Sen. Patty Kuderer, D-Bellevue, recently co-taught a math lesson in an eighth-grade Algebra I class at Stella Schola Middle School in Redmond.

Kuderer was invited into the classroom by National Board Certified teacher Brigitte Tennis. The two led the lesson on the core concepts of logical thinking and perseverance using a problem involving gummy bears on gymnastics teams. After solving the original problem, students were given an enrichment extension so they could apply the pattern they had discovered to move gummy bears on mats from one side to the other, within given parameters.

Student Sarrah Khan commented, “This was a hard problem to solve, but I feel proud that we worked on it until we found a pattern!”

Kuderer was impressed that students could verbalize the patterns they had discovered.

“These students are sharp! I was encouraged to see them work together in their pairs to find solutions,” Kuderer said.

Kuderer has been a strong advocate for public education, and spoke with the class about her own experiences as a student, and now as a mom. During last year’s classroom visit to Tennis’ classroom, Kuderer was still serving in the House of Representatives. She discussed her transition to the Senate and her plans to work across the aisle on education priorities in the 2018 legislative session.

As a freshman senator, Kuderer has also been a champion for legislation to improve voting access. She asked students if registering citizens to vote when getting a driver license is a good idea — it won unanimous support from the class.

Tennis, a veteran teacher in the Lake Washington School District, has invited legislators into her classroom to co-teach for the past five years.

“Co-teaching really gives legislators a hands-on view into a modern classroom and what teaching young people is about,” she said.

Tennis says by participating in the classroom legislators can make more informed decisions about education when they are in session because they bring first-hand knowledge of a working classroom to the table.