# Academics

## Mathematics

### Department Chair Message

#### From the Math Department Grades 6-12

The MS/HS Mathematics Department at North Salem continues to strive for a high level of excellence in mathematics as prescribed by the New York State Standards and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics for all students. Our instruction encompasses both the state and national mathematics standards which includes numbers and operations, mathematical reasoning, geometry and measurement, functions and algebra, mathematical modeling, probability and statistics, and patterns and sequences. It is the goal of this department to develop in each student strong problem solving skills and an appreciation of mathematics.

At the Middle School level, we prepare our students for the 6th, 7th and 8th grade New York State assessment. We continue to apply new and improved teaching strategies to help students reach mastery on the state assessment. These include writing and problem solving strategies. During the school year we encourage the Middle School students to participate in Math Club. Here students can participate in competitions by tackling challenging math problems. Extra help is always available from math teachers and from Math Honor Society members.

At the High School level, we are preparing our students for the Integrated Algebra regents exam, which is the New York State benchmark for high school graduation. All high school students are required to take and pass the Integrated Algebra exam with a grade of 65 or better in order to receive graduation credit. Upon successful completion of Integrated Algebra, students can then continue with Geometry and Algebra II/ Trigonometry. Each Course ends with a regents exam. The High School Math Department also offers additional math courses, which include: Mathematical Modeling, Pre-Calculus, Accounting, AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, and AP Statistics. Our High School students can also participate in Math Club. Here our students compete with students from other high schools, as part of NY Math League, for individual and group distinction in Math throughout New York State. High School Students who achieve a final math average of 88% or better over 2 years may apply for the North Salem Math Honor Society, which is a chapter of Mu Alpha Theta and the NYS Math Honor Society. Applications for membership are available each September and an induction breakfast is held in November.

We encourage parents to check the North Salem Website. Many math teachers post their daily assignments on their teacher webpages and parents and students can e-mail teachers directly with questions.

### Common Core Math

Common Core mathematics is a way to approach teaching so that students develop a mathematical mindset and see math in the world around them. We are developing critical thinkers and creative problem-solvers.

#### How are we doing this?

#### There are 8 shifts in the way we are now teaching math. They are:

#### #1 Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them

**What it means:** Understand the problem, find a way to attack it, and work until it is done. You will find this practice in every math problem, every day. The hardest part is pushing students to solve tough problems by applying what they already know and to monitor themselves when problem-solving.

#### #2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively

**What it means: **Get ready for the words contextualize and decontextualize. If students have a problem, they should be able to break it apart and show it symbolically, with pictures, or in any way other than the standard algorithm. Conversely, if students are working a problem, they should be able to apply the “math work” to the situation.

#### #3 Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others

**What it means:** Be able to talk about math, using mathematical language, to support or oppose the work of others.

#### #4 Model with mathematics

**What it means:** Use math to solve real-world problems, organize data, and understand the world around you.

#### #5 Use appropriate tools strategically

**What it means:** Students can select the appropriate math tool to use and use it correctly to solve problems. In the real world, no one tells you that it is time to use the meter stick instead of the protractor.

#### #6 Attend to precision

**What it means:** Students speak and solve mathematics with exactness and meticulousness.

#### #7 Look for and make use of structure

**What it means:** Find patterns and repeated reasoning that can help solve more complex problems. For young students this might be recognizing fact families, inverses, or the distributive property. As students get older, they can break apart problems and numbers into familiar relationships.

#### #8 Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning

**What it means:** Keep an eye on the big picture while working out the details of the problem. You don’t want kids that can solve the one problem you’ve given them; you want students who can generalize their thinking.

#### The North Salem Math Department believes that these changes will give our students better math skills and problem solving abilities, so that they will be competitive with others as they enter college and/or the workforce.