The ability to work with numbers and to apply mathematics is essential to a solid educational foundation. At Falmouth Academy, students study mathematics every year. The practical application of mathematical theory forms a significant aspect of our approach to math. One application, of course, is the analysis of data students gather for their independent research projects for the Science Fair, co-sponsored by the math and science departments. With every passing year, this analysis becomes more sophisticated and detailed. Other class projects challenge students to design a strategy for their retirement or to describe the enlargement of a drawing using only mathematical formulae. Writing is another facet of the math curriculum as students research historical mathematicians and present their contributions in class.
We offer two series of courses to meet the needs of students with varying math background and skill. All seventh graders take Math 7, which uses group work and projects to challenge the top students and to fill in any gaps in an individual student’s preparation. The seventh-grade year also serves as a placement assessment for eighth grade, where there are two options: Pre-Algebra and Algebra I. For students who begin algebra in eighth grade, the freshman math course is Geometry. The course sequence continues in sophomore year with Algebra II, then Pre-Calculus and Calculus. Alternatively, students may take Algebra I in freshman year, continuing through Statistics and Functions or Pre-Calculus as seniors. At each level, students are taught to take more independent approaches to the solution of problems. Throughout the math curriculum, teachers are coaches rather than lecturers, encouraging students to discover the hows and whys of mathematics.