Math Night Presentation and Parent Resources

We enjoyed seeing so many of you at math night! For those who missed it and would like to see what was covered, the presentation is here. Also, here’s a general overview of our main themes for each year of math at SGS:

SGS takes a balanced approach to math instruction, with both computational skills and conceptual understanding being emphasized throughout. Our classes are untracked and heterogeneous, and students spend some of their class time working collaboratively on difficult tasks. We are developing mathematical thinkers for the 21st Century, and we realize that our approach may feel unfamiliar to some students and parents. Some great resources for parents who want to learn more:

  • Jo Boaler’s Mathematical Mindsets book. Everyone who cares about math education should read this book. Here’s a review and a link to a sample chapter. A very readable overview of the research around teaching and learning math, by a leading scholar.
  • Common Core Math for Parents for Dummies by Christopher Danielsen, who also blogs about Talking Math with Your Kids. A short, practical guide that provides context for the goals behind the Common Core Standards, as well as specific tips for supporting students when they come to you with homework questions. While SGS is not bound by the Common Core Standards as an independent school, our students are very well prepared for Common Core-based math classes in high school.

Parents sometimes express concern about their daughters’ fluency with arithmetic. This is something we address in class through number talks and ample opportunities to apply arithmetic, but sometimes students and families want guidance on what more to do at home to shore up those arithmetic skills. Playing games is a great way to do this. Check out the Prime Climb board game, for example. There are also some great apps that are worth checking out: try Wuzzit Trouble for general number sense, and (if you’re an iOS user) some of the Motion Math games for integers and proportional reasoning.

Physics Phenomena Phun Phair


A few links to get the brainstorming juices flowing…

Forces and Motion Archives – The Lab

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Forces and Motion Science Fair Projects

forces and motion science fair projects – forces and motion experiments, forces and motion projects, forces and motion projects with full instructions and explanations

Force and movement

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Mechanics (Force & Motion)

A set of very simple experiments featured by Exploratorium, each one with details on materials, assembly, how can be done, and an explanation of the physical laws involved.

Can You Solve These 5 Physics Phenomena?

In his latest video, Derek of Veritasium demonstrated 5 phenomena in physics. How is it possible to find the center of mass on a cane by yourself, but not

Rocket Exploration in Science

The 8th graders have been exploring the physics of Forces and Motion for the past few months.  As part of that exploration, they recently tried their hands at rocketry.  The students had to 1.  Figure out how to turn a matchstick and some aluminum foil into a functioning rocket and 2.  Explain the physics involved in shooting that functioning rocket into the air.  The biggest requirement was that they do this SAFELY.  I am happy to say that all involved passed this safety test and learned that rocketry is not as easy as it looks!  The 8th graders will be able to learn more about the challenges of rocketry as they tour the Blue Origin Rocket Factory with female rocket scientists on an upcoming field trip.  Check out the below photos and video for a peek into the action from the past few weeks, and stay tuned for more info on the January Rocket Factory Field Trip.

Matchstick rocket

Uploaded by Carly Reiter on 2016-10-27.

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Next Schools roll out this week

This week in class meeting we went over the Family Conversation Assignment (on the 2nd page of this Next Schools document), due 11/1/16 in Advisory. Your student is assigned this conversation with some guiding questions and your signatures. Also shared was the High School organization sheet for students to keep and use as they organize the information they collect about various high school options.

We also talked collectively about the expectations around how they are talking about high schools. Students agreed to being cognizant of the way they are speaking about schools. For example, we encouraged students to speak from “I” perspectives such as, “I really like _______program at_________school,” and staying away from making broad generalizations or ranking schools as “better” or “worse.” The high school process can be stressful and we want the community to be supportive of all students and families as they navigate this transition. We ask you to reinforce this type of conversation at home.

Math overview

Hello parents/guardians! One of the questions from back to school night was “What are students doing in 8th grade math”?

Here is an overview of 8th grade math curriculum. skmbt_c552d16102012210

Also, here is the Algebra Connections (College Preparatory Mathematics) Parent Guide to support you working with your daughter. This is a more traditional parent guide with an overview of topics, example and practice problems.

I do believe math is about much more than just teaching algebra. I shared my math beliefs with the students:

  • Every student is math capable
  • There are many ways to be “smart” in math
  • Math is about creativity and making sense
  • Math needs to be relevant
  • Mistakes are valuable
  • Questions are more important than answers