“There are two versions of math in the lives of many: the strange and boring subject that they encountered in classrooms and an interesting set of ideas that is the math of the world, and is curiously different and surprisingly engaging. Our task is to introduce this second version to today’s students, get them excited about math, and prepare them for the future.” Jo Boaler (What’s Math Got to Do with It?, Penguin 2008)
It’s Numeracy November at MMS and throughout the month MMS staff will have the whole school engaging in a wide variety of math related activities. Events will include:
- S-DAS (Stop Drop and Sudoku) every Thursday
- Mystery Number on Wednesday Nov 9th
- Solve This… every Tuesday Kick off start
- Estimation Jar – One per week
- School wide event on November 25 to close Numbery November
Math is one of those subjects where it seems kids (not just kids) either love it or not. Personally, I would like to change the idea that it’s ok ‘not to be good at math’. This blog post sums up my feelings quite well: ‘Saying ‘I’m not good at maths’ is not cool – negative attitudes are affecting business’. It is important we all promote a positive attitude when it comes to math.
MMS staff are being encouraged to employ new ideas that positively affect student mindsets that can transform students’ experiences with math. A wonderful resource for both parents and teachers is Youcubed from Stanford University. The key to understanding math is making sense of it. Many students believe that math is a set of formulas that have to be remembered – this belief is associated with low achievement. Math is a very creative subject that is, at its core, about visualizing patterns and creating solution paths that others can see, discuss and critique.
The goal of Numeracy Month at MMS is to encourage our kids to enjoy math, to enjoy the process of learning math, to enjoy the struggle of learning something new and to make the math something they can relate to. Being good at math should not be about how fast we can do things in our head or come up with math facts. I recently shared this article with staff at MMS; ‘I turn 40 next month and, for pretty much my whole life, I have felt dumb. I’m not.’ How many of us can relate to that article? Our goal is get our kids to gain a deep understanding of the math they see and do every day and to connect it to the world around them. We want all of our kids to be learners in all areas, including Math. We know they all can.