There is a need for learning mathematics with a deep understanding and emphasis on conceptual as well as procedural understandings and for constructing knowledge based on previous experiences. To achieve this, we will have meaningful, realistic contexts for students in our curricula. Three major characteristics of the school’s math curriculum will be as follows: (a) the main focus for all of the courses will be problem-solving, (b) basic skills in mathematics will be defined to encompass more than computational facility, and (c) mathematics programs take full advantage of the power of calculators and computers. Students will be able to understand the mathematical significance of the operations they perform. By focusing on the “why” behind the algorithmic procedures, we can prepare students for the further study of mathematics, as well as providing them with quantitative literacy for daily life.
In order to address the above mentioned conceptual and philosophical framework, Middlesex County STEM Charter School will implement Everyday Mathematics developed by the University of Chicago for Pre-K through Grade 6. Everyday Mathematics will meet the needs of the school as the school will offer middle school math for students who demonstrated a capacity to take it in fifth grade. Aligned with Common Core Curriculum Standards, Everyday Math is a research-based, field tested curriculum that is grounded in an extensive body of research into how children learn. The curriculum includes a vast variety of mathematical topics including number operations, data and probability, geometry and spatial sense, measures and measurement, numeration and order and patterns, and functions and sequences. The basis of the Everyday Math curriculum is that students can achieve more than what a traditional curriculum requires them to achieve by integration of spiraled concepts throughout each grade level and unit. They can attain these achievements through the use of a curriculum with a wide-range of topics. Students who have been introduced to the middle school level math in elementary school will be prepared to take Algebra I as early as 7th grade, which will eventually prepare them for advanced math courses in high school including Advanced Placement and dual credit courses.
Middlesex County STEM Charter School will also implement a supplemental curriculum, Project M3: Mentoring Mathematical Minds, for students in grades 3 through 5 who qualify for the gifted and talented education. Supported by U.S. Department of Education Javits Grant, Project M3 was developed through a collaborative research effort between the University of Connecticut, Northern Kentucky University, and Boston University. Project M3: Mentoring Mathematical Minds offers a series of curriculum units to enhance the school’s math curriculum with rigorous concepts to provide differentiated instruction for mathematically talented students. Project M3 enables teachers to facilitate the instruction with digital resources that features explorations of simulated or real life problems. Aligned with the Common Core State Standards, Project M3 has won several awards, including the National Association for Gifted Children Distinguished Curriculum Studies Awards.