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Today there is an on-going debate as to the most effective way to teach math.

Stress the Basics

Provide a foundation of arithmetic and mathematic skills e.g. addition, subtraction, multiplication, division of whole numbers, fractions, decimals, etc.

Teach Concepts

  • Show how math is used in the real world
  • Problem solving using multiple math concepts
  • Discuss with others how one solves a problem (there are many ways to get to the “right” answer)
  • Integrate with science and other disciplines

Plumfield Academy mathematics curriculum uses a combination of both. We seek first, to solidify arithmetic, mathematic concepts and problem solving skills; then, integrate mathematics with other academic disciplines and life experience. This broadens and deepens mathematic skills and demonstrates the usefulness of math.

The Massachusetts Department of Education Mathematic Curriculum Framework (2000) identifies five (5) areas for mathematical study: Number Sense and Operations; Patterns, Relations and Algebra; Geometry; Measurement; Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability. These areas of study and the grade level learning standards are used as a guide for Plumfield Academy students.

Grades 1 to 3 use the Math-U-See or Singapore Math programs; grades 4-8 use the Saxon Mathematics series complimented by Math-U-See.

Each day students work in their individual math text completing at least one lesson and problem set. Completion means correcting and re-working the problems which were found to be answered incorrectly. Tests are administered in accordance with the text schedule.

A “Playing With Numbers” session involves a team of students seeking to solve various multi-leveled mathematical problems. These problems integrate other disciplines e.g. science, geography, etc. and life experiences e.g. cooking, carpentry, etc.

Partner flash cards and individual math facts speed drills provide mastery in simple addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, percents, measurements, geometry, algebra, number sense, math language.

Saxon Math is unique because the entire program is based on introducing a topic to a student and then allowing them to build upon that concept as they learn new ones. Topics are never dropped but are instead increased in complexity and practiced every day, providing the time required for concepts to become totally familiar.

This incremental approach to math differs from most traditional programs, which are “chapter-based.” In these traditional texts, students are presented with, and expected to learn, an entire mathematical concept in one day. The work for that day consists of twenty or thirty problems, all of which deal with that concept. The topic is then only reviewed prior to a test, if at all.

Saxon Math, however, divides concepts into smaller, more easily grasped pieces called increments. A new increment is presented each day and students work only a few problems involving the new material. The remaining work consists of practice problems involving concepts previously introduced. Thus, every assignment (and every test) is a cumulative review of all material covered up to that point. It makes teaching and learning simpler and more straightforward.