate Insurance, earned a bachelor of science degree from PSU in 2003, majoring in mathematics with an economics minor. Jabben lives  in Streamwood, Ill.