Mathematics

Mathematics Philosophy
“The study of mathematics is a fundamental part of a balanced education. It promotes a powerful universal language, analytical reasoning and problem-solving skills that contribute to the development of logical, abstract and critical thinking. Mathematics can help make sense of the world and allows phenomena to be described in precise terms. It also promotes careful analysis and the search for patterns and relationships, skills necessary for success both inside and outside the classroom. Mathematics, then, should be accessible to and studied by all students” (MYP Mathematics Guide).

We believe that mathematics is a vital part of every student’s education, and that every student can access mathematical reasoning and skills with an individualized pedagogical approach. Mathematics needs to be made relevant to students by exploring it through real-life applications as well as its interdisciplinary connections. Rather than memorizing formulas in abstract terms, every mathematical process must be embedded in rich, meaningful contexts.

Mathematics Belief Statement
We believe students learn Mathematics best when:

  • the goal is increased conceptual understanding supported by factual knowledge and skills, and the transfer of understand across global contexts
  • the teacher facilitates student inquiry into important interdisciplinary and disciplinary topics and issues using or two key concepts as the conceptual
    draw
  • instruction and learning experiences utilize concepts along with factual content to ensure synergistic thinking
  • the teacher deliberately uses concepts to help students transcend the facts
  • the teacher posts questions of different kinds (factual, conceptual, debatable) to engage interest and to facilitate synergistic thinking
  • students work in groups often to facilitate shared social inquiry, collaboration, synergistic thinking and problem-solving. Students may work
    independently, in pairs or groups, or across global contexts using the internet or other communication tools
  • the teacher uses inductive teaching to draw the statement of conceptual understanding from students near the end of a lesson and posts the central or
    suggested supporting ideas for later connections to future topics in the curriculum. Students support their understanding with accurate facts as evidence of quality synergistic
    thinking
  • assessments of conceptual understanding tie back to a central (or supporting idea) by incorporating specific language from the idea in the task
    expectations
  • the teacher focuses on student thinking and understanding. He/she is cognizant of each student’s ability to think synergistically

Adapted from H. L. Erickson (2012) IB Position Papers: Concept-based teaching and learning.

Program Objectives and Goals

The goals of the MYP Mathematics program at the American School of Yaounde are to encourage and enable students to:

  • Enjoy mathematics, develop curiosity and begin to appreciate its elegance and power
  • Develop an understanding of the principles and nature of mathematics
  • Communicate clearly and confidently in a variety of contexts
  • Develop logical, critical and creative thinking
  • Develop confidence, perseverance, and independence in mathematical thinking and problem-solving
  • Develop powers of generalization and abstraction
  • Apply and transfer skills to a wide range of real-life situations, other areas of knowledge and future developments
  • Appreciate how developments in technology and mathematics have influenced each other
  • Appreciate the moral, social and ethical implications arising from the work of mathematicians and the applications of mathematics
  • Appreciate the international dimension in mathematics through an awareness of the universality of mathematics and its multicultural and historical
    perspectives
  • Appreciate the contribution of mathematics to other areas of knowledge
  • Develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to pursue further studies in mathematics
  • Develop the ability to reflect critically upon their own work and the work of others.

Mathematics Course Descriptions

Grade 6
This course focuses on the basic building blocks, provides and builds on basic skills and lays the foundation for higher-level mathematics required for year 2 level math while applying it in real life situations using a multi-disciplinary approach. These basic skills are required for a better understanding of subsequent courses. Emphasis will therefore be laid on number sense, algebraic reasoning, geometry, measurement, data and statistics. This course will also provide students with experiences that extend their knowledge of the general mathematical skills for problem solving in real life situations.

Grade 7 – Pre-Algebra
This course focuses on building the foundation necessary for success in Pre- Algebra. Emphasis will be laid on the study of integers, order of operations, variables, expressions, and equations. Students will solve and graph equations and inequalities, write and solve proportions, and explore geometry, statistics, and graph concepts. They will be required to practice and strengthen their ability to develop their mathematical thinking, problem solving and analytical skills throughout this course. Students will be provided with experiences that extend their knowledge of the general mathematical skills to a higher level of problem solving and real life situations preparing them for Algebra I.

Grade 8  – Algebra I
This is a course in first-year Algebra; most generally, we will focus on form, logic, and relationships. There will be specific emphasis on connecting mathematics to the world around us. We will start the year with a study of mathematicians, number theory, and the overall inequality of daily life. Next, we will focus on the usefulness of grids in understanding function and non-function relations. In our finding common ground unit, students will explore systems of questions algebraically, graphically and most importantly in context. While exploring exciting exponents students will analyze growth natural growth patterns such as population and artificial growth patterns like computer processing speeds. Finally, we will explore the modeling of motion during our unit on quadratic functions. Students will receive excellent preparation for subsequent Integrated Math and Algebra II courses. They will develop skills in the areas of knowing and understanding, pattern investigation, communication and applying mathematics to real world contexts.

Grade 9 – Integrated Math
Integrated Mathematics weaves together numeric, algebraic, geometric, and statistical curricula to enable students from a range of math backgrounds to tackle challenging problems with a variety of approaches. Most generally, we will focus on form, logic, and relationships in mathematics. The emphasis of this course on abstract thinking and communicating ideas mathematically. Our first unit will allow students to hone their explanation and justification skills while exploring new technology. Students will use their analysis skills to explore basic geometric properties in artistic images, the organization of space, and the natural world. In order to strengthen Algebra skills, students will explore the algebra of area combining skills of finding perimeter, area, and volume with critical algebraic content. Special right triangles and trigonometry will be explored though our hands-on indirect measurement unit. Students find the unit totally transformational an engaging way to explore transformations in art. Finally we will end with curious circles where students explore arcs, sectors, and radians in preperations for Algebra II Trigonometry. Students will receive excellent preparation for subsequent high school mathematics courses. They will develop skills in the areas of knowing and understanding, pattern investigation, communication and applying mathematics to real world contexts.

Grade 10  – Algebra II & Trigonometry
In this course, students will be exposed to a wide variety of functions that they will analyze numerically, algebraically, graphically, and verbally, through the context of real-life situations. Such functions include linear, quadratic, cubic, rational, absolute value, trigonometric, and exponential and logarithmic. Students will be required to recognize the prevalence of quadratic solving methods in trigonometric, exponential, and logarithmic equations. Students will be required to graphs all functions with transformations on the plane without the use of a calculator. Students will also employ function modeling in order to use what they have learned to make predictions real life situations. A variety of assessments will be given, some that require technology in order to solve, and others that do not allow calculator use, in order to prepare students for DP courses in the following year.