In keeping with the National Council of Mathematics Principles and Standards, the mathematics program at ACDS emphasizes concept development. The skills covered at each grade level are categorized into six strands: the understanding of number sense, operations, spatial relationships and geometry, measurement, data analysis and probability, and algebraic thinking. The math curriculum supports the teaching of concepts and skills appropriate to the students’ developmental stages. It is aligned to reflect when each skill is introduced, continues to be worked on, and is expected to be mastered. Students learn using a variety of materials including concrete manipulatives, paper and pencil activities, textbooks, games, computer programs, and iPad apps. Concepts and skills are presented in large groups, small groups, and partner interactions. Through everyday activities and group games, children develop logico-mathematical knowledge and problem solving strategies that can be applied to real-life situations.
In the Lower School, using the Math in Focus program, concepts are introduced at the concrete level with visuals and manipulatives. Once students understand a concept, they move through the connecting level where they pair the concrete examples to the written symbols. From the connecting level students move to the symbolic level where they use numbers and symbols to create math models to represent the mathematical process. All students are exposed to content from the previously mentioned six strands at a level that is developmentally appropriate for their grade. The goal is to nurture confident problem solvers capable of applying mathematical knowledge to their everyday lives.
The Middle School math curriculum continues to build on the fundamentals introduced in the Lower School and eventually progresses to Algebra 1. Students in fifth through seventh grade continue to learn through the Math in Focus program. Students begin sixth grade with core concepts that strengthen number sense, number theory, and problem solving skills. Students then progress to pre-algebra concepts and will eventually progress to Algebra 1. All 8th graders take Algebra I in 8th grade. The most advanced level of this course introduces geometry concepts. The program provides challenge through depth rather than acceleration, recognizing that long-term math success is best supported by a strong foundation in Algebra. For Middle School students with exceptional mathematical abilities, there is also an opportunity to receive additional challenge through one of several online math programs.
The ACDS math program seeks to provide a solid base in mathematics that will help students become independent thinkers who can describe, analyze, evaluate, and make decisions both in and out of the school setting.