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Building a School of Mathematicians, One Puzzle At a Time

Building a School of Mathematicians, One Puzzle At a Time

If you ask Math Specialist Rebecca Stowell or Instructional Coach Danielle Rubel what a mathematician looks like, they will point to the posters that have the faces of every student at Westmoor School.

The posters are part of their goal to grow a love for math in every student who walks through Westmoor's doors. And they’re doing it one puzzle at a time. Rebecca and Danielle created a Math Playground outside the library – a common hallway for all students. There are four stations where students can pick up a puzzle to do in class or at home with family or siblings. Teachers even have access through Google Jamboard to engage the whole class from their classroom.

Currently the puzzles are called ‘Broken Calculator,’ ‘Target Number,’ ‘Magic Triangle’ and ‘Equato.’ The puzzles  provide opportunities for students to build confidence, flexibility, use of mathematical practices and a develop a sense of joy with math.

“We were looking for ways to infuse the Standards for Mathematical Practices into our school culture. Math doesn't just exist during math class. Being a mathematician  is just like being a reader. You don’t just read in Language Arts. Your brain does it at any time. Math is the same way. The more we model a love for math and offer no-stakes opportunities, the more motivated our students are to join us on this journey,  Stowell said.