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PreK-Grade 12 International Day and Boarding School in Kobe, Japan | Since 1913


Math in the Secondary School

Math in the Secondary School

‘What did mathematics look like when you were a student?’ 

This week, we welcomed secondary school parents to our session ‘Math in the Secondary School’ to introduce how math is taught and assessed at Canadian Academy. The session started with sharing time with the question above, and common responses included ‘lots of drills and memorization’ or ‘no connection with everyday life.’ Do you think this is the case at CA? Our math teachers proved that it is not the case during the parent session.

As an international community with students from over 40 countries, it is indeed essential for us to ensure that our families understand how math is taught and assessed. How math is taught varies in different parts of the world or curriculum, and we understand that some families wonder how we enhance the students’ math skills whilst having a different math background. Therefore, the parent session was one of the great opportunities to ensure that our parents and teachers are on the same page regarding math learning.

During the session, our math teachers talked about the following points to provide a clearer picture of math learning at CA.

Sharing clear expectations and criteria - In every unit, the teachers share expectations and criteria based on MYP Mathematics Assessment Criteria. Each criterion includes command terms (apply, state, suggest, etc.) that describe what exactly the students are expected to be able to do. This way, the students and teachers can share the goals and work together to achieve them.

Communicating and expressing your own ideas - Math at CA, or more like in the MYP, is not only about solving problems and getting the answer right. The students need to justify their answers, using math vocabulary in an organized way, which is an important element of the assessment criteria.

Connecting learning with real-life scenarios - Our math teachers incorporate various real-life scenarios in their math lessons. One of the recent examples is the Urban Planning Unit of Grade 9. In this unit, the students studied coordinate geometry. They also listened to an urban planning consultant from Australia to figure out how coordinate geometry is used in actual urban planning. At the end, they applied the knowledge to design a residential community that could support the needs of people living in separate housing estates. 

In addition to everyday lessons, our math department runs afterschool math clinic. Our teachers and some older students are there to support both those who need math support and those who would like to extend their interest in math. This is a great example of how our math teachers ensure an environment where everybody can enjoy learning math at their own level.