Walking into the Renbrook School Math Center, you see a world of activity throughout the day. Four classrooms designed for math instruction contain flexible furniture, large whiteboard spaces, and technology. Beyond the classrooms, the center contains a computer lab, central office, extra help spaces and bulletin boards/tables filled with puzzles and extra challenges for all ages.The walls in the Math Center display student photography and artwork showing math in the real world. Shelves are lined with trophies won in MATHcounts and the New England Math League competitions.
Math classes at Renbrook are active and students are fully engaged. Collaborative work is encouraged and a hands on approach is utilized. Students are asked to demonstrate their skills in a variety of ways in each math class. The department works closely together to prepare lessons and promotes student based learning. Students are given real life applications, so that they understand why they are learning each unit. Math classes in sixth through ninth grade can be seen working with manipulatives in class to model algebraic or geometric concepts.
The Renbrook campus provides a natural resource for the math classes. It is not unusual to see an Algebra class outdoors to measure the slope of stairs and ramps, so these measures can be prepared to building codes or using trigonometric functions to measure the height of objects on campus. Geometry students can be seen analyzing the geometry in the Tudor style of the buildings or examining tile patterns. Sixth graders build a town by converting architectural plans to three dimensional houses, while eighth graders become city planners by designing a city using various types of algebraic graphs. Many classes involve experiments or activities that promote real life problem solving. Teachers use Smartboard technology, graphing calculator emulators, and IPad apps in the classroom. All students have a laptop and access to the math computer lab, so that websites and software such as the Geometer’s Sketchpad are utilized weekly in the program.
Since the math lab is staffed throughout the afternoon, students are able to get extra help throughout the afternoon, and can also come for enrichment. The Renbrook team for MATHCOUNTS competitions has earned awards for their performance, and the upper school has had a consistent record of placing in the New England Math League competitions. The math department is committed to promoting competency in skill development, coupled with increased confidence in solving problems.