Mathematics is deliberately incorporated into themes and the daily life of the classroom. It also needs to be taught independently. It is important to balance our exploration of different math “strands” such as geometry and algebra with foundational arithmetic skills. In this way students become capable mathematicians who are excited by the wonder of numbers. Communication in math is key to students’ conceptual understanding, and students learn to develop their ability to explain their math thinking both orally and in writing.
Prairie Creek teachers draw from an array of sources to craft math education that addresses student needs and interests. Math professional development is an ongoing focus for the staff since it is much more challenging (and rewarding) to deeply understand children’s numeracy than to simply deliver a prepared curriculum. Teachers draw curriculum materials from a variety of programs, including:
A master of math assessment, Burns’ work helps us see the difference between “understanding” a concept and “doing” math. Burns’ curriculum focus on math communication, problem solving and conceptual understanding built with manipulatives.
A program out of the University of Chicago that emphasizes problem solving, data handling, and algebraic skills
Teachers and students especially like the bar models this curriculum teaches as a way to approach problem solving and algebra.
A curriculum that breaks down early numeracy skills and teaches them explicitly
Lessons that focus on mental math skills and constructing an understanding of arithmetic concepts
Hands-on lessons that teach math concepts through projects
Math instruction at each grade level looks different, but if you walked into a classroom you would always see children working toward solving problems efficiently, using math in real-world settings, talking about math and developing their understanding through the use of appropriate manipulatives (physical items designed to model mathematical concepts).
Want to practice some engaging math practice at home? We invite parents + students to spend some time investigating a fun, challenging array of math lessons, games, and interactivity on our Learning Resources page.
We have made video explanations of some of the algorithms we use at Prairie Creek.