Keeping it Real: Authentic Math

FullSizeRender 59Authenticity is at the core of our practice at BISS, as we regularly design “real” learning experiences, instead of relying on hypothetical tasks or textbooks. In this way, our curriculum becomes relevant, complex and exciting.

Authenticity is often achieved by venturing off-campus to a professional industry (such as a medical lab – Gr 5, or an organic farm – Gr 3). We also utilise BISS experts (such as Mrs Burslem for experiments, or Mr Mac for robotics), and guest speakers (such as authors, doctors & professors, to connect their expertise to our inquiries). In Mathematics, children solve genuine problems (such as measuring the track – Kinder), rather than filling in worksheets.

Read on for the story of a wonderful “keep it real” math lesson!

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Have you met Simon?

IMG_3755This Grade 3 student can solve Rubik’s Cubes of all sizes, shapes and complexities in seconds.

His talent amazed and delighted his friends, when he demonstrated it as part of a home learning task. Since then, Simon has taught patterning, logic, algorithms and manual dexterity to his classmates so they, too, have become successful 3D puzzlers.

Mathematics is a child-centred, diverse and always engaging experience in Grade 3! Thanks Simon and Ms Bernadette!

Planning in the PYP

This Saturday, teachers came to school for a whole day of thinking, working and learning together! Our focus was Mathematics, as we planned Number and Pattern inquiries to be taught developmentally across the school.

IMG_5271We drew on research from all around the world to consider how the foundations of number, place value, operations (+, -. x, /), fractions and patterns can best be introduced, explored and extended on a continuum from Pre-K to Grade 5.  Most of this learning will occur outside our Programme of Inquiry, in the form of stand-alone math units. We spent a lot of time planning rich provocations, assessments and questions to ensure conceptual understanding and fluency of skill are achieved by our students.


Huge thanks to Ms Lara, our ES Mathematics Coordinator, who has led this curriculum development cycle, with extensive research, planning and coaching, over a period of 2 years. We are proud of the strong foundational Mathematics programme at BISS.

Math teachers come in all sizes!

mathLast week, Ms Lara Ronalds and 40 parents discussed ways to recognise, talk about & investigate Mathematics in daily life, through counting, cooking, shopping, travelling and budgeting.

Suddenly…a team of mini-teachers arrived!  BISS students from Kinder to Gr 5 took charge of the workshop. They taught games to play at home, using counters, dice, cards and strategic, mathematical thinking.

Thank you, Ms Lara!  Thank you, student teachers!

It was a great morning of learning for us all!