At BHMS our goal for students is to see themselves as strong problem solvers who can employ critical thinking to apply mathematical concepts and skills in a variety of situations. From baking a cake to standardized tests, students learn to use math as a practical tool to serve their needs.
We know that students build their knowledge through a hands-on approach to math. They move from concrete experiences with manipulatives to applying abstract algorithms at every level in order to deepen their knowledge.
- In Preschool students begin with sensorial materials that introduce the vocabulary of basic mathematical concepts, such as large/small, more/less and greater than/smaller than, as well as numbers. Math is about relationships, and the concrete materials give children a kinesthetic experience of quantity, introduce the concept of number, and help children gain an understanding of the relationship between the two.
- In Lower Elementary students use the Montessori materials to develop their understanding of the four basic operations – addition, subtraction, multiplication & division – and record their work in standard ways until they have internalized the formulae and can recall number facts automatically.
- In Upper Elementary students continue to use manipulatives to support their learning, which is increasingly focused upon fractions, decimals and percents. Automaticity with number facts is essential to efficient and accurate problem solving at this level.
- In Middle School students continue to develop more abstract mathematical thinking, e.g., algebra, and apply their math skills in practical ways, such as running a pizza business.
We know that the road to abstraction is an uneven path on which students develop at different rates. The three-year age cycle allows a student to learn at his/her own pace.
We believe that teachers are guides for students. They pose questions and model their thinking process in small group activity, whole group and one-on-one instruction. This practice is a powerful and motivating tool for learning that addresses the needs of both struggling and proficient students.
We know that professional development and keeping abreast of research in the teaching of math is necessary to inform teacher practice and the success of student math outcomes.
We recognize that social relationships are important in building understanding and solving problems – talk illustrates one’s thinking and generates new ideas. One student’s half- formed thought can become a teammate’s eloquent solution. Therefore we provide opportunities for students to work together in all programs.
We recognize that 21st century math involves more than pencil and paper, so we integrate technology into our program. Students use calculators and computers from fourth grade through the Middle School.
We want students to master math skills to serve their needs, therefore we link math to students’ everyday lives to show them its application to their world. From shopping for a meal to making a personal budget, students see math as a useful tool. Our Interdisciplinary Studies program also helps to forge that link. Whether counting beats in a measure, using proportion and shapes to create images, choreographing a sequence of dance steps, or learning iambic pentameter, students learn that math is all around them.