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Math in Kindergarten

math_k.jpgThe 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 mathematically.

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.