Making Math Learning Relevant

Faith Hunter
Dear Families,
 
There is so much to share about what is happening inside these walls each day in our Lower School. Despite the changes, something that remains the same about this year is how your children continue to delight us with their focus, intelligence, willingness to adapt, and joy.
 
Walking around the building this week, I was particularly struck by how vibrant math classes are in our Lower School. In each class, students and teachers use words and images to share how they are thinking about problem-solving. Strategies are shared, defended, proven, and refined. As a result, our students are learning that there are many ways to get to a solution and that thinking about the process is just as important as thinking about the product. I encourage you to peer over your child’s shoulder as they do their math homework and ask them to explain how they solved the problem in front of them.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 




One piece of progressive math education that I’d like to share this week is relevance. At LREI, we teach math in a way that emphasizes its
 applications and allows our children to explore and solve real-world problems. Right now, as students learn about the upcoming election and the importance of voting and having their voice heard, classrooms are engaging in different experiences for students to learn about the voting process while also developing their number sense. Here is a peek into a Kindergarten math investigation:
 
Tammy's students have a very important decision to make: they need to decide on a name for their class pet! They have already brainstormed a variety of names, and now they need to decide on a name that they can all agree on. As they engage in a fair and equal voting process in which they register for their voting card, submit their ballot, and receive an "I voted" sticker, they will practice many of the important math skills that are the foundation of Kindergarten. 
 
Students will explore one-to-one correspondence and counting by ones and twos while preparing for the election, gathering all the materials the class needs, and counting the final votes. They need to make sure they have:
 
  • the right number of ballot cards so that all students and teachers in the class can vote;
  • enough voting stickers for each student and teacher; and
  • two stamps for each voting ballot to be sent in via mail.
 
Students will explore ordering and comparing amounts and numerals when:
 
  • they are narrowing their brainstorm list of names and need to decide on their first, second, and third choice of names; 
  • they calculate their votes from ordering and choose the two names that have the most votes to be the two names on the voting ballot; and
  • they have all the official votes and need to determine the winner.
 
The students will explore representing and analyzing data when:
 
  • they decide how to share their results from the election with other members in the community so they can see who the winner is and how the class decided on the name.
I hope this story piqued your interest. Please lookout for the invitation that will come from your teachers next week about the math coffees we will hold in December. I hope you can join.
 
Warm regards,
 
Faith
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