For some students at Baruch College Campus High School, Angry Birds has been more than an enormous time suck and mental distraction. With the encouragement of their teachers, they have been examining the physics equations that underlie the popular digital game, focusing on their interest in the flying birds to improve their math skills.
That is just one way the teachers at the high school, on East 25th Street, takes a creative approach to math — and a reason why the school was selected as one of 18 national finalists of the annual Intel Schools of Distinction competition.
Baruch was one of three schools, but the only one in New York City, selected for its innovative high school math curriculum. The school won $5,000, a trip for four to Washington in September and a chance at another $20,000 prize, Intel announced Wednesday.
The principal, Alicia Perez-Katz, credited the school’s teachers with making math approachable and fun.
This was the first time the school applied for the prestigious prize, she said. The application, which took 17 hours for her, the assistant principal and the math department to complete, focused on the Baruch Conference for Students of Mathematics, an annual event modeled on professional conferences usually reserved for teachers.
Students present projects and conduct workshops on math concepts that interest them. Gamers have tried to use math to predict the arc of the flying birds and tumbling rocks. Other students have explored photography and math. Sports lovers focus on baseball averages and other statistics.