The MRA Math Approach
At Molalla River Academy we believe that all students are capable math learners. The teaching of mathematics is approached from a variety of avenues to reach all styles of learning and challenge students where they are developmentally. In addition to arriving at the correct answer, students are engaged in a meaningful practice of solving mathematical problems. Math teaching is based on research which has shown that critical thinking, analysis and communicating about thinking processes result in excellence in student performance in math. MRA’s math program is aligned with the Standards of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
In the Trillium and Huckleberry classrooms, mathematics is taught through hands-on experiences which enable children to explore, question, reason, construct meaning, and problem solve. Each classroom incorporates purposeful play, teacher-designed materials, and text resources to provide students opportunities to explore and investigate mathematical concepts and their applications. These experiences support a deep understanding of patterns, encourage acquisition of number sense and foster connections and interpretation of data. Students make connections in math through investigating mathematics in real world situations. Students utilize the MRA garden and pathway to discover math in nature, and teachers incorporate mathematical learning into their classroom themes to help children make sense of the math in their everyday lives.
The skills of problem solving, communication, critical thinking, and analysis continue to evolve through mathematical learning in the Clarkia and Alder classrooms. Emphasis is placed on problem-solving and sound computation skills as student’s master the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division as applied to whole numbers, fractions, and decimals. Hands-on activities and math games deepen and enrich student understanding and application. Studies of geometry and probability become increasingly sophisticated as the abstract thinking skills of the students grow. Oral and written communication of mathematical ideas as well as metacognitive behaviors in analyzing problems become more important as students transition into the more abstract concepts of early algebra. As students grow developmentally and begin to think more abstractly, the formal concept of algebra, ratio and proportion, percents, integers, graphs, and variables are introduced.
Students enter the Cedars math class with a strong foundation in mathematical learning, allowing them to go more deeply into advanced creative analysis and sequential thinking. Work will be done individually and collaboratively in order to facilitate a broader and deeper understanding of math. Algebra is a focus and is the context for fostering the reasoning skills necessary for success in higher level mathematics. Math classes include investigations and presentations to the class for discussion. Student learning experiences are maximized through the use of a variety of tools and resources.
At MRA we acknowledge that children reach cognitive landmarks at different times. We therefore approach all learning with respect to each student’s developmental level. The result gives students the deep understanding, knowledge and skills necessary for them to be successful in high school math programs.