## What Should I Look for in the Mathematics Program in My Child’s School?

A Guide for Parents developed by SciMathMN

### What can I do to support good mathematics education?

A math classroom should provide practical experience in mathematical skills that are a bridge to the real world of jobs and adult responsibilities. This means going beyond memorization into a world of reasoning and problem solving. Look for the following actions by students and teachers. If you see them, you will be looking at a classroom that is preparing your child for a world beyond school.

#### What are students doing?

• Interacting with each other, as well as working independently, just as adults do.

• Using textbooks as only one of many resources. Students should know how and when to use tools such as blocks, scales, calculators, and computers for

problem-solving.

• Applying math to real-life problems and not just practicing a collection of isolated skills. Lots of time is allowed for solving complex problems.

• Seeking a best solution among several solutions to a problem. Students can explain the different ways they reach these solutions and defend their choice

of one over another.

• Working in groups to test solutions to problems with each group member highly involved.

• Communicating mathematical ideas to one another through examples, demonstrations, models, drawing, and logical arguments.

• Working in teams to challenge and defend possible solutions.

#### What are teachers doing?

• Challenging students to think deeply about problems and encouraging a variety of approaches to a solution.

• Moving around the room to keep everyone engaged in productive work.

• Encouraging students to raise and discuss questions about math for which there are no textbook answers

• Guiding students in making appropriate use of hands-on activities, tools, and technology.

• Promoting student use of inquiry and creativity.

• Bringing a variety of learning resources, including guest presenters in the classroom, in order to increase learning options for all students.

• Working with other teachers to make connections between disciplines to show how math is a part of other major subjects that students are studying.

• Using assessments that focus on problem solving and understanding rather than only memorization.

• Helping all students explore career opportunities that use the mathematics that they are learning.

#### What is happening in the school?

• Teachers expect all students to succeed and help set high goals for all learners.

• Learning mathematics is considered important for all students.

• The Minnesota Graduation Standards provide the focus of instruction and assessment.

• Assessments match state and local standards and are used appropriately to plan instruction and evaluate understanding.

• Teachers use the Minnesota K-12 Mathematics Framework to plan curriculum that is challenging and age appropriate.

• Teachers have access to the training and resources necessary to implement the Minnesota Graduation Standards in Mathematics.

• There are clearly stated goals for the math program, math units, and math lessons.

#### What can I do to support good mathematics education?

• Insist that your children take challenging mathematics courses every year.

• Instill in your child the belief that he/she can succeed in mathematics and that hard work pays off.

• Talk with your child’s teacher about their needs, concerns, and expectations for students in math.

• Volunteer to help in the classroom during math activities and learn with your child.

• Solve everyday problems and play games with your children.

• Be sure your children have access to and use calculators, computers, and hands-on mathematics, as well as electronic sources of information.

• Participate with your children in mathematics programs sponsored by museums, churches, community centers, clubs, or schools.

• Learn about the Minnesota K-12 Mathematics Framework and the Minnesota Graduation Standards in math and how they are used in the school’s math program.