Mathematics is one of the core subjects and is compulsory for all students. Learning experiences in the maths classroom dominate a student’s acquisition of the foundation skill of numeracy (one of two foundation skills, along with literacy). Key to this is the recognition that each student arrives at their maths classroom with a unique and valuable set of experiences and skills and that a varied, challenging, exciting and supportive environment is necessary in order for every learner to thrive.
Puzzles (e.g. Rubik’s cubes, Sudoku, logic puzzles, brain teasers, open-ended problems), games (e.g. Set, Swish, computer games, backgammon, go), class discussion, physical activities (e.g. knot tying, juggling) and presentations are some of the ways a learner’s mathematical thinking is developed and expanded.
Students are encouraged to think like mathematicians: to look for order; to question; to be suspicious; to be efficient and to find their own path. There is also an emphasis on learning technical skills (e.g. calculating percentages; solving linear equations) in a way that requires the fewest tricks or special operations and that allows for the building-upon of previously acquired skills – a principle that applies from the first day of first year through to the last day of sixth year. A common language for all their mathematics will be agreed upon and enforced and students will be encouraged to build their oral mathematics skills whenever possible.
Content is, whenever possible, presented with as many links to other maths areas as possible and, ideally, with added links to other subjects. Students are encouraged to develop an understanding of both the deep links between seemingly disparate areas of mathematics and the power of mathematics as a tool to expand understanding in all spheres of humanity.
The aim of the mathematics class is twofold: To give all learners the tools with which they can understand and analyse their world and any future world they should encounter; and to give those technically interested students the experiences which will allow them progress to careers which require the everyday use of mathematical ideas.
Various technologies allow for a dynamic maths classroom:
Geogebra will be introduced to the learners in Second Year and they will be encouraged to use this as a guide when they are solving some of the more difficult problems.
Computer games are a medium in which the vast majority of our students feel perfectly comfortable. The language, style, tropes and subtexts of computer games will be taken advantage of.
All class content is shared via OneNote and students are encouraged to take advantage of the sharing and learning opportunities contained within the software.
Microsoft Excel is an incredibly useful tool for use when discussing statistics in the classroom and time will be taken to introduce learners to its complexity, power and idiosyncrasies.