Inside the Classroom: Junior School Math

During a recent math lesson in Galen Arakawa’s ’09 kindergarten class, students played games to explore shapes and numbers. “What are the attributes of a trapezoid?” Arakawa asked the class, while showing them different shapes on the projector. “Diagonal lines,” “corners,” “four sides,” students answered.

The kindergartners then sorted a pile of buttons by shape, color or number of button holes, then challenged a partner to guess how they were sorted. The children also posed the question to their families via an online sharing platform. “Students this age are really engaged by this game-based, hands-on approach,” Arakawa explained.

Throughout the Junior School, the Pearson Math Curriculum engages students in different types of learning through games, worksheets, tactile projects and online activities, all while enabling them to master math skills along the way.

In the comprehensive curriculum, math concepts build upon previous years and teachers use a shared language of math that helps students connect concepts across the years to reinforce their new skills. 

The various lessons help them discover how they learn best. “By providing all these different modalities for learning, this program helps students take risks, not be afraid to make mistakes and gain that confidence as learners,” said Lanelle Nishikawa, a second grade teacher.

In Nishikawa’s second grade class, students broke out in different groups to focus on a variety of activities that reinforced how addition and subtraction are related. One group was outside playing a game, others worked on iPads, while another group was mixing and matching equations cut from a worksheet.

Breaking out into the different activities helps students learn the core concept while being challenged in different ways. A student may fly through a worksheet, but when it comes to other activities, they might need additional support, Nishikawa said. This helps students adapt and grow and become more confident in their math skills. 

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