Mathematics can seem tough. (As parents, many of us had a hard time doing or enjoying Mathematics at school!) Sometimes we feel like it is too hard, or that we are simply not smart enough to do Mathematics. We started off this year watching an amazing short video, about learning Mathematics, that has a very important message for all Mathematics students. I hope that all of the parents can watch it, too. (Find the video on the website www.youcubed.org, and look for “Mindset Boosting Videos”.)
We are learning to change our mindset about Mathematics. The most important thing we need to know in the classroom is that making mistakes, and being challenged, is how our brain learns and grows! We are trying to build up our tenacity - sticking to difficult problems (or difficult TSW's!) even when we want to give up - as this will grow our brains and actually make us smarter.
Students have been working hard at learning new Mathematical concepts.
In Geometry we have
been puzzling over a LOT of new terminology that we'll be using for the rest of the year. We also began a short study in logic, and figuring out how true a statement can be! We are now trying to investigate triangles and their relationships.
In Grade 8 Mathematics, Algebra I and II and Pre-Calculus, most of our work in has been on the Cartesian plane, learning about relationships between two variables (we call these "Functions"). We have tried to find ways to model relationships in pictures on a graph. Sometimes we've had to find the complicated equations that can model situations, for example our taxi fare, or how a football flies through the air, or the way the volume of a box can change as we change the dimensions. Sometimes we take an equation and try to find out what the graph of that equation will look
like. We use a really great, free online graphing tool (find it at www.desmos.com/calculator) to check if our graphs are correct. We have spent a lot of time looking for "nothing"... the zeros of a function! These are the values that make the whole relationship equal zero, and can help us solve a lot of problems. We have also learnt about imaginary numbers - the numbers that you always thought were impossible!
There are a few dedicated students who have also been giving up their afternoons to train for their SAT exams. Students do past exam questions alone, and then we have intense teaching sessions
where we go through any problems that they have encountered. Well done to these diligent students!
Most importantly, in many of the classes we are regularly discussing how we can respect each other, be open to new and different ideas, and control the way we react to situations that are difficult. Whether it is a difficult Mathematics problem or concept, a person who does not treat us well, a challenging academic idea, or someone who is different to us, we are learning that maturing means being better able to face differences and difficulties, and growing our peace by reacting with respect and care.