Math teacher Carrie Sanidad uses the Beast Academy curriculum to introduce elementary students to the “Art of Problem Solving” approach in a light-filled classroom with flexible seating and colorful objects for exploration. As they progress through Honors Pre-Algebra, Honors and Algebra (and sometimes even Geometry!), math students venture into the art room and the design lab. MILTON math students spend time creating colorful tessellations, dot mandalas, and using power tools to build glockenspiels to demonstrate a root curve.
“We care less about the quick generation of right answers and more about the circuitous path to solutions,” Herndon explains. At MILTON, although math classes are leveled, there are opportunities for students who are identified with particularly insightful problem solving ability to transfer into an Honors course in sixth or seventh grade, even without necessarily having taken Honors the year before.
Inspired math students can’t get enough of this work. Due to popular demand, this year, for the first time, creative problem solving is also being taught as an afterschool club within our Moadon program. The elementary and middle school clubs are open to students in all math levels.
“Computation is only one part of successful problem solving,” Herndon says, “We want to know what kind of thinker you are. Do you have grit?”
Each Tuesday, 21 kids in grades 2-8 show up to solve problems together, led by Wendy Herndon and Carrie Sanidad. They relish the challenge.