Well, I hope you all are able to take a break to relax, So far, we have clarified the Math courses that have changed and the reason the Ministry of Education (and other Canadian provinces) made these changes. The link to the previous posts are here and here.
You’ve also probably been wondering why your son or daughter is having such a tough time in the Grade 10 Foundations/Pre Calculus, or in the grade 11 Foundations or Pre-Calculus. There have been changes to the grade 10-12 course content as well as the grade 8 and 9 content as well. The courses have been re-arranged and many students are feeling like they are having to learn difficult math concepts for the first time. I think that some of this angst is because these courses are not completely in effect yet, and the math they may have taken in the grade previous is not exactly matching up with the course they are taking today. Each student will still have the necessary skills to complete these new courses, however due to the transition period, it they may not be as strong in some concepts as they feel they should be.
To try and sort this all out, I went to our local senior high school, Correlieu Senior Secondary, to ask the math teachers how the content of each new course is different. Here is what I found out:
· Some content of the grade 8 and 9 math courses has been removed in order to allow a little more time can be spent on each section of the course allowing students to learn at a slightly slower pace. In this way they are able to build the skills needed for the math courses in grade 10-12.
· The grade 10 math courses are divided into two streams; Apprenticeship and Workplace Math and Foundations/Pre-calculus.
· Apprenticeship and Workplace math is similar to the old Applications of Math course including the math skills related to wages, taxes, building and other trades.
· Foundations/Pre-Calculus math is different in content than the previous Principles Math. There is a greater course content which is contributing to the stress on those grade 10 Math students.
· The grade 11 courses now have some grade 12 content as well.
· According to a retired math teacher who has been teaching for over 40 years, “It’s the same stuff we’ve been teaching for years” just in a re-structured format.
Another document I found useful was by Dr. Charles Best on the Coquitlam School District Website, when answering the question “Mathematically, what is the difference between Foundations of Math 11 and Pre-Calculus 11?” he answered “Quite a big difference. Compare Physics to Chemistry, both sciences, but each concentrating on different fields of science. Similarly, Pre-Calculus 11 will look at topics needed for the study of theoretical calculus (ex. Trigonometry, Algebra, Permutations, Combinations). Foundations of Math 11 will look at the mathematics needed for non-calculus based fields of study (ex. Geometry, Relations and Functions, Finance, Statistics and Probability). Note: All of these topics were originally taught in the Principles of Math courses, and they have now been divided”
Last week we went over the choices available for the new BC Math courses. The link to that post is here. Now that you understand the basics to what is being offered and the purpose of each course we can go into the reasons why the BC Ministry of Education decided to make these changes. Although it may seem like this change happened suddenly, they have actually been in the works since 1993 and the Ministry involved teachers, parents, students and professionals. This was also a huge collaboration between the Ministries of Education in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and the Yukon. Combined, they built the Western and Northern Canadian Protocol (WNCP) and created this new math curriculum.
One goal, by collaborating with the other provinces, is that it allows many Canadian students to have the same math background when they graduate. Therefore students are not limited to their province of study for any career or post-secondary education they may want to take. This is a wonderful opportunity as students can now access programs that may not be available in their own provinces.
Another reason for changing to the new math curriculum is that the previous BC Math had streams based on ability. There were three options in math depending not on what career they were going to take, but the individual students ability level. If you were good at math, you took Principles, if you weren’t good at math, you took the Applications or Essentials course (again depending on your ability).
Although, it may be confusing, and require an adjustment, these new math pathways will provide practical math skills and opportunities for students no matter what their choices after graduation may be. See our post next week for information on changes within the course content!
Have you noticed that you or your child is finding Math 10 stressful this year? You are not alone. In this first semester, a majority of calls to Momentum Learning Centre have been about Math 10. Let me give you some background to this new math program and some tips on what may help. First of all, you probably notice that this is a different math program than last year. Most likely you received pamphlets from your child’s school last year or the year before outlining the new set of math programs. In case you don’t recall this pamphlet (or perhaps it never made it home) this is a good place to start in understanding the changes. The link to the pamphlet for parents and students is here. You will notice that the structure of the new courses is similar to that of the old curriculum, just the course content that has been re-arranged (which we will discuss in more detail later). There are now three basic streams for your child to choose: Apprenticeship and Workplace Mathematics, Foundations Math and Pre-Calculus. Each course is designed to have the students career/job pathway in mind. So, depending on what career areas your child is interested, they can now pick the appropriate math course. Here is a quick run-down of the purpose for each course:
Apprenticeship and Workplace– gives students math skills they will use on-the-job. These are the math skills that are most practical for trades and technical careers as well as those students who will be going straight into the workforce after graduation.
Foundations – teaches the skills for those students who will be going on into general post-secondary studies like social sciences or the arts. This course is also sometimes a pre-requisite for entry into some science programs, but please check with each individual university.
Pre-Calculus – This course is for students who plan on going into university and college in math based programs such as the biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, computer science, math, nursing. As well, students who intend on taking calculus should take this stream.
You will notice in Grade 10 that there are only two courses to choose from: Foundations/Pre-Calculus and Apprenticeship and Workplace. This allows your child to think about their career path in grade 10 a little more before choosing their math pathway.