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.

Warm Beach Update and Pictures

Hitting the high ropes course at camp! This activity has the theme “challenge by choice,” and everyone has the opportunity to take on whatever is challenging to each person. For some, that is putting on the harness. For others, it’s doing the entire high ropes course 30 feet up and finishing with a free fall swing. The main goals are that students are communicating, asking for what they need and supporting one another. It’s amazing to see folks step into the courage zone! They are asked to take something they are proud of from the course into their 8th grade year.

Design Wars

8th Grade Orientation and Week 1: Design Wars Challenge

On Wednesday, students shared their designs to transport the 8th grade teachers’ “Precious Cargo” around Green Lake. A perfect way to start the year, this engineering challenge combined community building, collaboration, and creativity. Students pitched their designs, complete with modeled prototypes, jingles, and “twitter length” descriptions. For teachers, it was very fun to share a little about ourselves and see the quirky contraptions they came up with to accommodate our “precious cargo”, including pets, partners, kids, african violets, and Yoda. Check out these pictures from the project!

Here’s a link to the Design Wars assignment overview.

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