Math in the Little & Junior School

Carole Fullerton, an education consultant who works with teachers in the area of numeracy, continues to visit our Little School and Junior School teachers every month to provide ongoing support and resources for a variety of math instructional directions.  As part of her support, she goes into one or two classes, demonstrating for the teachers the particular math concept they are working through that day. One thing she has recently introduced is proportional reasoning using cuisenaire rods, which are learning aids that provide an active, hands-on way to explore mathematics and learn mathematical concepts. Other topics she’s been discussing with teachers are: using integers for solving equations, number patterns and equations, distinguishing between a variable and an unknown, and place value for the younger grades.  

The “Slice of Pi Math Club” is just wrapping up with Ms. Comeau working with Grade 5s and 6s who has been doing some amazing (and yummy) things with them. Most recently, they made strawberry shortcake and the girls were challenged to use a limited number of measuring tools and a conversion chart to measure the entire recipe. They needed to use their proportional reasoning, mental math skills, and knowledge of fractions. This Club has provided us with a tremendous opportunity to introduce math reasoning in a fun and engaging way. Be sure to sign up your daughter for next year’s “Slice of Pi Club”!

There is also an Elementary Grades Math Contest (ELMACON) at UBC on April 28, 2018. This contest is open to students in Grades 5 to 7 and gives them an opportunity to experience mathematics as an exciting sport!  It determines the winners right on the spot and students have found it instructive, inspiring, and entertaining. The last three years ALL the winners have been boys! We really want to encourage our girls to get involved. Check out their website for more information, and be sure to contact me if you have any questions.  Registration closes on April 9, 2018!

Grades 4, 5, and 6 have been continuing to work with Google CS First and Scratch on a number of different projects. I would encourage you to ask your daughter to show them to you. There are many exciting Coding Workshops for kids happening in and around Vancouver over the next couple of months. More information can be found here on the Canada Learning Code website.

If you have any questions about Math or Technology at the Little School or Junior School, be sure to contact me at your convenience.  

Charmalee Kirk
Interim Assistant Director of Junior School


Hour of Code

img_7269xJust before we broke for the holidays (December 5-9) students across the Junior School and our Grade 9 students in the Senior School participated in an online global movement called the “Hour of Code”.

The Hour of Code is an international initiative that introduces millions of students around the world to one hour of computer science. The premise of the “Hour of Code” is that everyone should have access to computer science because it nurtures problem-solving skills, logic, and creativity while also providing students with a foundation for success in any 21st Century career path. In fact, according to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics biennial update of employment projections, by 2020 (the year our Grade 9 students will graduate) employment in all computer occupations is expected to increase by 22%.

img_4061xThe excerpt below from CodeRev, Inspiring Kids To Code offers some valuable insight into why students who begin programming early become so successful.

“Students who learn to program early in life gain a deeper and more complete understanding of the logic and advanced thinking behind programming. Like learning a language early in life, learning and practicing this type of thinking early in development actually influences a child’s brain as it is still developing. This is why early learners have experienced such boundless success in this field (think Gates, Zuckerberg, Jobs,…the list goes on and on). We all know the future of our world is digital…so what can be more important to a child’s future than to provide a child now with a rich foundation in these integral thinking and problem-solving skills that will be so valuable for success in his or her future world.”


In the Junior School, Education Technology Coordinator, Tara Avenia arranged for  a variety of games and challenges that would  challenge students across the grades to problem solve and develop their own algorithms to find a solution.

  • Grade 1 students played the game Robot Turtles and used their iPads to learn code with “Code Spark Academy”
  • Grade 2 students continued on their learning journey that they began in Grade 1 with the BeeBots
  • Grade 3 students used blocks of code to make a Minecraft Game as well as to play LightBot, a game that asks players to use programming logic to solve puzzles
  • Grade 4 students used code to explore the world of “Frozen”
  • Grade 5s were challenged to design their own custom hero and play that character through a multi-level game
  • Grade 6 students worked with the program Scratch
  • Grade 7 students were challenged with METLAB where they broke problems into smaller chunks while learning basic programming along the way

hourofcode_09dec2016-1638Senior School teachers David Dallman, Noble Kelly, and David Gueulette developed a unique opportunity for our Grade 9 students to work on a challenge that incorporated music composition, new media design, and programming for the “Hour of Code.”

Students were challenged to design a “Sound Board”, an app that produced different sounds depending on what object or part of the screen was touched. Students worked in groups of three, to create, collaborate, and use computational thinking to develop an original design.

img_4067xStudents first followed two tutorials designed to teach them how to use the LiveCode Programming language, before creating their design. As a result of this process, students were exposed to what is involved in real-life app development, beyond simply writing the code itself.

While not everyone completed the challenge over the four blocks dedicated to the challenge, teachers reminded the students that it was the process and not the outcome that was critical to their learning. Students were challenged to collaborate in small cross-disciplinary teams, problem solve, and reflect on what they learned with their classmates.