Mohawk Trail Regional School welcomes families with Celebration of Learning


Staff Writer

Published: 03-31-2023 6:01 PM

BUCKLAND — Mohawk Trail Regional School opened its doors to students, families and community members on Wednesday, providing a glimpse into the kind of education — ranging in topics from robotics and engineering to civics and art — that happens during the school day.

“This is really our opportunity to share with the community we serve who we are, what we do and how we do it,” said Principal Chris Buckland. “Our student athletes get to shine on a field, court or mountainside. This is a way for our student scholars, artists and musicians to show what we do. It is also an opportunity for our teachers to showcase their expertise.”

A highlight of Wednesday’s Celebration of Learning was three workshops that gave parents inside experience to understand what it is like to be a student today. One workshop, led by a Tapestry sexual and reproductive health outreach coordinator, included a discussion about talking to kids about gender identity and sexuality. A later pair of workshops, hosted by the eighth grade math teachers, saw parents and students collaborate to solve math problems.

“We are giving parents the experience of walking out of math class with a smile,” commented math teacher Laura Rubinaccio.

The class began with no worksheets, only large whiteboards and markers. Participants were divided into random groups and instructed to figure out how to make the most amount of money without giving it away as “taxes.”

The groups were given the numbers one through 12 and told to choose a number to keep for themselves, but all the factors of those numbers were to be taken as taxes. No number could be used twice.

This activity came from the book “Building Thinking Classrooms” by Peter Liljedahl, Rubinaccio explained to the classroom. She said most math classrooms are set up in a way that doesn’t engage all students.

“In a normal classroom, some students are thinking, some are stalling and copying, and some are mimicking,” Rubinaccio said. “This uses other conditions to get students engaged.”

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Rubinaccio and fellow math teacher Caitlin Mans say that using random groups tells students that they all have something to contribute to a group, allowing students to better work together and engage in the material.

They also noted the “vertical workspace,” or using the whiteboards, is a great tool in their classrooms. The whiteboards allow students to experiment, and sometimes fail and try again, while solving the problems they are given. The whiteboards also allow students to look around the room to get ideas from their peers on how to reach the correct answer.

Plus, the problem presented on Wednesday gives “multiple access points” to the material, they said. People interested in math or money, people who dislike taxes or people who enjoy writing on a whiteboard can all take an interest in the task.

“We are getting people talking and laughing,” Mans said. “We are trying to bring them out of traditionally structured classes that don’t work for many people.”

Bella Levavi can be reached at 413-930-4579 or