Common Core Math: A Teacher's Perspective

Parents often times hear about the use of 'standards' within the classroom. Our current standards, which are referred to as the Common Core, are often a heated topic of debate within the education community. In simple terms the standards are a road map for your scholar, a baseline that is uniform across the United States that can help determine if your boy is college- and career-ready. The importance of rigorous grade-level standards should not be understated. So: if they are so important, then how exactly are we using them at Prep@Collegiate?

In the middle school math classroom, each grade level tells a story. In 6th and 7th grade, the story is all about proportional reasoning. With increasing rigor, scholars learn how to compare two different quantities that increase at a constant rate. An example would be gas mileage: if we drive 70 miles on 2 gallons of gas, then our 6th and 7th grade scholars would be able to describe how many miles we could drive on 4 gallons of gas, 1 gallon of gas, or an unknown quantity of gas (which we often call x).

The story becomes more complex in 8th grade, as students are introduced to the idea of functions. Simply put, a function is a relationship where any input produces exactly one output. The most basic of these functions--and the primary focus of the 8th grade curriculum--is called a 'linear function' (of which a proportion is the simplest form).  The common core standards produce an odyssey from 6th grade to 8th grade, where each previous year provides the foundation for the following year. This in its own right is poetry with numbers and symbols instead of words and iambs.

With this focus, our goal at Prep@Collegiate is to provide a sharp focus on these two ideas: proportions and linear functions. Each class, which we’ve dubbed Ravens and Orioles, is differentiated along these two lines. Instead of covering as many 'skills' as possible, we teach the skills the scholars need within the context of proportions for Ravens and linear functions for Orioles. This is a drastic shift from how math was previously taught. Through this curriculum, your boy will be prepared for the rigors of the school year. They will go into their next math class ahead of the game and will apply their skills taught here to improve themselves and the brothers around them.