The math department is committed to instilling habits of mind and building skills developmentally and individually appropriate for each learner. We collaborate to develop effective teaching approaches that keep with current research and common best practices. The department’s desired outcome is to develop citizens with a love and appreciation of the power of mathematics and the skills and confidence to succeed in future endeavors. The Upper School Math Department approaches teaching through a student-centered philosophy, getting to know each child and adjusting our approaches to what works best. We integrate direct instruction, discovery, inquiry, collaboration, student presentation, and student discussion in our classes. We strive to help students understand not only new processes and techniques but also the validity, contexts, and purposes surrounding the new skills.
Habits of mind we work to instill in our students: Skills we hope to build in our students:
• Grit, as demonstrated by a combination of determination, confidence, and resilience.
• Mental flexibility, as demonstrated by the willingness and ability to produce, hear, and/or learn multiple approaches to problems.
• Intellectual curiosity and a love of inquiry and tinkering.
• Self-confidence, as evidenced by risk taking, learning from experiences, and remaining patient during the learning process.
• Retention and application of established skills, techniques, and algorithms to new challenges.
• Reasoning, as demonstrated by the desire for and appreciation of logic, both inductive and deductive, and of proof.
• Confirmation, as demonstrated by the regular evaluation of the meaning and reasonableness of one’s conclusions.
• The ability to apply a rule or algorithm to new math problems or real world situations.
• The ability to translate among verbal, numerical, algebraic, and graphical forms.
• The ability to organize and interpret data.
• The ability to see, describe, and verify patterns.
• The ability to successfully communicate processes using appropriate math language.
• The ability to problem solve with and without technology, and to know the advantages of each.
• The ability to problem solve independently and collaboratively.
• The ability to perform age-appropriate number operations without technology and to apply a general numeracy when predicting and evaluating answers.
• The ability to use core features of calculators and other technology in appropriate settings.
• The ability to demonstrate synthesis of concepts by creating subject appropriate questions.