New Mathematics Curriculum Information

Mathematics Information Session – February 7, 2012

The New High School Mathematics Curriculum

Cochrane High has a tradition of mathematics excellence.  We are very proud of this tradition and seek to continue to maintain that tradition of excellence.

 

A positive attitude has a profound effect on learning. Students with positive attitudes toward learning mathematics are likely to be motivated and prepared to learn, to participate willingly in classroom activities, to persist in challenging situations and to engage in reflective practices.  Teachers, students and parents need to recognize the relationship between the affective and cognitive domains and to nurture those aspects of the affective domain that contribute to positive attitudes. To experience success, students must be taught to set achievable goals and to assess themselves as they work toward these goals.

 

The 7 mathematical processes are communication, connections, mental mathematics and estimation, problem solving, reasoning, technology, and visualization.

  • Students must be able to communicate mathematical ideas in a variety of ways and contexts.
  • Through connections, students begin to view mathematics as useful and relevant.
  • Mental mathematics and estimation are fundamental components of number sense.
  • Learning through problem solving should be the focus of mathematics at all grade levels.
  • Mathematical reasoning helps students think logically and make sense of mathematics.
  • The use of technology should not replace mathematical understanding.
  • Visualization is fostered through the use of concrete materials, technology and a variety of visual representations.

 

The 7 mathematical content strands of the curriculum are change, constancy, number sense, patterns, relationship, spatial sense, and uncertainty.

  • Change is an integral part of mathematics and the learning of mathematics
  • Some problems in mathematics require students to focus on properties that remain constant
  • Number sense can be developed by providing mathematically rich tasks that allow students to make connections
  • Mathematics is about recognizing, describing and working with numerical and non-numerical patterns.
  • Mathematics is used to describe and explain relationships
  • Spatial sense offers a way to interpret and reflect on the physical environment
  • Uncertainty is an inherent part of making predictions.

 

The biggest change in looking at the new mathematics curriculum is that the processes are the curriculum and the content is the vehicle through which the processes are taught.  This is the goal towards which we are working at Cochrane High.

Part of the tradition of excellence in mathematics at Cochrane High is the use of the workbooks.  Research shows that when students with some difficulties have access to closed notes, they are more successful.  The successful students become more successful and students who struggle, struggle less.  The gap between the struggling and successful students narrows.  With the workbook, students are able to spend their time in the classroom focusing on the processes and content of mathematics rather than on the process of writing and transcribing accurately.  With more time to focus on process, greater success in mathematics is achieved.

 

 

What does the new scope of courses look like?

 

We are still having some problems with students/parents not understanding the new scope and sequence of the new curriculum.  It is very important that we emphasize the development of Calculus (math 31) skills in the dash 1 stream. Dash 2 is no longer a "lesser/easier" curriculum. It is an academic course that focuses on skills that are not calculus based, such as statistics. Students need to be aware of where they hope to attend post-secondary. Students who do not need calculus, or who do not show an interest in mathematics but take mathematics only for the credits should consider the Math 20-2  or Math 30-2 programs.

Here is where we need the support of the guidance staff. The universities, obviously, have the final say on their requirements for admission, and the students will need their help in navigating those prospects.

The really great news is that we now have two "academic" options for our students. Dash 2 does not close doors, it just leads to a different university path, such as nursing at both U of C and U of A (just announced). We also have more flexibility in moving between streams. A student can move from dash 2 to dash 1 in one year, or vice versa.  This is significantly different than in Math Pure and Math Applied in that it requires less upgrading to move between the dash 1 and dash 2 streams.

MATH IS A TEAM SPORT!

What may a 90 minute class look like?

 

  • Students enter the class and as quickly as possible are arranged into small groups, often random groupings, of 3 or  4 to work on a mathematical problem.
  • Students may be working standing at the promethean boards, at the white boards or at their desks on personal sized white boards.
  • Teachers facilitate the problems solving strategies by offering hints, redirecting students who are on the wrong path, and provide feedback without providing the answer right away.
  • Students are encouraged to work with other groups to develop successful strategies and problem solving solutions.
  • Groups may be called to stand around the teacher for a mini-lesson or short direct instruction before returning to their small group work.
  • Students are given ample opportunity to practice concepts before attempting the assignment. Whenever possible the assignment is started during class time so that the teacher may continue to provide feedback to individual students.
  • The bulk of classtime is dedicated to hands on involvement with the mathematics strategies.
  • Homework is assigned regularly, and includes copying down the day’s notes from the moodle site as review, and completing the remaining assignment from that class.
  • Students are always given the opportunity to ask questions the following class or to check their understanding.

 

 

More Websites to help further understand the intentions of the new mathematics curriculum:

 

Alberta Education: http://education.alberta.ca/teachers/program/math/parents.aspx

 

http://education.alberta.ca/teachers/program/math/parents/faq.aspx

 

http://education.alberta.ca/teachers/program/math/videos.aspx

 

 

Examples of Mathematical Problems:

 

http://www.peterliljedahl.com/teachers/numeracy-tasks

 

 

Where does each course lead? A list of courses recommended by various post secondary institutions:

http://alis.alberta.ca/ec/ep/aas/ta/mathreq.html

 

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