SCCS secondary students use fun and challenging real-life scenarios to tackle math. The SCCS math department chair and teacher, Darla Agajanian, enjoys sharing her love of mathematics with 8th, 10th and 12th grade students. “I have been teaching math for 33 years in both the public and private sectors,” shared Mrs. Agajanian. “God gave me two gifts in life – a love of children and an understanding of math; put them together and you get a math teacher!”
Math can be a subject students dread, but Mrs. Agajanian wants them to embrace it. “I teach many math concepts with ‘silly stories’ to attempt to make the concepts relevant to their experiences and easier to remember,” said Mrs. Agajanian. “We talk about ‘married terms’, and ‘don’t be unequally yoked.’ Just ask any student for the translations!” She understands that math doesn’t come easily to all students and works with those in her classes to help them achieve their goals. “I help struggling students by holding study groups after school to review the quizzes and pretests. This allows them to ask questions in smaller, like-minded group settings.”
In an effort to take math concepts beyond the textbook, Mrs. Agajanian creatively incorporates hands-on math activities. “Each class has projects during the year that use the math concepts taught in ‘real-life’ scenarios. My Algebra 1 class has a ‘Chili and Brownies’ project that has students use their knowledge of writing and recording checks, ratios, proportions, and unit rates to extrapolate recipes that will serve 100. They then have to calculate the total and individual costs to feed these guests.” All of Mrs. Agajanian’s classes employ inventive strategies with math. “Algebra 2 has a project that uses their knowledge of probability and statistics to create and play board games. Calculus uses their knowledge to calculate the volume of asymmetrical 3-D real life objects.” shared Mrs. Agajanian.
“Secondary math courses all follow a sequence, with each course building and expanding on previously taught concepts – Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, Geometry/Trig, Algebra 2, Pre-Calculus, and Calculus.” The care that other SCCS math teachers apply to the subject area encourages Mrs. Agajanian. “All our math teachers are extremely knowledgeable in the field of math and work hard to share their academic expertise and love of God’s creations with their students.”
Mrs. Agajanian believes making math accessible and real to students helps SCCS’s graduates to succeed in and pursue careers that have a focus on math. “SCCS has had many graduates go on to use their math skills in various fields – doctors, nurses, engineers, architects, physical therapists, pilots, accountants, homemakers, computer programmers, and more!”
Mrs. Agajanian added to her Bachelors and single/multiple subject credentials by recently earning her Master’s in Secondary Math Education from California State University of Northridge.