Musings of a Math Teacher

Meggen Stockstill
I confess to deciding early on that I loved math. Luckily it came easily to me, and I actually enjoyed doing repetitive problems because I saw interesting patterns as I solved them. Finding patterns was comforting, and it built my confidence that I could solve even more difficult problems. The love of patterns is something that all of our Harbor Day students enjoy, and the pride they take in discovering relationships and explaining them is evident in our math classrooms. These patterns can be found beyond numbers to phenomena in nature (pine cones, seashell spirals, snowflakes, to name a few). The beauty and rhythm of math extends beyond numbers to the world around us!

Math is much more than just computing to find an answer. By doing math, our students learn skills and develop in ways that will help them beyond the math classroom and well past their school years. Why is math so powerful and useful?
  • Research conducted at Stanford University indicates that studying math develops regions of the brain that are necessary and are critical for decision-making and attentional processes.
  • Math helps us to think analytically and to develop better reasoning skills. Being able to decompose a math problem, identify knowns and unknowns, and taking steps to solve a problem are important strategies that apply to many areas of life.
  • Math starts with wondering and asking questions. Building that wonder, interest, and motivation makes math FUN!
  • We all appreciate math because it seems more black and white than other subjects. In a world of grays, reaching a correct answer that is not subject to opinion or interpretation is a very satisfying, comforting result.
  • Although math has a “right” answer, there are multiple ways to reach that answer. Learning different strategies gives our students the ability to use these tools to solve problems in a way that makes the most sense to them.
  • Math is brain exercise. Like a sport, math is a workout that builds brain muscle and strength.
  • Making mistakes in math helps students to grow. Just like editing an English essay, every error in math teaches something that will make our students better mathematicians and thinkers.
At Harbor Day, we recognize the importance of math to the total development of our students. Our teachers work diligently to challenge our students while making math an exciting, fun subject that gives them a great reward for their hard work. Our math specialist, Amy Grace, works with students of all abilities in math. In small groups, she helps and challenges students to see the beauty of math and to become confident problem solvers.

Why do our HDS students think that “Math is Fun”?  Here are some student quotes about math: 

“I love when I get to draw pictures to solve the problem because it makes the answer easier to figure out.” - Second Grade Student

“It is always fun to try hard problems and get them right.” - Fourth Grade Student

“Math is fun because there is only one right answer and there is a logical way to find it, most of the time.” - Seventh Grade Student

“When you come across a tough problem, finding the solution is one of the best feelings during the school day. It makes me feel accomplished and proud.” - Eighth Grade Student

The study of mathematics is central to our curriculum at Harbor Day. As you can see, our students are enjoying and thriving in this study!

Harbor Day School

3443 Pacific View Drive
Corona del Mar, CA 92625 Phone<title><script type="mce-text/javascript"> (function(a,e,c,f,g,h,b,d){var k={ak:"984895077",cl:"EfBCCP-Fv3UQ5ZzR1QM"};a[c]=a[c]||function(){(a[c].q=a[c].q||[]).push(arguments)};a[g]||(a[g]=k.ak);b=e.createElement(h);b.async=1;b.src="//";d=e.getElementsByTagName(h)[0];d.parentNode.insertBefore(b,d);a[f]=function(b,d,e){a[c](2,b,k,d,null,new Date,e)};a[f]()})(window,document,"_googWcmImpl","_googWcmGet","_googWcmAk","script"); </script><head><body>1-949-640-1410<html></html></body></head><br><br><br>
Harbor Day School is a co-educational private independent K-8 school established in 1952.