teachers come together to teach program known as AMPED


photo courtesy of Scott Beaver

In the 2020-2021 school year, the AMPED class designed their own skateboards at the end of the school year.

Molly Brim, Asst. Sports Editor

In 2005, teachers from Loveland High School in Colorado, Scott Burke and Tom Moore, decided to create a program that combines math and business. Burke and Moore spent 16 months together and were able to launch Geo-Construction and Algebra 1 in materials, products, energy and design, known as AMPED. The main projects they wanted students to do in AMPED were ping pong ball launchers, air skimmers and a t-shirt business. The same teachers also created another program, Geometry in Construction.

In 2016, math teacher Kevin O’Gorman met with Burke and Moore to discuss the program that can hopefully be put into the Rockwood curriculum for schools. 

“Well for the math side, the year before that, they sent me to a meeting with someone from Colorado who made the program and hear about what they had to offer. They wanted to brainstorm some more engaging classes to Rockwood and I said Algebra 1 sounds fun and I want to teach it,” O’Gorman said.

After hearing about the original program in Colorado from Burke and Moore, O’Gorman was ecstatic to start teaching this at Lafayette. Since O’Gorman was going to teach the Algebra part to this, he had to find someone who would be just as ecstatic as him to teach the business side. 

Business Department Chair Scott Beaver first heard about this program from Terry Hayes, a former business teacher who taught Accounting, Personal Finance, Sports Management and Computer Applications. 

“[Hayes] saw this class and kind of loved it. Since I was the department chair I sat in on the meeting and heard about it. After hearing about it I thought it sounded spectacular. We kind of discussed in the business department who made sense to teach it. Since he was close to retirement we didn’t want to get him trained then him retire, so I said ‘let’s do it, let’s try it,’” Beaver said.

Before starting the program at Lafayette, Beaver and O’Gorman traveled to Colorado, this time together, to get to know each other.

“We actually had never really met before or really talked to each other before so it was kind of new because we didn’t know who each other were. We took a trip to Colorado together in 2017 and kind of got to know each other,” Beaver said.

You can make math apply to anything. We got 10 watermelons, no one cares about that. It’s hard to find ways to make it meaningful, not just for show. ”

— Math teacher Kevin O'Gorman

Beaver and O’Gorman decided to adjust some of the original projects so they could fit both math and business as well as apply to real life solutions.

“We tweaked those and we make the new ones based on what we think makes sense to go well with business and math. One of our key projects for our class is building and manufacturing. What could we build or test out that would give us some numbers and make sense in business and the real world that you could also use with math,” O’Gorman said. 

With math being a huge part of this program, some solutions had to be changed to involve business and create a balance between the subjects.

“I think what’s hard is a lot of the ideas seem pretty easy, but with math, the numbers have to work. Sometimes the data we collect we will have to adjust it to make it work with the math,” Beaver said.

From years of teaching this program, O’Gorman wants students to learn the idea of math being more than just numbers on a piece of paper.

“Especially on the math side, math is more than just numbers on a page. It can be applied to real situations. I can understand how numbers are important and understand it in real life,” O’Gorman said.

With a love for teaching business, Beaver hopes students can learn to see why he loves the business side of the program.

“In business, there’s not really one thing that I want them to know, but I want them to be good at working together, problem solving and communicating. Those are huge skills. So are customer service skills and designing. Just really being able to think together but also think on their own and problem-solve. Those are the big ones for me, just being able to do those skills,” Beaver said.

After years of doing projects, Beaver and O’Gorman’s favorite project in the program is the Starburst Lab.

“We put starburst and washers in a cup and cover up the cup so you can’t see what’s in it. We tell you how many items are in it. They weigh the cup, the starburst, the washers. They use system of equations to predict how many of each are in the cup,” O’Gorman said.

Freshmen AMPED class show off their fresh t-shirts they just learned how to press. (photo courtesy of Scott Beaver)

The AMPED t-shirt business is a hit among different clubs at LHS like Key Club and National Honor Society, as well as middle and elementary schools in Rockwood.

“We did the Ms. Ingram fight shirts, those were a big hit. We do the battle of the books with the elementary school libraries each year,” Beaver said. “A lot of the elementary schools have really started to use us quite a bit. Wildwood Middle this year has used us a couple times. It’s weird. We have some of the same, then random ones that pop up all the time.”

Knowing the strong reputation the AMPED program has, Wildwood Middle School Assistant Principal Anthony Lasley reached out to Beaver and O’Gorman to set up an order for the 6th and 7th Graders.

“I reached out to Mr. O’Gorman and Mr. Beaver early in the year to coordinate the t-shirts. I was familiar with AMPED and the quality of service they provided. I also wanted to collaborate with one of the high schools which feed into Wildwood Middle, so both schools could be represented and share in this,” Lasley said.

Lasley has been in the Rockwood district for seven years, four of those years at Lafayette. Lasley enjoys the AMPED program and knows how beneficial the program is for the district.

Current AMPED freshman student Mylania Mcintyre first heard about this class in 8th Grade during a presentation of classes offered at Lafayette.

“Well when I was in 8th grade doing the presentation for what high school would be like, there was this class that you could get credits for and I thought that was cool. So I took it and I really like it,” Mcintyre said.

Mcintyre enjoys making t-shirts and has learned how to use and navigate Adobe on the computer, as well as the essentials of business.

Former AMPED student and sophomore Landon Griesbach’s favorite part about the class was learning how to apply skills he never thought he would use.

“I really liked how [the class] really just applied skills that you always asked in class, asking ‘when would you ever use this.’ I actually did use that stuff for making t-shirts and design. I really liked that part about it,” Griesbach said.

With all of the projects the classes have done, Griesbach enjoyed pressing t-shirts and designing on Adobe.

“Always pressing t-shirts was a lot of fun. Designing stuff on the computers and having competitions to see who made the best design was always kind of fun,” Griesbach said