Girls' Math Club

Students in the Junior Unit Girls' Math Club (GMC), facilitated by math specialist Liz McCannell, had the opportunity during Wednesday's lunch and recess to interview via Skype Dr. Jenni Branstad, an institutional research analyst at Green River College in Auburn, Washington. The girls came up with insightful questions, which included the following:

  • Do you ever feel underestimated because of your gender?
  • What is your favorite math operation and why?
  • What did it take to get your job?
  • What's your favorite part about math? 

The mission of GMC focuses both on short-term and long-term goals. An immediate goal is to work collaboratively to shift students' identities as mathematicians. This means empowering girls who already love math and increasing the confidence of those who feel intimidated by or uneasy about math.

The long-term goal is to develop interest in math-related content so that students feel excited by the possibility of pursuing studies or a career in STEM. During our meetings, we develop our math community through team building activities, interactive math challenges, and games that push kids' thinking. 

A Student's View on Teaching Math

For their homework in math class last night, 8th grade students read a recent New York Times opinion piece titled "The Wrong Way to Teach Math," and they responded with their reaction and the ideas that the article brought up for them.

Willow V.'s response is below.

“There are two main ideas that I got out of this article. The first is that math class needs to involve more real life situations, so that students can better learn how to use math in real life. The author mentions that a lot of American adults have trouble understanding the math that they learn in school, and that math should be taught in a way that will stick with the students into their adult life.

"The second is very similar, but I think it's important to mention. It's that students 'can’t see how such formulas connect with the lives they’ll be leading,' and therefore should be taught things that might prove more useful to them in their adult life. I agree, but I think that where we disagree is that this is already kind of the case. Not that I will have all of the formulas and concepts and rules I learn in math memorized for the rest of my life; because I can positively say I most definitely will not. I think that what sticks with a person is the ability to learn something, understand something, or figure something out.

"The concepts that you learn from math class in your adult life are not the formulas you've memorized but, at least for me, the ability to look at a math problem that I've never seen before out how to solve it based on other things that I've learned in the past. I think that there are a lot of things that people have wrong about education, but I don't think that math class is one of them. For me, math has become a creative process, and I now have skills that will stick with me forever because when I was first introduced to the concept I had the opportunity to look at the problem and see what I could do with it. Just like with music, art, writing, anything; if it is taught in an interesting and engaging way for the students, it will become a creative process.”


Beyond Multiplication Tables & Algorithms

Join us for the upcoming TPSA/TPS Progressive Talk . . . 

"Beyond Multiplication Tables & Algorithms:
Understanding the approach to teaching & learning mathematics at TPS"

Tuesday, March 8
6:00-7:30pm in the TPS Garage

Join us for an informative presentation and exploration of the TPS mathematics program.  Math specialists Abby Gordon and Barbara Stanley will highlight how students develop number sense through engaging activities that focus on mathematical understanding rather than rote memorization. 

Hear how TPS's growth mindset stance is an essential part of our philosophy and practice.  There will be opportunities to interact with some of the math materials and activities and time set aside time for any questions you might have. 

Child care with pizza is available for enrolled TPS students.  Please RSVP and sign up for child care below.

TPS Happenings

Preschool Makers

How many preschoolers does it take to turn a furniture crate into a submarine? Well, all of them, of course!

Special Amigo

This week some of our preschool students had a special guest from Mexico for Spanish class. The children introduced themselves in Spanish and used common salutations. The preschoolers are learning about families, and our amigo shared about his while speaking in Español. He also taught them a new song, and the children sang other Spanish songs that they know. It was a fun morning on a cold day.

The Canadian Spies, Eh?

What do you get when you combine three guitars, three sets of drums, two violins, a piano, a flute, two ukeleles, and six singers? A rock band, of course! More specifically, the 7th grade geologic rock band, which has named itself (mysteriously) "The Canadian Spies, Eh?"

The rock band is a partnership between the music department and the 7th grade team. After studying geology over the course of the fall, the students rewrite a rock song of their choosing (this year it's "A Hard Day's Night" by the Beatles) with geologic lyrics. The "rock" version of the Beatles' classic is "A Hard Piece of Gneiss" (gneiss is a metamorphic rock; pronounced "nice"). This year the students have also incorporated some Spanish into their rewrite.

Students work in committees to pull the various pieces together--costumes, set design, lyrics, lighting, choreography, and music video. The rock band will have three performances in the Garage; please come celebrate The Canadian Spies, Eh?

  • Dress rehearsal: Monday, November 24, 1:30 p.m.
  • Performance 1: Tuesday, November 25, 9:15 p.m.
  • Performance 2: Tuesday, November 25, 10:15 p.m.

Kindergarten Bee Presentations, November 12

Our first project of the year concluded with our new bee experts presenting their research to their fellow classmates.  The students presented in all different ways, from dramatic representations, to posters, to books.  We were so proud of our students as they confidently and capably taught their newfound bee knowledge to each other! 

The Beauty of Mathematics

In a creative application of what they have learned about linear equations, compound inequalities, domain & range, and graphing on the coordinate plane, 8th grade mathematicians spent some time creating images using segments, curves and inequalities on google's graphing website, Take a look at some of the thoughtfully formatted equations and beautiful results!

First Snow at the Schuylkill Center

Kindergarten children were happy to find snow last Friday at our country classroom!

Math in the Everyday

Here are some tips from Abby Gordon, math specialist, for finding the math in everyday experiences.

Fall is a wonderful season for finding the math in everyday activities. (Who am I kidding? EVERY season is great for that!) Here is a handful of ways to highlight the math inherent in the season.

Collect leaves...then categorize them, sort them, and graph them, as the girls’ math club did.

Estimate the fraction or percentage of leaves trees have lost. Compare your estimates to the real data.

Practice figuring out elapsed time by looking at the time the sun rises and sets each day. How many hours of daylight do we have right now? How many did we have last week?

Have your children help you with Thanksgiving preparations...Let them figure out the measurements for a recipe that needs to be doubled or tripled; have them set the timer for the turkey based on how many pounds it is (with your supervision, of course!); let them help you plan oven use based on cooking times.

There are countless ways to talk about the math in your everyday life...We’d love to hear about where you’ve found math!