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Students use math skills to create tribute to veterans
Tadmore Elementary’s Isaiah Billue works on the blue portion of a giant U.S. flag being painted Thursday afternoon on a hillside next to the school for Veterans Day.

Tadmore Elementary students are putting their American pride on display in a big way.

Fifth-graders are celebrating Veterans Day by spray-painting a giant American flag on the school lawn in conjunction with a math project.

Tadmore Elementary Principal Robin Gower said students used ratios and proportions to transfer their small American flag hanging in their classroom to the school lawn. Students also used math to measure how much paint to use per foot. Students will use 100 spray cans to paint the flag.

"I really believe if we want our kids to have an understanding (of math) and not just head knowledge, they’ve really got to have their hands in it," Gower said.

Tadmore fifth-grader Natalie Valencia said she put her math skills to work to ensure the flag turned out well.

"We had to measure how long it was going to be and how wide and how big the square was
going to be so the painting would be perfect," she said. "... It might take us a couple days, but we’ll get it done."

Gower said she first did the project after Sept. 11, 2001, when she was an eighth-grade math teacher at Buford Middle School. She said the project also involves American history and the important role military service plays in preserving the freedoms of the American people.

She said students learn how the American flag’s red stripes symbolize the blood shed to establish and preserve the United States, the white stripes stand for the purity of the nation’s founding beliefs, while blue symbolizes loyalty. Gower said the 13 stripes represent the original colonies while the 50 stars represent the 50 states in the union.

She said the flag project culminates with a Veterans Day celebration Wednesday when the East Hall High School JROTC unit will present the colors. Fifth-graders will share with the student body their projects on the history of the American flag, of America’s wars and the meaning of Veterans Day.

"So many of our children are not native, so we’re teaching them what it means to be an American and this is one of our symbols," Gower said of the flag. "We want them to have pride and so many of them do, and that’s why they came here. They need to understand what our freedom means."