By John Chambless

Staff Writer

In the upcoming school year, students in kindergarten through sixth grade in the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District will be facing some changes. The district is implementing the Math in Focus-Singapore Math curriculum to align with the new Pennsylvania Common Core standards.

Common Core has been adopted in 45 states for math and language arts. The goal is to standardize the education levels of students from state to state, and to encourage students to achieve higher level skills in core subjects.

In a letter to parents, John Nolen, the district's director of curriculum and instruction, said the new math program will require students to be "strong mathematical thinkers and problem solvers, as well as being fluent in basic skills and in other skill areas. The new state standards will be assessed on the PSSA starting in the 2014-2015 school year."

The Math in Focus-Singapore Math curriculum does boost student math scores as measured by international benchmarks, Nolen wrote. Students will be challenged with an increased emphasis on problem solving and thinking skills, and the program will better prepare students for algebra.

There will be a series of "Parent University" nights in the fall for give an in-depth view of key lessons and instructional strategies. Dates for these evenings will be announced in September.

The program provides online resources for students and parents. There also are parent tutorials which focus on components of the curriculum. Teachers are being trained in the new program over the summer.

For more information, parents can visit www.pdesas.org/Standard/CommonCore.

To prepare for the new curriculum, Nolen offered some ideas that families can work on over the summer.

First grade:

Practice and apply counting skills to help with a shopping list or to plan for a trip;

Mark important dates on a calendar;

Count coins for taking to the bank;

Review numeral writing;

Estimate how many cartons of milk or other product you will need at the store;

With help, measure the length of items for a project.

 

Second grade:

Make two- and three-digit numbers and order them from least to greatest;

Practice addition and subtraction skills;

Work on a project together that requires the measurement of small objects;

Compare and exchange different amounts of money;

Practice telling time;

Estimate and weigh packaged food items.

 

Third grade:

Look for geometric shapes at home and on trips;

Measure ingredients for a recipe;

Conduct a survey and tally the responses;

Estimate the cost of groceries;

Help plan a budget for a trip or outing;

Practice addition and subtraction skills;

Work on a project together that requires the measurement of objects;

Read analog clocks;

Count coins.

 

Fourth grade:

Calculate the change he/she will get after a purchase.;

Plan a vacation budget;

Work on a project together that requires the application of measurement skills;

Measure ingredients for a recipe;

Practice basic facts in addition, subtraction and multiplication;

While reading and listening to the news, ask your child to find examples of fractions and decimals;

Find geometric shapes at home and on trips.

 

Fifth grade: 

Estimate sums, differences, products and quotients of large numbers;

At the supermarket, challenge your child to decide which brand is more cost effective;

Plan a vacation budget;

Identify various three-dimensional shapes in your home or on a trip;

Plan a trip determining the distance to travel using the map scales expressed in ratio forms;

While reading a newspaper or magazine, ask your child to find examples of ratios, fractions, percents and decimals;

Measure ingredients for a recipe;

Practice basic facts in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division;

Work on a project together that requires the application of measurement skills;

On a car trip, read decimal distances on the odometer and calculate a fraction of the total distance traveled between two places.

 

Sixth grade:

While reading a newspaper or magazine, ask your child to find examples of fractions, decimals, mixed numbers, percents and negative numbers;

Determine unit rates for the prices of different brands or sizes of the same item;

Find the ratio of how far you have traveled to the total length of your trip;

Read graphs in the news and discuss what coordinates on the graph represent;

Find volumes of items listed on the product labels and estimate the surface area of boxes or cans;

Practice basic facts in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division;

Work on a project together that requires the application of measurement skills;

Measure ingredients for a recipe.