The Norwood math program creates mathematical thinkers who have deep conceptual understanding, computational fluency, and confidence in applied problem solving. The program at every grade level is child centered, engaging, and rigorous. Students develop a mastery of computational math and apply their understanding by working through and solving open-ended problems. In grades PK-5, the program utilizes Bridges in Mathematics as the primary curriculum resource. In grades 6-8, the program utilizes the Glencoe Math program. Math at the elementary level is taught in homerooms with two teachers in the classroom, maintaining a low student-to-teacher ratio and allowing differentiation in daily instruction. Starting in sixth grade, students pursue either an algebra track or an accelerated algebra track that culminates in an eighth-grade geometry course. At the middle-school level, there are math clubs and competitive teams for those wishing to expand their math experiences at Norwood. At all grade levels, positive mathematical practices and attitudes are fostered; these include approaching math with a growth mindset, persevering in problem solving, reasoning abstractly and quantitatively, constructing arguments and critiquing those of others, and modeling with mathematics.
Pre-kindergarten students build their number sense by comparing amounts of items and learning the corresponding numbers for those groups. By using both small and large manipulatives such as blocks, marbles, pebbles, and cubes, the students compare differing amounts and use descriptive words for them such as ‘greater’, ‘less’, and ‘equal.’ The curriculum emphasizes conceptual knowledge in addition to numeracy and works to help students develop a knowledge of math concepts by using numbers to understand their world. Using formative assessments, teachers work with students individually and in small groups to support their growth in order to foster a love of math.
Kindergarten students build their number sense, learning how numbers correspond to quantities and learning how to put numbers together and take them apart. The curriculum emphasizes not only procedural skills but also conceptual understanding; students go beyond understanding just the basic computations and develop an enduring understanding of math concepts. Concrete visual models, such as five and ten frames, bead racks, and number lines are used as tools for developing numeracy. Using many different forms of frequent assessment, teachers work with students individually and in small groups to support their growth. Students learn through a balance of games, inquiry, multi-sensory activities, and direct instruction.
The first grade math curriculum helps students develop the strategies needed to understand numbers in their world. Focusing on topics such as computational skills in addition and subtraction within 20, whole number relationships, and geometry, students engage math problems through use of hands-on manipulatives, games, and whole and small group instruction. Visual models, such as ten frames, bead racks, and open number lines support students’ numeracy and conceptual understanding of math. While students are assessed through unit tests, they also engage in projects and experiences that help math come alive for young students excited to see the world this way for the first time.
In second grade, math becomes a way to solve problems. Studying place value, patterns, and equations, as well as money, time, and data sets, students continue to develop as mathematicians. Visual models, such as bead racks, open number lines, and base 10 area pieces support students’ move from concrete representation to the more abstract in mathematics. Through whole and small group instruction and math games, second graders continue to practice fundamental computational skills in addition and subtraction. With a solid foundation in these concepts, students demonstrate their understanding through solving multi-step, open-ended problems.
In third grade, students develop a deeper understanding of math topics such as multi-digit addition and subtraction, data graphing, and 2-D geometry. They begin their study of multiplication, division, and fractions. Students use manipulatives and solve real-world problems. A primary focus is solving more complex, open-ended problems that require higher-order thinking skills. As students’ fluency in these concepts build, they apply them by working through and solving open-ended questions. Math discussions play a larger role in the math classroom, with students refining their ability to communicate their math understanding and strategy use. Teachers and students use visual models, such as open number lines, areas models and arrays, ratio tables, and base 10 area pieces, to support students’ movement to understanding increasingly abstract representation in mathematics.
In fourth grade, the curriculum continues to develop a solid fluency in computational math, covering topics such as: multiplying and dividing multi-digit numbers; using all four operations to solve problems; adding, subtracting, and multiplying fractions; and analyzing geometric shapes. Emphasis is placed on students representing and solving mathematical problems by using equations and algebraic reasoning. Students learn through a combination of small-group, individual, and whole-class activities. Students continue to hone their ability to explain their mathematical thinking during math discussions and forums. Teachers and students continue to use visual models, such as open number lines, areas models and arrays, ratio tables, and base 10 area pieces, to support students’ movement to understanding increasingly abstract representation in mathematics.
In fifth grade, students focus intensively on several critical areas: developing fluency with addition and subtraction of fractions, developing understanding of multiplication and division of fractions, extending division to 2-digit divisors, developing understanding of operations with decimals to the hundredths place, developing fluency with whole number and decimal operations, and developing understanding of volume. As in prior grades, students apply their skills and fluency in math to solve open-ended problems as well as real world applications of math.
In sixth grade, students transition to the Glencoe Middle School Math Program. They also are placed into more homogenous groups in order to provide the appropriate level of rigor. Students continue to practice fundamental math skills such as multi digit computations. Area and volume are studied in greater depth and as an element of spatial analysis. Additionally, students begin to study pre-algebra. As in prior grades, students apply their skills and fluency in math to solve open-ended problems as well as real world applications of math. The accelerated sixth grade math course covers additional topics like probability and statistics, inequalities, and linear and non-linear functions. Additionally, some students, based on a portfolio of information, skip sixth grade math and take pre-algebra honors with seventh graders. They then take honors algebra in seventh grade and honors geometry in eighth grade.
In seventh grade, most students enroll in pre-algebra. The course is taught in two levels, regular and honors. The course is a rich exploration of topics in pre-algebra and builds on the foundations developed in prior courses. The main differences between the two levels are the pace of curriculum progression, depth of topic discovery, and independence in problem solving expected from students.
In eighth grade, most students enroll in algebra. Like seventh grade, the course is taught in two levels in order to best challenge students. Those eighth grade students who have already completed algebra enroll in honors geometry. Students in the geometry course investigate geometric situations, develop conjectures from them, and ultimately progress through the full range of proofs. Topics covered during the geometry class include, among others: reasoning (logic, inductive, deductive), constructions, polygons, transformations/ symmetry, and trigonometry. Students completing this track will have credit in both algebra and geometry.
Every year, the Norwood community designates one week, called Monster Math Week, to zero in on all the many fun, challenging, and engaging ways that math is celebrated throughout the year. Check out this year’s Monster Math Week video.
Math in the Lower School (grades PK-4) is taught by homeroom teachers in addition to the following teachers. See grade-level pages for a list of homeroom teachers.
List of 1 members.
Lower School Math Coordinator
Bates College - B.A. Lesley University - M.Ed.
List of 7 members.
Middle School Math Teacher
Providence College - B.A. University of Maryland - M.Ed.
Sixth Grade Homeroom Advisor
Union College - B.A. Lesley University - M.Ed.
Middle School Math Coordinator
University of Maryland, Baltimore County - B.A. University of Maryland, University College - M.A.
Fifth Grade Homeroom Advisor
Southern Connecticut State University - B.A. Southern Connecticut State University - B.S. Bank Street College of Education - M.S. Ed.
Sixth Grade Homeroom Advisor
Stanford University - B.S. George Washington University - M.Ed.
Fifth Grade Homeroom Advisor
University of Sri Lanka (Kelaniya Campus) - B.A. Johns Hopkins University - M.S.
Middle School Math Teacher
Earlham College - B.A. Indiana University - B.S. & M.B.A.
Located in Bethesda, MD, Norwood School develops students in grades PK-8 into confident lifelong learners who have the academic, character, and leadership skills to succeed in high school and beyond. Recognizing that children are multi-faceted, Norwood provides many opportunities for safe risk-taking, exploration, discovery, and growth in a nurturing, supportive, and inclusive school community.