The goal of the Mathematics Department at the Carmel Campus is that all of our students understand and appreciate the mathematics they are studying; that they can read it, write it, explore it, and communicate it with confidence; and that they will be able to use mathematics as they need to in their lives. The goal is that the students, not the teacher or a textbook, be the source of mathematical knowledge. As a result, each student is able to thrive at the pace that best suits them to reach their fullest potential mathematically. Therefore, our students are also then best prepared for entry into Stevenson’s Pebble Beach Campus.
To accomplish these goals, we schedule math at the same time each day for K-5. We use a highly individualized approach to teaching math in grades 6-8 that has benefits well beyond antiquated tracking approaches to teaching math. We believe that problem solving (investigating, conjecturing, predicting, analyzing, and verifying), followed by a well-reasoned presentation of results, is central to the process of learning mathematics, and that this learning happens most effectively in a cooperative, student-centered classroom.
We see the following tenets as essential to our curriculum:
- that algebra is important as a modeling and problem-solving tool, with sufficient emphasis placed on technical facility to allow conceptual understanding;
- that geometry in two and three dimensions be integrated across topics at all levels and include coordinate and transformational approaches;
- that the study of vectors, matrices, counting, data analysis, and other topics from discrete mathematics be woven into core courses;
- that computer-based and calculator-based activities be part of our courses;
- that all topics be explored visually, symbolically, and verbally;
- that developing problem-solving strategies depends on an accumulated body of knowledge.
Our intention is to have students assume responsibility for the mathematics they explore—to understand theorems that are developed, to be able to use techniques appropriately, to know how to test results for reasonability, to learn to use technology appropriately, and to welcome new challenges whose outcomes are unknown.
The curriculum is problem-centered rather than topic-centered. The purpose of this format is to have students continually encounter mathematics set in meaningful contexts, enabling them to draw, and then verify, their own conclusions.
Our pedagogy demands that students be active contributors in class each day; they are expected to ask questions, to share their results with their classmates, and to be prime movers of each day’s investigations. The benefit of such participation in the students’ study of mathematics is an enhanced ability to ask effective questions, to answer fellow students’ inquiries, and to critically assess and present their own work. The goal is that the students, not the teacher or a textbook, be the source of mathematical knowledge. As a result, each student is able to thrive at the pace that best suits them to reach their fullest potential mathematically. The teachers provide individual assessment throughout the year for every student, thus helping to foster skills and content mastery that are unique and relative to every student.