Math Adventures

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Updates and News

  • Wednesday Morning Math

    Posted October 30

    An opportunity to delve into problem-solving.

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  • Math Over the Summer?

    Posted May 21

    Summer at its best is all about a change in pace: A reprieve from the over-scheduled weeks of the school year. There is time for kids to go to a pool or the beach, explore the woods, have fun at camp, enjoy stretches of play time with friends, and simply hang out! Wow, to think that they might even have the chance to say “I’m bored!” sounds like music to my ears. It is a wonderful time for kids to read and to continue growing as readers. Likewise, it is an opportune time for children to keep exploring numbers and thinking about math in the world around them.

    While reinforcing math skills during the summer, parents must be careful not to do more harm than good by overemphasizing rote drill work. It simply isn’t true that to be good at math means to be fast at computation. Some of the world’s greatest thinkers, scientists and mathematicians have not been fast at arithmetic; however, they became famous for their higher-level thinking skills. Certainly it is important that children learn to add, subtract, multiply and divide efficiently and quickly and that they learn their basic facts without having to figure them out or count them on their fingers, but computational facility is only part of a comprehensive math foundation. Children need time to develop an understanding of mathematical concepts and opportunities to think and reason, to solve problems in a variety of contexts. Instead of sending kids off to do hours of drill work on their own, children can practice their math facts in a variety of interesting contexts and families can play fun games that develop mathematical thinking.

    Here are some general goals to keep in mind for your children over the summer:

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  • Math Phobic? Hopefully not!

    Posted September 5

    For even the slightest hint of math phobia, I highly recommend this article published in the Wall Street Journal on August 29th.

    WSJ.com - A Worksheet for Math-Phobic Parents

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  • Singapore Math

    Posted October 13

    Ever since the New York Times mentioned the Sidwell Friends School (SFS) in an article about Singapore Math, we have been receiving emails and telephone calls with questions. Are you using Singapore Math? (yes) Has the Lower School adopted a new program? (No)Did Lower School rewrite its math curriculum? (No) If SFS Lower School students took those international math exams, would they be ranked at the top? (We are getting there!)

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  • The Math Corner - Addition Strategies

    Posted October 18
    One of our goals in the Lower School math program is to expose students to a variety of ways to perform operations and to a variety of strategies for solving problems. Learn more about how we teach these strategies.
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  • The Math Corner: How Properties are Basic to Arithmetic

    Posted November 1

    We all use the commutative, associative and distributive properties when working with whole numbers and so do our children. You might think a column discussing these properties is “too mathematical” for parents of young students but in fact understanding the relationship between these properties and basic numeric operations is the foundation of arithmetic.

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  • The Math Corner: More on Subtraction

    Posted November 15

    Many parents are surprised to see their children using alternative subtraction strategies when it comes to multi-digit problems, but these strategies are just as efficient as the standard algorithm they are wedded to. These strategies make mental computation easier and they work well on paper.

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  • The Math Corner: Encouraging the Development of Several Strategies

    Posted November 8
    Students invent wonderful computational methods when the teachers embed tasks in simple contexts. From the very start, teachers are presenting story problems which in turn naturally foster the development of a variety of strategies.
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  • THE MATH CORNER – Great Math Books to Read with Your Kids

    Posted December 17

    Here are some suggestions for great books that discuss a math concept. These books are great read together books so you can talk about the concepts while you read! We'll run lists with additional books from time to time.

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  • THE MATH CORNER – Games are a great way to learn math

    Posted October 24

    On the news this week, there were a number of stories about the new Monopoly game – the newly released edition uses debit cards instead of money! No more counting out your money to pay your fines or to pay for houses. No more figuring out if you got the right amount of change. Instead, you just sweep your plastic debit card and the calculator tells you how much money you have!

    We love games as a way for kids to learn math. While this new edition Monopoly may not strengthen your child’s math skills, there are so many games that do – games that require kids to count and add and compare and build.

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