Inside the Riverbend Community Math Center

Published: Mar. 26, 2023 at 11:16 AM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - The Riverbend Community Math Center offers more than just math assistance.

The center’s weekly student-designed labs are teaching kids that learning doesn’t just take place inside of the classroom.

For instance, a medallion prototyping lab that 16 News Now recently visited is helping students participate in STEM-related activities.

Edward Dorado is the mastermind behind this specific lab. As the project designer, Dorado is given the task of making sure that the process runs smoothly.

“I basically make sure it is running good, make sure we have kits for when kids want to come in and make their medallion,” he said.

This lab follows a detailed three step process.

“The kids will get their own graph paper and they will draw out their design, whatever they want to do, and then they will type it into a computer into something called G-code, which then will send over to our computer that is connected to our laser cutter and print it out for them,” Dorado said.

Dr. Amanda Serenevy is the executive director of the math center. She believes that these kinds of labs could lead to a possible future career.

“I think it’s important to give kids of all ages a chance to see how math is connected to exciting projects that they would like to make and things that they might like to do in real life later on,” Serenevy said. “A lot of the things that we are doing here directly lead to careers that they could undertake.”

And for the students who may not be as interested in STEM, Serenevy says the center could still provide a new learning experience.

“In some cases, they don’t specifically want an engineering or manufacturing career, but they want the experience of what it’s like to work in the real world,” she said. “So, they are here to get that kind of work experience.”

For Dorado, it’s a very rewarding experience.

“My favorite part is basically just helping the kids make their medallions and seeing them smile when they see it.”

And these labs continue with a different program each week. To learn more, head to the center’s website.