By Sarah Sikandar
Signal Staff Writer
Ken Newton has taken his elementary school math lessons from the classroom to the warehouse.
Newton, who teaches at Fair Oaks Ranch Community School in Canyon Country, has built a 12-year tradition of an annual field trip in partnership with Costco. It started when Newton was looking for fun ways to end the school year and has become a fun end-of-the-year event he calls Math Amazing Race around the store.
Students from grades five and six ask Costco team members approximately 30 questions. The fun event was back at Costco this year after a COVID-19 hiatus of two years, giving these kids a chance to peek into real-life math.
Aliza Kazi, a fifth-grader from Newton’s class, said the trip was both fun and educational and they learned a lot of new things, like how much some things cost in the store. “The prices are way more than I expected. Way more.”
Students also got to ask employees about their bosses and how much money they made in 2021. Kazi and her friends were all accolades for one of their favorite teachers.
“He’s very creative. Most teachers don’t usually have such trips, and he lets us be creative with these trips and other fun activities like podcasts. He’s a very nice teacher.”
Newton returns the love every year by holding the annual Math Amazing Race, and by inviting his former students to share their achievements and struggles with his current students.
“It started off very grassroots level. From coming out here for a few minutes initially to now, it has culminated into a much larger event. Today, we asked a variety of math questions and lots of fun, geeky trivia questions like the number of chickens they’ve sold, their No. 1 product, etc.”
The team had 60 minutes to answer nearly 35 questions.
Costco Santa Clarita’s Warehouse Manager Elias Rahhal said that such events are a part of Costco’s adoption of local schools with limited access to government funding, including reading programs and backpack assistance. These kids, he added, get their field trip, and apply real-life experiences and math to this adventure.
“They were asking me a multitude of questions, some of which even challenged my knowledge base and I had to actually go get the answer for them and come back,” he said with a smile.
Newton said that the community and the school are appreciative of such partnerships, especially because what the kids learn in school, they can apply it out there. “This was a good day. These kids are enthusiastic and fun.”