Frequently Asked Questions
If Investigations is a K-5 math program and CMP3 is a 6-8 math program, why does Milton Academy use CMP3 in grade 5?
When do students take Algebra I at Milton Academy?
All students at Milton Academy begin their formal Algebra I course in the fall of Grade 7. The Middle School mathematics faculty worked with Gregg Reilly, chair of the Upper School mathematics department, to develop the scope and sequence of our Algebra I program.
Are students grouped for math?
My child tells me that she spends a lot of time talking in math class. Why is discussion such a big part of math class?
What can I do to help my child have a successful relationship with math?
- Emphasize hard work – not ability – as the key to success in math. When talking to children about math, we must be sure to emphasize the role of hard work – not ability. Success in mathematics is the outcome of effort and persistence, not innate ability. Please try not to tell your children, “I was never good at math,” as this may propel the harmful myth that only some people were “born” to do well in math. (See the article, “The Genetic Effect of School” for more information about the negligible effect of genes on our success in school.)
- Embrace confusion and errors as essential to learning. When children talk about their struggles, reassure them that the confusion they feel is a sign they are learning. Recast mistakes as solutions-in-progress. Tell students that successful math learners use their mistakes to figure out how to reach the correct solution. Try a math problem yourself (similar to one your children are studying in class), make a mistake and ask your children to think about why you might have made that error and how you might correct it.
- Take the Stanford online math course, “How to Learn Math.” This course describes new evidence on the best ways to learn math effectively and knocks down harmful myths about mathematical learning (e.g., the myth that only some people are “math people”). You can find more information here: https://www.youcubed.org/category/mooc/
- Use enrichment materials that support the principles of our Milton math program. Board games and puzzles that promote logical thinking are wonderful resources for developing students’ reasoning and problem solving skills and promote a lifelong interest in mathematics. If your child wants to solve more math problems at home, choose problems that allow them to “tinker with numbers,” develop persistence, and think deeply about the ideas they are studying in class. (See the text box below for specific suggestions.)
- Talk to your child’s teacher. When we look at children’s written work or listen as they talk about how they solved a particular problem, we parents learn so much. And as we look and listen so intently, we often find ourselves asking questions that seek additional information. Questions such as, “Is this an efficient approach?” and “What can my child do to improve?” are good questions to ask. Your child’s classroom teacher is the best source for answers to these questions. I encourage you to keep the lines of communication open between you and your child’s teacher. Milton math teachers know your children well. They also know the curriculum, how children come to understand the “big ideas” within each unit of study, and how those ideas connect to ideas on the mathematical horizon.
What opportunities are available for students who want additional math challenges?
Students also have the opportunity to explore challenging mathematics outside of math class. Lower School students can participate in our after-school mathematics club. In the Middle School, students can join the Math Club that meets during the Wednesday activity block and participate in math contents including Math Counts and Math Olympiad.
My family is interested in doing more math at home. Can you provide us with some helpful resources?