A Math Problem for Every Grade

Over the summer, one of our amazing mathematics teachers, Stacey Cotty, stumbled upon a transformative book, Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics, and brought it to the math department’s attention. After reading just the first two chapters, our math teachers were hooked and knew that the book profoundly aligned with the mission of Bosque School—to create transformative learning experiences that empower a diverse community of students to lead lives of intellectual curiosity, personal integrity, and compassionate contribution to a more just world.
It took problem-enhanced learning—what many of our math teachers were already doing in the classroom—and expanded upon it. On Monday, every single math student in grades 6–12 walked into a classroom and was challenged with the exact same problem. In math education jargon, it had a low floor (easy entry for all students), a high ceiling (the problem could be extended to challenge even seniors), and an open middle (a myriad of different possible approaches). The students were at the whiteboards implementing creative problem-solving strategies from the very first day of school! 

Upper school math teacher, Tricia Phaneuf, noted that the day was a huge success. Reflecting on the exercise, one of her students told her, “Doing math is so much more fun than learning math.”

Throughout this year, the mission of our math teachers is to help all students develop their skills and capacities to collaborate, persevere, and take risks in the classroom. Along with strong skill development, each class will be using the pedagogical framework laid out in Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics to develop a deep understanding of the content at every level of our Bosque School mathematics curriculum.