In the Baltimore Sun, columnist Gregory Kane profiles a black engineering professor who’s turning inner-city kids on to math. “Most of the Ph.D.s in math are going to foreign students,” says Charles Johnson-Bey. He’s coaching Team America.
Last week, for the third consecutive year, the 38-year-old electrical engineering professor at Morgan held his one-week math, science and engineering summer camp for 5- to 10-year-olds.
In five short days, Johnson-Bey taught the kids how to read their electric meters at home, how to build circuits and create a programmable robot to do basic movements, how to build a miniature flying saucer. He gave them a rudimentary familiarity with Ohm’s law and had them write a short play and program it into a computer to generate a short animated video.
And there were the 25 math problems Johnson-Bey gave the 13 children in the program for homework. It’s Johnson-Bey’s way of getting Americans ready to answer the challenge of Team China and Team Japan.
“I want to show them the application of math in everything they do,” Johnson-Bey said. “I’m trying to get the kids excited about math.”
Johnson-Bey is a graduate of Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, a mostly black public school that’s one of the top-scoring schools in Maryland. Calculus is a required class at Poly.