IVA's mathematics curriculum, Connected Math Project 3 (CMP3), presents students with robust and real-life problems – like deriving a formula for maximizing profit of a bike rental company. Students, not the textbook and not the teacher, do the high-level thinking about numbers and numerical relationships to come up with the problem's solution.
Students are also challenged with a Problem of the Week, which sometimes takes more than one week to complete. A POW requires more sustained thinking to solve -- often, students won't find an answer the first day. To see a real-life example of a POW that have puzzled and mathematicians check out this quick article on NPR. For a slightly longer explanation of the sort of mathematical practices that these home thinking assignments encourage read this article on seeing math students as sense-makers rather than mistake-makers. A POW write-up includes five sections: problem statement, process, solution, extension, and self-reflection. POWs are an opportunity for students to not only find a solution that works, but also to write about their thought process and explain their thinking.
IVA's math teacher's role is to lead students to discover patterns and formulas in the topics being explored. Students are given the space and encouragement to make conjectures, find counterexamples, and discuss other perspectives. Mental engagement and discussion is encouraged over note-taking. The aim is for students to develop a deep understanding of the topics through engagement, rather than writing down steps to memorize later.
Through practice, writing, deep thinking and problem-solving, students grow not only in the intellectual virtues, but also toward demonstrating mastery of Common Core State Standards in mathematics. Sometimes is it hard to imagine what a math classroom might look like that has such a mixture of deep conceptual understanding and practice. See our video, Math in a Minute at IVA, to step inside the classroom.
Home thinking will mostly take the form of the POW but students will also periodically have more traditional problems to practice skills. Read more about the POW directions and grading: POW_Directions_and_Rubric.pdf
Scope & Sequence Mathematics Classes:
Syllabus for Mathematics Classes:
Syllabus for math-related Computer Science Classes: