At 4th and 5th grade, whole number operations are mastered with an emphasis on their application to real-world problems and scenarios. Students learn and practice efficient and accurate strategies for multi-digit addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The learning of fractions, decimals and percentages is integrated with data analysis and probability and developed through games and visual models.
Students learn to apply formal terminology and standard units as they work on skills and concepts in two- and three-dimensional geometry and measurement. The foundations of algebra are constructed through real-world problems where students generate formulas, work with variables and solve for unknowns. Students also develop a strong grasp of important properties of operations, such as the distributive, commutative and associative properties, as well as the order of operations.
The use of mathematical tools, games and technology allows students to refine and extend their learning. Mathematical understanding is strengthened in the social context of learning, where students are challenged to communicate and participate as mathematicians. They must explain their thinking, use a variety of materials and models, express different ways to solve a problem, formulate conjectures and rules, describe patterns, agree and disagree with good reasoning, and evaluate their own mistakes and misconceptions. The Bridges curriculum is used as a foundational resource to build consistency of method, language and experience.
Emergent themes and projects sparked by student curiosity add to the emphasis on mathematics as a compelling form of inquiry and connection to the real world. Students are poised to be engaged, articulate and skilled mathematical thinkers when they make the transition to middle school.