Academic Insights: TCS Mathematics Department

CEMC math contests in February

Now over a year into a global pandemic, we have begun yet another shift to online learning. Our resiliency continues to be tested – yet we persevere! While mathematics at Trinity College School does not look and feel the same as in a traditional academic year (indeed, we miss the “lively” math classrooms with students working and learning together at the whiteboards or in small groups) teachers and students have learned to adapt and work together with new technology to support the learning process. Some examples include:

  • using iPads and note-taking applications to record lessons and complete practice problems
  • using Voicethread or Flipgrid to demonstrate understanding, submit solutions to problems and communicate with teachers as an alternative form of assessment
  • using Google Meet breakout rooms to collaborate with classmates and conference with the teacher for progress checks

Despite the challenging times, the department remains a familiar area to students since every student must take a minimum of three high school mathematics credits, and most choose to take four, five or even six. Students can choose pathways that are extremely “math-heavy,” in preparation for university courses in engineering, the sciences and some business programs; or they can choose pathways designed to develop mathematical literacy and comfort in a variety of other areas.

An enriching part of the department offerings are the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing’s numerous individual and team contests that many of our most enthusiastic students enjoy. This year, many had the opportunity to write the Canadian Intermediate and Senior Math Contests in the fall, the Pascal, Cayley and Fermat contests in February, and the Fryer, Galois, Hypatia and Euclid contests in April. Since the School had shifted to remote learning by contest time, students wrote the final set of contests off-campus. We will continue the department tradition of recognizing the achievements of our “mathletes” in chapel (perhaps remotely) toward the end of the academic year.

As the academic year draws to a conclusion, students and parents should also note that the Math Learning Centre (MLC) remains open to support students. When learning remotely, students can access this support in the same way they access their classrooms – through Google Meet. The MLC is open during each academic block and is staffed by a full-time faculty member. The schedule for Term 4 is as follows:

Block E: Mr. Matthew Fox
Block F: Ms. Megan Brown
Block G: Mr. Steve Patterson
Block H: Ms. Kristen Chen

While the MLC will continue to function as a learning space for current math support, students are also encouraged to use it as a resource for developing strategies and preparing for math tests and final assessments.

On top of all the math support available through TCS, here are three additional online resources that students may find helpful:

  • IXL Math – great resources for all grade levels (subscription may apply)
  • CEMC Courseware – another great resources for all grade levels (free!)
  • Khan Academy – great video library of specific math skills and topics

- By Mr. Steve Patterson, head of mathematics