FXW Creates Community Around Math

More than 110 families participated in FXW’s 2nd annual STEM Night. They participated in 22 different events ranging from exploring gravity and programming robots to creating rockets out of paper and straws. Students showed their parents how to use maker-space while cardboard challenges encouraged creative problem solving and engineering. In addition, 7th and 8th graders showcased their STEM projects, including catapults and 3D printing projects. “We were thrilled with the energy and enthusiasm that overflowed in the classrooms and hallways,” said Erin Horne, Pre-K Principal and Director of Education. FXW parents Chad and Jen Jashelski shared: “STEM night was the perfect way to show our daughters that math and science can be fun. The special activities also sparked their creativity. It was a great opportunity to explore so many ideas and solutions. Our third grader and preschooler summed it up best: ‘that was so much fun!’ ”

Another way that we are building community around math is through our 7th and 8th grade math teams, led by Mrs. Carey and Mr. Ripes. Currently 26 students meet once a week after school to work on particular Algebraic applications and strategies. These 8th graders have learned how to solve systems of linear equations, while the 7th graders are investigating Arithmetic and Geometric Pattern sequences. Upcoming topics include: Counting Principles; Combinations and Permutations and Fibonacci Sequence and Fractals with Sierpinski Triangles.

Additionally, FXW is a member of the national Continental Math League (CML) where students can participate in monthly math contests. To date, our top six scorers for each division are 8th graders: Kristen Si, Sajel Peters, Nicole Onyemeziem, Maeve Healy, Paul Montes, Sarah Norville and 7th graders: Anika Dewjee, Brody Hanlon, Katie Johnson, Shane Healy, Will Chen and Margo Cicero. In addition to the CML, FXW Math Teams participated in two local competitions: the Latin School Invitational Math Contest and the Fenwick Junior High Math Contest. Mrs. Carey said, “We took strong teams to both meets and had a fantastic time!” Our top scorers at the Fenwick meet were Sajel Peters and Paul Montes. Go Jaguars!

Finally, our teachers are building community around math in a professional development experience called Lesson Study. A team of FXW teachers from each grade level work with Lesson Study Alliance, a not-for-profit organization based in Chicago that focuses on a way for teachers to “discover  solutions to common teaching-learning challenges” within the teaching of math.

During the summer and fall, a small team researched, planned, observed and later reflected on a 5th grade math lesson on Place Value Progression. More recently, a different team will continue the lesson study format in a 1st grade classroom. Teachers Ewa Sieminska and Bridget Hurley said: “This has been a wonderful professional development opportunity. It has given us the chance to explore different approaches of teaching math, and time to collaborate with teachers at the other campus. This experience helps us to foster perseverance, independence and critical thinking among our students.” FXW is truly committed to making math an important part of the FXW community.