frameworks for the Cambridge Public Schools specify the use of real
world experiences and physical materials to enhance the understanding of
mathematical ideas. All students in grades SK-5 use the Investigations
curriculum; this includes JK’s in the combined JK/SK classrooms.
Students in the JK classroom use the Building Blocks curriculum.
Kindergarten students explore the concepts of whole numbers, estimation,
patterns, graphs, shapes, and measurement. Our goal is for students to
understand the value of mathematics, to become problem solvers, to learn
to communicate their mathematical strategies, and to learn to reason
The Investigations curriculum is designed to engage students in
making sense of mathematical ideas. It is hands-on, colorful, and fun
and encourages children to solve problems and explain their thinking
with words, objects, pictures, and numbers. The hands-on manipulation of
objects—such as pattern blocks, interlocking cubes, and teddy bear
counters—leads to analytical thinking that is engaging and useful to
children. As they explore materials—counting, sorting, classifying,
measuring, comparing and noting similarities, differences, and
attributes—children construct new understandings.
Some of the major goals of the Investigations Curriculum include:
- Support students to make sense of mathematics and learn that they can be mathematical thinkers
- Focus on computational fluency with whole numbers as a major goal of the elementary grades
- Provide substantive work in important areas of mathematics -
rational numbers, geometry, measurement, data, and early algebra - and
connections among them
- Emphasize reasoning about mathematical ideas
- Engage the range of learners in understanding mathematics
Math Workshop begins with a teacher-led lesson on a new activity.
Children then work in teams on activities to practice new math
vocabulary (e.g. fewest, rhombus, minus), skills (e.g. breaking a
pattern into its units), and concepts (e.g. only count each item once).
Games are a vehicle through which we teach and reinforce this content.
Math Workshop frequently ends with a final math meeting during which we
share new discoveries and questions.