Mathematics study at Blake is both challenging and fun. Students learn to use math as a tool for solving problems by thinking conceptually. Instruction goes far beyond dry formulas, analyzing why a result is true or a particular strategy works. Throughout the divisions, courses emphasize the same key elements:
- inquiry and problem-solving;
- exploring each concept over an extended period, helping to ensure students' mastery; and
- applying math concepts to the real world.
Since each student develops mastery at a different pace, we provide many opportunities for students to retest themselves and continue improving.
In-Depth Exploration: Grades Pre-K Through 5
Our elementary math curriculum is based on two highly effective, research-based programs: Early Bird Mathematics, used in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, and Math in Focus (Singapore mathematics), used in grades one through seven. Our approach emphasizes exploring each specific topic in depth and applying abstract math concepts to real-world phenomena. Students learn to use problem-solving strategies such as identifying patterns and visualizing. They develop deep understanding of the relationships among numbers and number concepts.
Following Your Math Path: Grades 6 Through 8
The Middle School math program is not only rigorous, but also designed to address varying levels of mathematical aptitude and interest. Students follow one of three course sequences, with the opportunity to switch between sequences:
- The regular mathematics sequence, comparable to enriched public-school math programs, is challenging and fast-paced, designed to prepare students for college math.
- The two-year algebra sequence accommodates students who need a slower-paced introduction to algebra. Students take Algebra 1A in eighth grade and continue with Algebra 1B in ninth grade.
- The honors sequence, designed for students with advanced math skills who are ready for intense problem solving, moves at a faster pace. Students complete algebra coursework (and, optionally, geometry) by the end of eighth grade and typically complete two years of AP math courses before they graduate.
Students enjoy their exploration of challenging math problems on a daily basis, learning to apply their conceptual understanding of mathematics to complex real-world problems. They reinforce their learning through frequent skills quizzes focused on essential skills.
Math For A Changing World: Grades 9 Through 12
Although Upper School students are required to complete four semesters of math, most opt to take math every semester, choosing appropriate courses for their goals. Blake offers a deeper range of math courses than most other schools. After completing Algebra II and Geometry (or their equivalents), students choose courses based on whether their primary interests lie in humanities and social sciences or in applied sciences and pure mathematics. Students choose among various Advanced Placement and post-Advanced Placement courses, such as AP Statistics, and are encouraged to take math electives covering topics such as number theory, logic, research in mathematics, and software design. They continue to draw connections between mathematical concepts and the world around them – for example, studying independent and dependent variables by working with a partner to construct a game based on compound events. Students become independent and persistent mathematical thinkers who derive satisfaction from solving challenging mathematics problems.