Studies show math is the most-feared academic class. But a local teacher has found a way to sweeten the subject.
Erica Castillo teaches math to seventh graders at Somerset Junior High. She was awarded the KENS 5 SACU Golden Apple ExCEL Award for her creative teaching style that is helping her students develop a taste for math.
Using a Twizzler licorice stick, Erica Castillo has her students figure out the area of the circle. When they get the right answer, they not only get a good grade, but another reward.
"They love doing the work when they get a sweet treat at the end. They can eat the candy once they've found the right answer," said Castillo.
"When they first come in to my class at the beginning of the year they say math is difficult and they do not like math," said Castillo.
But she has found the formula for changing those attitudes using candy and other means to motivate the students.
"I used to not like math at all but then I started to love it a lot when I got in here," said seventh grader Savanna Barry
Castillo shows how math is needed everyday.
"She doesn't give up on us," said seventh grader Hector Serrano.
Nor does she let them give up on themselves. She uses math to teach the much bigger lesson of the dedication and hard work it takes to be successful .
"I want them to learn how to reach a goal, teach them how to work hard at something they don't want to do," Castillo said. "Math is something they don't usually want to do. Mastering math concepts is not easy but it is achievable."
"I want them to understand the effort it takes to be successful and grow up to be an adult and understand the realities of life. I want them to understand they can achieve if they work hard."
In this gifted teachers class, it's a lesson students often find easy to swallow.