Sharon will be implementing a new math program during the upcoming school year. Mathematics Investigations in Number, Data, and Space, is a comprehensive K-5 mathematics curriculum, developed at TERC in Cambridge, Massachusetts (a non-profit research center that develops high quality instructional materials). It is structured to help all children in making sense of mathematical ideas. The curriculum is designed to support students as they learn to be mathematical thinkers. Each unit focuses on a content area in depth, providing students with the opportunity to learn and practice math concepts through collaborative work, real-life math connections, and skill reinforcement games. Each unit contains several investigations focusing on a related mathematical idea. Investigations are divided into one hour sessions and each session will have a combination of the following parts: activity, discussion, math workshop, assessment activity, and session follow up. Each session also has a ten minute math activity to be completed outside of math time.
The studies of Investigations in Number, Data, and Space® indicate that students using the Math Investigation Curricula:
· have a better understanding of number and number relationships than students working with more traditional programs.
· achieve greater accuracy on word problems and on more complex calculations than students in comparison classrooms.
Homework will look different from a traditional math program and may consist of playing a game, which may actually be skill and drill in disguise, or the solving of three or four word problems. Students are asked to explain their reasoning and solutions and solve problems accurately and efficiently by using problem solving methods that are meaningful to them; therefore, homework assignments are richer and more mathematically appropriate. Parent support is an important part of the process of teaching mathematics. Because the teaching of mathematics has been evolving, as well as the types of jobs and careers available, families may be unfamiliar with the approaches taken by the Investigations curriculum. Each student is assigned a Student Math Handbook, which serves as a valuable reference to the math words and ideas introduced in the curriculum units, as well as game directions for the games in that grade. This handbook is designed to be used both as a resource for students during class work and as a book students can take home for reference while doing homework and playing math games with their families. It is also a reference for families to better understand the work their children are doing in class. This resource is available online through your teacher’s website. There are also Family Letters which will be posted on teacher’s websites throughout each unit. These letters will inform you of the math being taught in each unit and things you can do at home to support your child. At home, encourage your child to explain his/her strategies and mathematical ideas to you. On the Sharon Website there will be helpful tips you can use when your child asks for help in solving a problem. We look forward to an exceptional year at Sharon and the implementation of this K-5 curriculum.