The Reggio Emilia philosophy believes that math is understood and mastered through real life problem solving; through direct experimentation and observation, math concepts are learned. Math is about manipulating things: objects, shapes, concepts, and relationships; reproducing and documenting; and constructing, building, and estimating. Children have direct, concrete experiences in the real world in which to explore and incorporate mathematical concepts and skills: seeing snow accumulate day after day is a way to understanding increase in quantity; carrying a large boulder teaches about mass; swinging on a rope teaches about force, angles, and speed. Field trips, extensive classroom projects, exploration in nature, observing the weather, for example, are all central to the math curricula.
Our approach to mathematics emphasizes real life problem solving, experience with materials that help to concretize mathematical concepts, and building a community of mathematicians who can think flexibly, solve problems in numerous ways, and explain their thinking. Utilizing the Investigations math curriculum as a basis for instruction, classrooms build routines that integrate math into all aspects of their day. In addition, students have direct experience using math in real world contexts, such as measuring snow fall or exploring concepts of force and speed while playing a game on the playground.
Our math curriculum and instruction include opportunities for reinforcement and extension so that each child can be met at his or her level of proficiency. We utilize small group instruction based on mastery of material and provide appropriate differentiation to meet the needs of all learners. We supplement the Investigations curriculum with additional materials from Marilyn Burns, Everyday Math, and other resources.
Resources we use:
Formative assessments: Classroom activities & projects are part of the assessment portfolio.
Work Sampling System: Geometry & Spatial Relations; Probability & Statistics; Number Concept & Operations; Patterns & Relationships; Approach to Mathematical Measurement/Thinking. (Pre-K – 5th Grade)
Investigations: Unit level assessments; and formative assessment through teacher observation of classroom work.
Assessments: MEA’s (Grades 3 – 5); Iowa Test (Grades 3 – 5)