Inside our Classrooms: Math - Winter 2013/2014


The Kindergarten class is learning to add and subtract! The class is solving math problems with the help of manipulatives and math “tricks.” Certain skills include: mentally counting up and down, locating key words or clues in word problems, using ten as your friend, sums to ten and doubles as a way of manipulating math facts to solve easy and hard problems. A complete list of addition and subtraction “tricks” can be found on Miss LaRose’s Edline page, and students should remember to practice flash cards each night. Students can recite sums to ten and doubles “0+0” through “10+10” in the car as extra practice, too. 

First Grade

Confidence and enthusiasm fill the first-grade classroom during the icy winter months as students master two- and three-digit addition and subtraction with regrouping. During a field trip to the Home Depot, first graders put their math skills to the test as they used various tools on site to measure. Students were amazed by all the ways we use measurement in our daily lives. As a culminating activity for the field trip, the children constructed their own bird houses to take home.

Second Grade

Students learned how to multiply and divide, adding two new operations to their mathematical toolboxes. Second graders enjoyed learning how these new mathematical operations offer simplified means of solving complex problems. Through hands-on learning experiences with manipulatives, interactive games, problem-solving opportunities, and daily multiplication challenges, second graders rose to the challenge and were quite impressive in their ability to memorize and apply yet another set of math concepts and basic facts. In the third quarter, students will integrate their new knowledge of multiplication and division to learn about graphs and data charts, fractions, decimals, and different types of measurement.

Third and Fourth Grades
The third and fourth graders have just finished the study of graphing and functions. While this was a new concept to the third graders, the fourth graders eased into the unit like pros. They graphed not only functions, but functions that involved decimals as well as negative numbers. It was exciting to finally incorporate all four quadrants of the graph! 

While weekly challenges still remain a student favorite, some exciting things that are on the horizon for the third graders are multi-digit multiplication and division. It would be beneficial to break out those flashcards or computer games to review multiplication and division facts. Be sure to check out the links that are posted on Mrs. Fowler’s Edline page! Graph paper will also be a great help to keep things lined up just right. The fourth graders are currently working on the metric system, which is aligning perfectly with their science class. They will begin a unit on fractions and decimals in the upcoming weeks. The students are always amazed by the relationship between decimals and fractions.

Both the third and fourth graders are now well underway with the Continental Math League Contest (CMLs). This contest consists of six higher-level thinking questions, and the students are given thirty minutes to complete the contest. Both grades are doing an excellent job, and the students with the highest scores will be given a special award at the end of the year.

Also, be sure to check out the monthly Math and Science Connection (Intermediate Edition) that is sent home with the students at the beginning of every month. There are some fantastic activities that can be done at home, so be sure to check it out!

Fifth Grade

Need help budgeting after all your holiday spending? Ask a fifth grader! Students “shopped” on a budget of $200 in our classroom store this holiday season. Applying their knowledge of percentages, students calculated tax and discount in order to buy gifts for friends and family. Along with percentages and applied consumer mathematics, students experienced a mini-geometry unit as we explored the use of tangrams, geometric figures, in the art of ancient Chinese storytelling. Students wrote and illustrated their own short stories using unique tangram designs. They returned from Winter Break refreshing their ever-important fraction skills and continue to look at how to apply fraction sense to their lives. Third quarter brings the highly anticipated proportion and ratio unit, where students will explore probability and have yet another chance to see how many wonderful ways math is all around us.

Sixth Grade

Sixth graders are soaring through pre-algebra at a scholarly pace. The students have had huge success mastering the use of inverse operations to solve equations, which is no small feat! These imperative skills are part of the foundation students will build upon in Algebra I next year. Sixth graders have so much to be proud of as they have adjusted to the fast-paced, abstract demands of pre-algebra. Students are working on applications of multi-step equations and inequalities, which they will explore further on their March field trip to Marriott Headquarters, when students will get to hear first-hand how various departments use algebraic concepts in the business world. 

Seventh Grade

It’s usually not a compliment to say that someone does the “bare minimum,” but in math that can sometimes be a good thing! Seventh-grade students are experiencing that firsthand as they practice graphing linear equations with maximum efficiency; they are identifying the essential components of a line, such as its y-intercept and slope in order to graph it in a coordinate plane. Students are also learning various skills involving inequalities: solving, graphing, combining, and analyzing them. They’re also applying their understanding of these concepts to real-world situations, such as calculating break-even points for fledgling businesses or figuring out how many games one can bowl given a set amount of money.

Eighth Grade

For any grandparents reading this: What do you remember from the time in school you first learned algebra or geometry? While some may “plead the fifth” to such a question, others might mention some of the following topics eighth graders are currently studying, because they are so foundational (and hopefully memorable). Algebra I students have recently been using the Quadratic Formula to solve quadratic equations, as well as performing operations with radical expressions. Now more than ever, they are realizing the importance of attention to detail, as math rarely wastes a “pencil stroke” on any unnecessary information; therefore, things that look similar but have a minor difference are usually very different. Geometry students recently completed a unit on quadrilaterals and continue to accumulate the definitions, theorems, and postulates that are used to form proofs. They also have begun formally studying logic, which to the casual observer simply employs lots of “ifs, then, and nots,” but, as you can imagine, has many useful applications to geometry.