Our Curriculum

We have been fortunate enough to be able to write our own textbook series for our 9th-11th grade courses.  This was possible thanks to Park School’s F. Parvin Sharpless Faculty and Curricular Advancement (FACA) program, which supports faculty every summer in major curricular projects.  In addition to the support of FACA by the Nathan L. Cohen Faculty Enhancement fund and the Joseph Meyerhoff FACA fund, this project was also funded by grants from the E. E. Ford Foundation, the Benedict Foundation, Josh and Genine Fidler, and an anonymous donor.

Click here to see sample lessons.

In writing the textbooks, we wanted to introduce new material through an exploratory approach, so that students would see mathematics not as handed down from above but as something that makes its own sense.  We also wanted students to see mathematics as a subject that was primarily about problem-solving, so that they would develop both the expectation that most problems require some insight to solve and also the confidence that they could, indeed, solve those problems.  Our approach to developing problem-solving skills is through targeted practice with specific strategies such as “Tinker,” “Change or Simplify the Problem,” “Visualize,” “Represent Symbolically,” etc.  These strategies are mathematical habits of mind.

Though our approach is different from many existing textbooks, both “traditional” and “reform,” we cover a fairly traditional core of mathematical topics.  Many of our students choose to enter a calculus class when they have completed the curriculum.
Our textbook series consists of eleven chapters, each chapter consisting of lessons grouped roughly by theme.  It is an integrated curriculum:  students study algebra, geometry, and trigonometry in each year, often applying the tools of one of those areas when studying another.

Each chapter of our text begins with a “habits of mind” lesson.  This lesson consists of puzzle problems in which using a certain habit of mind will be useful.  For example, in “Change or Simplify the Problem we ask, “How many squares of any size does an 8×8 checkerboard have?” and “Find two consecutive positive integers where the difference of their squares equals 3747.”  Teachers normally begin a chapter in the habits lesson so that the students become familiar with the habit and its application.  When they move on to subsequent lessons, they continue to assign problems from the habits lesson over the course of the chapter.

The remaining lessons in a chapter follow this structure:

  • An introduction, consisting of a puzzle or some text providing an entry into the topic
  • A development section in which students are prompted to discover or create the tools they’ll need for the lesson
  • Practice exercises, so students can solidify the skills they’ve learned
  • The “Problems “section, a collection of nonroutine problems constituting the core of the lesson.  The problems in this section push the topic further and encourage students to make connections between topics.  Because these problems require ingenuity, using the habits of mind is often very helpful to students.
  • “Exploring in Depth” problems are either more difficult than those in the “Problems” section, or else venture farther afield from the main topic of the lesson.

In the lessons, we highlight opportunities for students to use the habits of mind they are familiar with.  We also have problems throughout the lessons reinforcing probability, functions, algebra, and other topics.

Portions of our textbooks are available here.  If you are interested in obtaining the entire series, please contact parkmathblog@parkschool.net .

16 Comments

  1. Posted August 25, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

    You may already know this, but the CME Project series (cmeproject.edc.org) is available and built with mathematical habits of mind as the central organizing principle. These books’ philosophy seems pretty aligned with yours, so you might find some material there to use with your students.

    There are a lot of great, thoughtful problems in your materials. Thanks for posting and best wishes for your teaching!

  2. Posted February 16, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Any updates on when you plan to publish your curriculum?

    • cukierm
      Posted February 18, 2012 at 9:33 am | Permalink | Reply

      We don’t have plans to publish as of now; however, we’ll send the pdfs of the entire curriculum to anyone who asks.

      • Jay
        Posted March 13, 2013 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        I’ve asked by e-mail a couple of times, but never gotten an answer. I am very interested in a copy, since the things you have already posted are so good, so if anyone could follow up on this I would be very grateful.

      • Mimi
        Posted March 13, 2013 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

        Sorry about that, Jay! I just sent you a private message to arrange to get you the curriculum.

  3. Sarah
    Posted July 19, 2013 at 8:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hello, I am very interested in getting a full copy of your curriculum. I sent an email request to parkmathblog@parkschool.net a few days ago. Please let me know how I should proceed. Thanks!

    • Mimi
      Posted July 26, 2013 at 11:16 am | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Sarah — sorry not to have gotten back to you sooner. You should have received an email from me by now.

  4. John J. Kalicki
    Posted January 3, 2014 at 11:48 am | Permalink | Reply

    Hello, I also asked previously having sent emails to parkmathblog@parkschool.net . Can I get a copy?

    Thanks.

    • Mimi
      Posted January 3, 2014 at 12:32 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hi, John. I just sent you an email so I hope we can be in touch now!

  5. Posted January 4, 2014 at 3:43 am | Permalink | Reply

    Comment on this page from “parking lot repair” is a spambot, just FYI!

    • Mimi
      Posted January 4, 2014 at 3:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Bowen. Sad when the spambots are busier with our blog than we are… we’ll have to post something real soon.

      • Tim Dolan
        Posted April 8, 2014 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

        Hi. Please can I have a full copy of your curriculum. I am a teacher in the UK and am interested in reorganising our curriculum along similar lines to yours.

        Thanks

  6. James
    Posted June 27, 2016 at 1:18 am | Permalink | Reply

    Hi! Great website.
    I’d like to get a full copy of your curriculum.
    Could you email it to me?

  7. Yasmin Jamal
    Posted September 4, 2016 at 12:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

    It seems very interesting. I teach Algebra II and would like to have a copy of your curriculum if possible. Thank you for your great ideas for group work. That’s the hardest thing for me to manage.

    • Mimi
      Posted September 4, 2016 at 3:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Jasmin. I sent you an email.

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