The student voice of St. George's Independent School.

Mind-altering math

Extra math classes added to middle school

Katie Boyle, Writer

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The administration has added an extra math class to the middle school rotation by taking away a study hall one out of six days in the rotation in order to give students more time to develop their problem solving skills.

In previous years, math teachers have taught their classes four days out of the six day rotation, but now they are able to teach their classes five out of the six days.

“Previously there were always things in the algebra curriculum that I wasn’t able to cover because we didn’t have enough class time,” Mrs. Sarah Robertson, the 8th grade Mathematics teacher, said.

Teachers felt rushed to cover the required curriculum in order to prepare their students for high school math.

Before, only having the class four days out of the six day rotation required teachers to cramp two or three lessons in one class period. So even if a class period did not fully understand the lesson as a whole, the teacher would not have time to take another class to review the material.

“I came from Houston and we had math everyday, so I’m glad that it’s not four out of six days because I would get really lost,” said seventh grader, Sierra Sellers.

Because of this, students’ basic fundamentals were not as strong as they needed to be going into their high school math classes, which was just one of the multiple contributing factors to the decision to add the class.

“We’re trying to bring that balance between the English and math curriculum to the same amount of instructional hours,” Mrs. Genevieve Hoppe, the Middle School Director, said. Students have the option to take both English and Language Arts, doubling the amount of time spent on English learning.

“Students have the opportunity to practice their reading and writing fluency in every subject, but they don’t necessarily have the opportunity to do that with mathematics,” Mr. William Bladt, the Associate Head of School, said.

Another reason for implementing the extra class period was that the study of mathematics has been proven to alter your brain.

According to a study reported by the Stanford Medicine News Center, as students practice math, they begin to use the hippocampus, a part of the brain that acts as a base for developing long-term memories, and solved problems by recalling these memories unconsciously.

Not only does it increase one’s ability to solve math problems, but also solve problems one may be presented with in their everyday life. Hence, the push for the extra class time for students to develop this part of their brain.

In addition to the added math class, the administration has decided to implement a new course, called Foundations of Math, for a small group of specific middle school students.

The curriculum for the class would be based on the needs of the students enrolled in it with the overall focus on the basic fundamentals of mathematics.

The class would have about 15-18 students enrolled, some who would be required to take it, others who would be recommended, and a few who would opt in for the extra practice.

Instead of starting a foreign language in middle school, these students would take Foundations of Math and wait to start their foreign language in the ninth grade.

The school has a wide range of literacy and numeracy abilities in their students, so their goal is to help each student reach their potential. So far, their efforts have had a positive impact on the students math abilities as well as their confidence in those abilities.

“It is actually really nice because we’re able to do more with the students and get a stronger conceptual understanding of the skills,” Mrs. Dynelle Rinkes, the seventh grade math teacher, said.

It has also allowed students to feel more prepared for their high school math classes.

“I’ve noticed that their fundamentals are stronger so I’ve had to do less Algebra I review,” Mrs. Lisa Ayerst, the ninth grade Geometry teacher, said when talking about the freshman who were eighth graders last year, when the class was added.

The administration is planning to continue next year with the added math class and hopes to continue improve the mathematics department.

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The student voice of St. George's Independent School.
Mind-altering math