UCLA Partnership with Bethany Baptist Church Supports Summer Learning

By Joanie Harmon  | GSE&IS Ampersand

Six-week LAUNCH Academy provides STEM learning for elementary and middle students, instructional tools for teachers.

While on a field trip to UCLA, young students in the summer LAUNCH Academy took a tour of the campus, including several iconic sites. Using mathematical techniques and concepts, the children figured out how many steps there are in the Janss Steps and studied patterns and geometric shapes in the architecture of Royce Hall.

Janene Ward of the UCLA Mathematics Project, coordinated the first three weeks of the six-week academy. She describes the hands-on STEM learning opportunity for K- 8th graders.

Students in the UC’s LAUNCH Academy learn STEM principles at UCLA’s iconic inverted fountain on a field trip to the Westwood campus. Courtesy of Janene Ward

“I struggled with math,” she recalls. “It did not make sense to me. I did well in math because I memorized, but that fell apart in 9th grade. It wasn’t until a math class in college when a professor told the class that math is all about patterns and relationships. I thought, ‘Why didn’t someone say this at the beginning?’”

Overseen by UCLA’s Center X and Bethany Baptist Church of Los Angeles, the LAUNCH Academy provides innovative math and science learning opportunities based on university research. The teachers selected to teach in this program are from schools throughout Los Angeles and are all connected to the UCLA Mathematics Project and the UCLA Science Project, two of Center X’s subject matter initiatives.

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