Given that most people come from traditional educational backgrounds, it might seem perplexing how teaching math through themes can possibly be more challenging than in other schools, even those that top the rankings on the Fraser Institute List.
The fact is, though, that learning anything in context is both more fun and more challenging. These might seem like an impossible blend, but education done right is fun and challenging simultaneously.
In the following video, we provide an example of a theme in our combined grade 4/5 class. As part of their final theme project, the students have to design a realistic farm.
They need to consider real-life facts related to the type of farm that they wish to create, e.g. a fruit farm, a dairy farm, a type or multiple types of crop(s), etc. Each of these types will dictate the land requirements, the costs, and the potential profits.
Here are some additional examples of math in context at Pear Tree School. These are from a combined grade 3/4 class.
On the one hand, yes, the math used includes some technically ‘higher grade level’ math skills, e.g. percentages. However, these are included because they are relevant to the theme. The real challenge comes from the applied math aspect, because all of the math is in context and uses real-life numbers.
There is the added challenge of multiple math skills being used simultaneously. This also demonstrates the efficiency of Pear Tree’s approach to mathematics.
One final consideration is that the new BC Grade 10 numeracy exam is all about math in context – in the context of science or social studies. Check out the online sample exams from the BC Ministry of Education. Here’s a page sample:
Want to find out more about Pear Tree School’s approach to math? Get in contact with us through our Contact Us page, and we’ll figure out the most appropriate way to speak with you, e.g. in-person tour, virtual meeting, etc.