- types of problems it addresses
- methods it uses to address these problems
- the results it has achieved
Mathematics relies on both logic and creativity, and it is pursued both for a variety of practical purposes and for its intrinsic interest. Primary and Secondary Mathematics however should focus on a holistic definition encompassing all facets of the subject as a discipline. I would like to explore, again another category generally believed to address Mathematics in its totality:
Mathematics as the prime human endeavor
We teach Reception and all Primary measurement of time for example, years, months, weeks, days, hours. We also teach distance measurement that developed throughout the world. For some people, the essence of mathematics lies in its beauty and its intellectual challenge. Because mathematics plays such a central role in modern culture, students need to perceive mathematics as part of the human endeavor, comprehend the nature of mathematical thinking, and become familiar with key mathematical ideas and skills.
Students and us as teachers tend to define mathematics in terms of what they learn in mathematics class. The instructional and assessment focus tends to be on basic skills and on solving relatively simple problems using these basic skills, this is only part of mathematics.
Beauty in Mathematics
It is important to study enough mathematics so that students understand and appreciate the breadth, depth, complexity, and beauty of the discipline. Mathematicians often talk about the beauty of a particular proof or mathematical result. G. H. Hardy was one of the world’s leading mathematicians in the first half of the 20th century. In his book “A Mathematician’s Apology” he elaborates at length on differences between pure and applied mathematics.
Mathematics is an aid to representing and attempting to resolve problem situations in all disciplines. It is an interdisciplinary tool and language.
Mr Hebert Tapfuma
High School Mathematics
Last week the Year 4’s had to set some personal goals for themselves to end the year in the best possible way. It was wonderful to see all the different goals that the students wanted to achieve. Goals varied from “improving my piano skills”, “respecting and accepting myself for who I am” to “giving my old toys to charity”. I noticed that there were so many students that wanted to do well in their progression tests and achieve a high mark at the end of the year.
It is clear that we’ve reached that time of the year where they might start to feel a bit overwhelmed and stressed about the upcoming tests and assessments. It is so important that we, as teachers and parents, encourage our children to do their best but it should not be something that causes them so much stress and anxiety. I recently read a beautiful quote that really stuck with me:
“Don’t compare your child to others. There’s no comparison between the sun and the moon. They both shine when it’s their turn” – Unknown
This quote really inspired me to start thinking differently about the way we think about these tests and the way that we speak to our children in general. I read a marvellous article on https://www.momspresso.com that summarized the impact that comparing can have on children:
The article states that every child is different and that in the present age, where competition has spread its tentacles in every walk of life, it is crucial to teach our kids to be grounded. And comparing him at each step will just not help. He should be taught to better himself with each day, not to be better than his counterparts. It is natural to know where our child stands amidst others, in this world of ranks and percentages and wherein everyone is bidding for that coveted seat in a top school or university. But to constantly harrow him as to how others are better than him will fill him with inferiority complex.
Here are some prime reasons as to why we should not compare our children with others:
- It leads to self-doubt.
- It causes pangs of jealousy.
- It can make your child negative.
- They will feel like they don’t have your support.
- It can make them extremely nervous and cause anxiety.Instead of comparing your child to others, rather encourage and motivate them to better themselves and teach them to love and respect themselves.
Here are some easy tips to motivate your child:
- Let them set realistic goals for themselves.
- Celebrate their accomplishments – no matter how small.
- Encourage them.
- Take interest in what they do and spend time with them.
- Discover their passions and use it to help them achieve their goals.
- Always remain positive.
- Ensure that they know you love them no matter what.Inspired by the quote about the moon and the stars, my class had to decorate and colour in a picture of a moon and a sun and was encourage to be as creative as possible. The creativity and uniqueness in their picture reflects their own uniqueness. We are all different and that is what makes us special.
I wish all the students that are studying for the upcoming tests and assessments all of the best.
Always remember: You are worthy, you are blessed and you are loved.
Mrs Ria du Plessis
The Year 2s are learning about electricity and simple circuits. Mrs. Baker’s class were guided safely to discover how electricity works.
The class was divided into four groups. They were given: a small light bulb, some wires, a battery, a battery holder, and a switch. Their task? Make the light bulb glow!
Much consternation, frustration and excitement followed. Each group was determined to be the first group to get the light bulb to glow. Mrs. Baker soon realized that a couple of tips were needed. The students got back on task, and before long, an excited shout could be heard as one of the groups were able to get their bulb to glow.
Why do such an activity in Year 2?
Science allows for many skills to be integrated in one subject. Students were expected to collaborate to complete the task. They had to problem solve and critically analyse what they were doing to change what wasn’t working and improve on what they had done so far. Once the students saw that all the wires and metal parts had to be touching for the light bulb to glow, immediate cohesion was seen in the group with each child having to hold a wire or a battery holder or the bulb to make sure everything was working in circuit.
I don’t think these Year 2s will easily forget this lesson! Hopefully this will ignite their curious minds to ask questions and discover new things daily.
Year 2 Teacher
The Nursery class is enjoying building blocks. They have been working together to make big towers, learning to share with each other while cooperating for a greater goal.
We have been learning about different shapes and discussing what shapes the blocks are. At this stage we are investigating squares, rectangles and triangles.
A few benefits of building blocks include:
- Improves hand-eye coordination by learning to place the block on the block tower in such a way that does not topple the tower.
- Teaches early math and engineering skills through hands on learning.
- Spatial awareness.
- Improves fine motor skills.
I wish to encourage parents to spend time with your children, building with a variety of blocks and Lego. Such a simple activity can have a tremendously positive impact on learning.
I have just returned from a wonderfully informative conference in Budapest. It is always encouraging when principals from different corners of the world come together as it’s an opportunity to learn from each other’s different experiences.
I have also recently had a visit from Cambridge Regional Director, Juan Visser, on Wednesday the 16th of October. I am happy to report that as a Cambridge Registered Centre we are looking forward to continued support from Cambridge; their guidance with regards to university entrance, subject choice and compliance is invaluable.
Cambridge Primary has traditionally focused on Mathematics, Science and English as Core Subject Areas. However, effective from September 2019, the curriculum will be broadened. It is important that students are able to identify their favorite subjects early in their academic career and are encouraged to pursue the areas in which their natural talents lie. In order to accommodate the differing strengths and interests of the students, Cambridge has broadened its curriculum with the addition of Art and Design, Digital Literacy, Music and Physical Education. Their aim is to develop the all-important “soft skills” of teamwork, responsibility, leadership and resilience. Cambridge is constantly developing and revising its programs in order to offer the best possible education for the learners.
“In a fast-moving world, education needs to evolve.”- Dr. Judith Roberts
The focus of the curriculum for the various subjects are as follows:
- Digital Literacy aims to develop learners understanding of the digital world and celebrates the opportunities that technology offers. The aim is to increase the confidence in students while using technology.
- Physical Education focuses on developing movement skills.
- Music allows the learners to explore the subject as performers, composers and listeners.
- Art and Design encourages learners to express themselves as they experience and reflect on art.
We are incredibly excited about the broadened scope of the curriculum as we are now able to offer the above subjects to the standard which Cambridge requires.
I wish you all a wonderful weekend.
The definition of appreciation- the thoughts of a teacher.
It’s the little things.
As clichéd as it might sound, I truly feel that it is the small moments of triumph, the quiet moments we keep to ourselves when an involuntary smile breaks across our face and a lightness, a sense of joyous freedom descends; these are the moments we return for.
Humans need to feel valued, is this not a universal truth? Most of us want our value vocalized, trumpeted, for us to feel secure.
I am coming to realize that teachers are a little different in this respect.
The importance of teachers is undisputed and good teachers are invaluable. I think we know our value and it’s not just about our students reaching a predefined academic standard. We applaud the A’s and encourage the C’s and, naturally, seeing a student or a class improve over time gives us pleasure; it’s the pleasure of knowing that we are fulfilling our purpose, our requirements. Where I believe the true joy in teaching lies is in the little moments, insignificant perhaps in the grand scheme of academic terms and mark sheets, but nourishing to the soul of a teacher.
The simple phrase “thank you, ma’am” has a healing quality which can transform bitterness into relief, it can coax a reluctant smile from even the most recalcitrant of jawlines. A scribbled note in the corner of the board, a ‘U rock!’ Or perhaps a ‘stay awesome!’- it doesn’t secure an A, but it sure secures a smile.
We enjoyed a visit from Andrew Blackie (Commercial Director) and Louise Mayor (Head of Marketing) of Sparx this week. The Sparx Programme will be introduced to our School next year. More information will be sent to parents shortly.
Wishing you a restful weekend.
Art programs encourage students to be creative and use their imagination as much as possible. As this increased emphasis on creativity happens, children cherish new ways of thinking about the world in general. Needless to say, art programs are a critical aspect in helping students to magnify their understanding of their place in relation to the rest of the world they live in.
Additionally, students are also capable of developing an understanding and appreciation for different cultures, which can translate to an increased sense of tolerance and social acceptance.
The Cambridge IGCSE Art & Design syllabus aims to encourage a personal response by stimulating imagination, sensitivity, conceptual thinking, powers of observation and analytical ability. Students gain confidence and enthusiasm as they develop technical skills in two and three dimensional form and composition, and are able to identify and solve problems in visual and tactile forms. They also learn how to develop ideas from initial attempts to final solutions. An ideal foundation for further study, Cambridge IGCSE Art & Design also develops a greater awareness of the role played by the visual arts in society and in history, broadening cultural horizons and individual experience.
The Cambridge International AS and A-Level Art and Design syllabus considers expression and communication. Students gain an understanding of visual perception and aesthetic experience, and the ways in which art and design creates a language of its own. Most of the work for this syllabus is practical or studio based, so that students can develop their abilities of observation and analysis of the visual world, sensitivity, skill, personal expression and imagination. They also learn how to relate their skills to an enhanced knowledge of their own cultures, past and present, as well as an appreciation of practical design problems.
Students are often asked to “think outside the box” in terms of problem solving. Art programs encourage novelty and nonlinear thinking, skills that can be used not only in academic settings but in the professional world as well.
High School Art Teacher
On Friday, 4 October, the year 2 classes visited the Planetarium and the Iziko Museum. They were treated to an amazing show in the dome, experiencing travelling around our galaxy in a spaceship commanded by aliens. Although fun, the students learned some new interesting facts about the planets in our solar system.
We visited a part of the museum where the students explored sea life in various forms. They enjoyed the Whale tunnel, which they could stand in and hear the whale calls. A highlight was definitely seeing the jaws of a shark, and actually being able to fit their heads into it.
Visit http://www.iziko.org.za/museums/planetarium for more information on this fantastic outing.
Year 2 Teacher
“Show and Tell” is always a very exciting day in the Reception classes. Students come to school eager to share their presentations with their friends.
Although a fun day, the importance of “Show and Tell” cannot be overlooked. “Show and Tell” gives students the opportunity to share some of their personal experiences and general knowledge with their peers. Preparing a presentation with their mom and dad creates that special time between parent and little one and often they find facts that even the teacher didn’t know.
Our “Show and Tell” this week was all about under the sea and the students came prepared to tell everyone about their favourite sea animal. It is daunting task standing in front of the whole class to do your presentation, and some of the little ones are often shy at the beginning of the year. Though as the year progresses it is amazing to observe the growth in confidence. “Show and Tell” not only builds that self confidence that comes from presenting, but also teaches students respect for their peers, as it is just as important to be a good audience.
How to Prepare for Show and Tell:
(When your child is practising you may need to remind them of the following)
– Keep your head up and look around at your audience as much as possible.
– Use a loud and clear voice.
– Keep your feet still and together on the floor.
– Try to use exciting words or adjectives to describe your adventure or object.
Go to https://speakupstudio.com.au/show-and-tell-part-two-tips-for-show-and-tell for the full article.
We are so proud of our little ones and as always, the teachers also learned some interesting facts. (Who knew there are 440 different species of sharks?)
Welcome back to the fourth and final term of 2019
A warm welcome back to all high school students and their parents. It is finally upon us, the fourth and final term of 2019. One of these days the holiday jingles will echo noisily throughout the shopping centres and that’s when one realises that the end of the year has arrived. Before we reach that stage however, we have a busy and important term ahead of us.
Whilst the majority of our students were enjoying the last two days of their holiday, our Year 10 (IGCSE) and Year 12 (AS/A Level) students began their final external examinations. The Cambridge IGCSE and AS/A Level examinations run from the 30th of September to the 15th of November 2019. We wish all our students the best of luck during this time and urge them to prepare as thoroughly as possible.
We also congratulate the newly elected SRC for 2020. The role of the SRC is very important in the high school and we look forward to working with them.
Good luck to all the students and parents in this final stretch of 2019.
Mr J Harrison
Head of Academics