The overall goal of math education at FSM is to develop mathematically literate students. The study of math should be broad enough to focus on all the strands identified in the NCTM (Common Core) standards.
We hold the following beliefs:
- Students should come to understand that math is used in everyday situations and is a useful tool to solve real problems.
- Students should know that conceptual understanding is vitally important.
- Students should learn to communicate mathematical ideas orally, in writing, and with models.
- Students should learn to be precise.
- Students should enjoy math, be encouraged to use multiple strategies and tools to solve problems, and share their strategies with one another.
- Students should have frequent opportunities to solve problems working both independently and cooperatively.
- Math should be integrated into other subject areas in addition to math study.
- Math should be practiced daily to acquire perseverance and develop problem-solving skills.
Friends School’s approach to math education reflects the school’s progressive philosophy and Quaker traditions. We believe that children build knowledge by actively engaging with their learning. Lessons are structured to be content-rich and to facilitate the sharing of ideas through group work and class discussion. We teach math in a way that encourages and rewards children for asking questions. FSM’s math program seeks to balance active exploration of math ideas with adequate attention to building math skills and preparing students for high school.
Our K-8 math program is guided by NCTM (Common Core) benchmarks as well as Minnesota and local school math practices. The NCTM strands include the following:
- operations and algebraic thinking
- numbers and operations
- measurement and data
- ratios and proportional relationships
- number system
- expressions and equations
- statistics and probability
Resources are chosen based on an on-going review of best math practices. Currently the K-2 program uses Trailblazers by Kendall Hunt, grades 3-5 use GoMath! by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and grades 6-8 use Big Ideas Math by Ron Larson and Laurie Boswell. All grade 5-8 students work independently on the ALEKS program.
Currently all eighth grade students begin the year with high school Algebra I. Students may be assessed mid-year and offered an individualized option for eighth grade math instead of completing Algebra 1.
Scope and Sequence of Benchmarks
The standards taught in grades K-7 including the prerequisites for Algebra 1. Students who master the K-7 material will be able to take Algebra 1 in eighth grade. Students who have not mastered the material will take grade 8 math, the standards of which include rigorous algebra material which will help them transition effectively into Algebra 1 in high school.