Saint Hilary School’s well-rounded approach to Mathematics instruction emphasizes a balance of mastery in computation, problem-solving, and number sense. These domains are interdependent. Developing number sense depends on learning to compute. Solving problems depends on computation, and deciding whether an answer is reasonable, an important aspect of problem solving, draws on a student’s number sense. Affinity in each of these domains allows our students to apply mathematical concepts in multiple contexts and fosters creativity in mathematical thinking.
The program In Kindergarten to Grade 6 is called Everyday Mathematics. This program emphasizes the application of mathematics in real life. Numbers, skills and mathematical concepts are not presented in isolation, but are linked to situations and contexts that are relevant to everyday life: counting money, telling time, weights and measurements. Lessons include time for whole-group instruction as well as small group, partner, or individual activities. These activities balance teacher-directed instruction with opportunities for open-ended, hands-on explorations, long-term projects and on-going practice.
Throughout the Everyday Mathematics curriculum, students are encouraged to explain and discuss their mathematical thinking, in their own words. Opportunities to verbalize their thoughts and strategies give children the chance to clarify their thinking and gain insights from others.
Enhanced home/ school partnership is a strong component of the program. In Grades K to 3, “Home Links” provide opportunities for family members to participate in their students’ mathematical learning. “Study Links” are provided for most lessons in Grades 4-6, and all grades include periodic letters to help inform parents of their children's experience with Everyday Mathematics.
Grade 7 is an interesting “leap year” in the development of childrens’ mathematical minds. This is the year when students move from generally concrete levels of functioning into the abstract realm. The goal of instruction is for students to gain mathematical power while building their repertoire of concepts and acquiring a command over concrete operations. According to the California Mathematics Framework, “Mathematical power, which involves the ability to discern mathematical relationships, reason logically, and use mathematical techniques effectively, must be the central concern of mathematics education and must be the context in which skills are developed”.
The course is standards based: Mathematics as Problem Solving, Mathematics as Communication, Mathematics as Reasoning, and Mathematical Connections. The content standards, or “strands”, are: Number and Number Relationships, Number Systems and Number Theory, Computation and Estimation, Patterns and Functions, Algebra, Statistics, Probability, Geometry and Measurement.
Algebra One (the majority of our students are placed in this course in their eighth grade years and achieve advanced placement as freshmen in high school):
This course is offered with all of the rigor and demanding content of a high school Algebra course. The goal of this course is for students to gain mathematical power while acquiring a command over the operations with abstract entities that they have already demonstrated having with numbers in all forms (namely fractions, decimals and percents). The students in this course are ready to function at more abstract levels. However, real-world applications enhance the material and basic skills will continue to be reinforced throughout the year. Introduction to Algebra
The goal of this course is for students to gain mathematical power by further developing their understanding of mathematical concepts and by acquiring a greater command over the skills in their repertoire. The students in this course are continuing their transition from more concrete levels of functioning to the abstract. Mastery of and conceptual understanding of concrete operations (operations with fractions, decimals and percents) are the focus of this class. In addition to solidifying these skills and concepts, students are exposed to many of the topics from Algebra, which are typically difficult for Algebra students. This is done so that they will be familiar with these topics and have a strong conceptual base on which to build when they take Algebra One in high school. These include, but are not restricted to, simplifying expressions with radicals and exponents, solving equations with exponents and absolute value, solving inequalities including those that contain absolute value expressions, evaluating and graphing functions, linear equations and graphs, and multiplying and factoring polynomials.