# Mrs. Cierniak: More than a Math Teacher

April 29, 2012

What would you say if you were asked what would your favorite teacher be like? Many people might say that it would be a teacher who has easy tests and assigns little homework. I would say the opposite. The perfect teacher for me is someone who makes you think outside the box to apply the lessons she teaches. She is a teacher who can create a fun learning environment that makes you want to be in her class. This perfectly describes my seventh grade social studies teacher and eighth grade math teacher Mrs. Cierniak.
Mrs. Cierniak did an amazing job at applying lessons to real life situations. When learning about parabolas we learned how the French used math to create the trebuchet. Each group was then challenged to build their own trebuchet to test the parabola they had created. You had to decipher which factors affected the height and width to launch your projectiles at the most distance. You had the opportunity to change your own machine so that you could correct your mistakes by yourself. She helped us understand our mistakes and by giving us the opportunity to solve them ourselves we are able to apply her lessons.
Another problem we solved was the assassin problem. The situation is a game where there are eight players. Each player is assigned a target. When you eliminate your target, you take their target. This plays out until there are no targets left and one person is the winner. It challenged us to figure out how to assign targets to eight different players without having a group eliminate each other from the game without them being assigned them self and how to keep all players from knowing each other’s targets. There were many solutions. One complicated solution used a deck of eight shuffled cards; each card had two names. When you found the card that has your name on top, you flip it to find that person’s name on the back. Then you find that person’s name on the front of another card. You pick the card under it in the deck and flip that card to its back. The name on the back side of the card is your target. This will work only if the eight people are made into four groups and the cards that belong to each group contain the names on opposite sides. This complicated critical thinking is important when learning algebra. Even though the problem contained no math, arriving at the solution, caused you to use algebraic equations.
However, Mrs. Cierniak was more than just an excellent teacher. She cared about her students a lot. She planned the graduation for her graduating class every year. She taught the students how to work a media maker in order to make a gift to thank our parents. She even gave her time after school to give the students who hadn’t finished a chance to finish. She even finished all of the projects by burning them to disc and putting them in the right case.
Mrs. Cierniak is really a great teacher. The description of a perfect teacher that was in the first paragraph truly describes her. By challenging her students in a fun way that keeps them interested she is making them apply what they learn. She teaches students more than just the intended lesson. This is why she is a teacher worthy of an honor such as Educator of the Year.