JPS Mathematics Department

  • A Story of Units is taught in grades Kindergarten through 5. The identification of the unit is a very important mathematical tool that is used to start a student’s mathematical journey. An early example is when students are asked to count the number of circles displayed. When the student answers 5 circles or 20 circles, the circle is the unit. This builds the foundation to talk about 5 ones or 2 tens in a place value discussion. Units build through the years to include all of the place value names as well as factional names such as 1 fifth or 3 eighths. Including the unit helps to remind students that they can only add or subtract numbers with like units. For example, meters cannot be added to centimeters as they are written, we need to convert one unit to the other.

    A Story of Ratios is taught in grades 6 through 8. The ratio is a comparison of two units and describes their relationship. Examples of ratios students will see are miles per hour, percent (sales tax, discount, etc.), and build to the change in y divided by the change in x commonly known as slope of a linear function.

    A Story of Functions taught in high school examines all of the different types of functions: linear, quadratic, exponential, and more.

    The Story of Mathematics is one that we will never finish in our lifetimes because we all use math in some capacity. Some students will go on to become engineers and chemists that use advanced math on a regular basis. Some students will go on to be welders or carpenters to use math that many of us have forgotten about. We will all go on to be educated consumers and use math to purchase every day goods, shop at sales, drive within the speed limit, and many other ways that we no longer think of as math.

Denise Pusateri