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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow Making math magical: Eastern Oregon University math teacher Patty Sandoz honored

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Making math magical: Eastern Oregon University math teacher Patty Sandoz honored

Patty Sandoz teaches a math lesson at La Grande Middle School several years ago while wearing her Ms. Mathmagician costume. (Observer file)
Patty Sandoz teaches a math lesson at La Grande Middle School several years ago while wearing her Ms. Mathmagician costume. (Observer file)
The colorful robe hangs motionless in the closet of Eastern Oregon University math teacher Patty Sandoz, a pose which defies the feeling of intellectual energy it conveys. 

The piece of sparkling attire is a teaching tool, which adds color to the black and white world of numbers. It is Sandoz’s “Ms. Mathmagician” costume, one that comes complete with math equations. Sandoz designed it and wears it periodically when teaching. 

“I want to put the fun back in math,” Sandoz said. “I want to show that math does not have to be the dry and boring stuff (students) might have had. Math is a magical subject for everybody.”

Sandoz has lighthearted fun with magical illusions but does not believe in magic. What she does believe in is the ability of virtually everyone to succeed in math.

“Everyone can do well at math,” Sandoz said. 

This belief is serving Sandoz well during a teaching career that recently received an exclamation point.

Sandoz received the prestigious Oscar Schaaf Secondary Mathematics Education Award from the Oregon Council of Teachers of Mathematics. The award was presented during the Oregon Math Leaders Conference earlier this month.

Sandoz was caught totally off guard by the award.

“I was shocked. I had no idea (that I had been nominated),” she said.

For the complete story, see Wednesday's edition of The Observer. 

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