# Mathematics in Our District - Feb 2019

There is a long history of problem-solving being at the core of learning mathematics. Students’ understanding of mathematics and development of concepts, skills and processes is enhanced through problem-solving.

In classrooms, problems can be “word or story problems” that focus on a specific mathematical operation and structure such as:

*There are three plates of cupcakes for the birthday party. Each plate has 6 cupcakes. How many cupcakes are there for the birthday party?*An extension to this problem might be:*If there are 16 children attending the birthday party, are there enough cupcakes?*

Another type of problem in classrooms is what is called an open question that may have many ways of solving it and many possible solutions, such as:

*How many different ways can you represent 349?*

*If the perimeter of a rectangle is 48cm, what could the area be?*

Numeracy tasks are also experienced in classrooms where students apply their mathematical understanding to solve a problem in the school, community, etc. An example of a numeracy task at the elementary level could be:

*How does the amount of garbage we create at lunch compare to the average across schools in the district? How could we share this information with the other students in the school and make a plan to make our school more garbage-aware?*

In the elementary grades, we support students in developing many strategies and approaches to solving math problems and we encourage the practice of choosing and applying these strategies in different problem solving experiences. Having multiple strategies to use increases students’ mathematical flexibility in thinking and solving problems.

For more information about BC’s mathematics curriculum, talk to your child’s teacher, school administration or contact Janice Novakowski, K-12 District Teacher Consultant for Mathematics & Numeracy at jnovakowski@sd38.bc.ca