Math & Quantitative Reasoning


Hands-on learning is at the forefront of all we do at CSD.  Therefore, classroom lessons are chock-full of questions and exploration.  Since our goal is to teach children how to think, not what to think, we encourage students to focus on how/why rather than what.  This philosophy translates into the mathematical classroom in the following ways.  We believe that children should be the ones “doing” the math, not watching the teacher “do” the math.  Therefore, we begin all concepts at a very concrete, hands-on level by utilizing a variety of math manipulatives.  Only when students have grasped the concept do we move them on to the more symbolic, abstract level. Whereas many math programs fall into the more shallow “memorize/regurgitate” model, we strongly believe that students must have a strong conceptual understanding of what they are doing before moving onto the abstract.  Rushing to the algorithm or paper/pencil method too soon can rob students of the opportunity to truly understand the “how/why” behind “what” they are doing. This is why we spend such extensive time and energy on developing deep number sense in the early grades. There are two main components to math instruction - procedural fluency and conceptual understanding - both of which are immensely important, but we believe that developmentally appropriate math instruction always starts in the concrete and then moves to the abstract.  In addition, CSD puts a heavy emphasis on the standards for mathematical practice (problem-solving, multiple representations, communication, making connections, reasoning and proof) as we are equally as concerned with developing well-equipped problem-solvers and mathematical thinkers and communicators.  Students are immersed in real-world meaty (and messy) problems that have multiple entry points and various ways to solve, and classrooms are rich in mathematical discourse where students can discuss their thinking at length, as well as analyze the thinking of others.