Our recent Lower School Math Night, held Thursday Oct. 29th, was well attended by families from preschool through fifth grade. Problem-based mathematics, Singapore math, conceptual understanding and math-fact fluency were explored and highlighted throughout the evening in parent participation, student work, and teacher presentations.
The evening began with parents working on a challenging card trick – an open-ended problem-solving experience similar to the activities in which our students engage here at school. Parents worked independently or collaboratively on the Massoud Steps of the Hajjar STEM center as fifth-grade students acted as facilitators, suggesting that parents use strategies including: try something and then adjust, use logic, or work backwards. Many parents experienced both frustration and eventual elation after working hard to solve this challenging problem.
The walls of the Hajjar STEM center were covered with a variety of Lower School student math work, so families could see how our students use bar models, algorithms and their own strategies to solve challenging problems.
Lower School math specialist, Cecily Gottling, chair of the math department, John King, Lower School principal, Kim Lewis, and assistant principal, Susan Abramson, alongside Lower School faculty Tim Coyne, Rachel DiGiovanni, Tricia Fiore, Jennifer Koteles, Jessica Rullo and Michael Rodenbush all took part in explaining the rationale for the various components of our math curriculum as well as how each year builds skills and concepts toward the next grade level from our early childhood program through fifth grade and beyond.
John King described the philosophy of the Middle and Upper School math curriculum and how the program in those divisions rests upon the strong foundational work students do in Lower School.
The evening culminated with insightful questions and comments from families. We hope the evening provided a window into the type of work and thinking children are doing in mathematics here at the Lower School. We look forward to future events designed to build a strong parent-school partnership in developing the math talent of all our students.