Math in the High Tech High Organization

What you will find on this site...
By following the grade level links to the left, you will find each grade level's "proposed" or "suggested" scope and sequence and a corresponding blueprint link for each unit. Teachers can use these resources but are ultimately the designers of the experience of the students in their classrooms! The links are primarily open ended problems but often can be the inspiration for a larger project! Here is a little project planner document that some teachers have used.

Our math vision through the Design Principles:

Common Intellectual Mission: Students are in untracked classrooms meaning all 9th graders take Integrated Math 1, 10th graders take Integrated Math 2 and so on. Within these classes the students explore math as a community with a de-emphasis on “answer getting” and greater emphasis on developing in the mathematical practices (perseverance, reasoning, precision, looking for structure, modeling, etc.)

Personalization: HTH math classes challenge all learners through projects and open-ended problems that allow students to take their learning as far as they want or are willing to. Because math is not seen as a discrete set of topics to be “mastered”, students are encouraged and given chances to explore and connect math to their experiences and continually construct new knowledge.

Adult World Connection: Our math students regularly connect their work to the world outside the classroom through modeling tasks and projects. Additionally, teachers take care to educate students on careers that require mathematical thinking and reasoning. Often guest speakers are asked to our classes to share how they use math on a regular basis.

Teacher as Designer: High Tech High math  teachers are program and curriculum designers and work with students to design the problems and projects at hand so that they stem from real questions the students are grappling with (like why do we need to learn math…).  Our grades have suggested scope and sequences that give a loose blueprint for topics per grade level, but beyond that, the teacher is in charge of designing the projects and picking the problems that will meet the needs of the students throughout the year.

Other links: 
  • Useful Websites: Here is an annotated list of websites that can have great problems to use in your class! 
  • Math Meeting resources: A place for articles for discussion at future math meetings at your site.
  • HTH Math: The Plan The powerpoint presented at the all-school staff day by Patrick Callahan outlining the reasoning behind HTH's transition to the common core.
  • HTMNC common core site: High Tech Middle North County has also created an in-house website with common core resources. 

High Tech High and common core? Some parts of the common core

 standards align with HTH philosophies, projects, and problem-based instruction. In particular, we find the math practices to be particularly compelling and can be seen as a focal point of most of our math classes. You can read more about the common core standards at 

Math in Projects:

A project is applying theoretical academic knowledge to a real world situation and reporting that work out publicly.  A superior math project...

  • Has many entry points for various levels of students (low floor, high ceiling)

  • Driven by a (perhaps not-math-jargony) essential question

  • math jargon: What can quadratic equations offer me?

  • non math jargon: What is time?

  • Has students making their own discoveries/ finding their own resources and answers, and creating and testing mathematical models. Teacher is not the only mathematical authority.

  • Frees up the teacher away from lecture, allowing him/ her to work with individuals and small groups

  • Students are engaged in mathematical reasoning throughout... not just a little math in the beginning and then a lot of "crafts"

  • The math is tied to something visually stimulating or applicable for the real world

  • There is an authentic final product that the students create, build, present on, and this serves as an authentic assessment

  • Students work on tasks that are “group-worthy.” They necessitate the desire to work with others and talk about current thinking and understanding.

New Assessments: The state of California has adopted the Smarter Balanced assessments that will be phased in during the 2014-2015 school year. High Tech High will participate in these tests, as do all public schools, but the "preparation" for them will come organically through meaningful projects and activities.

Beyond the tests, HTH teachers are regularly pushing the boundaries on how we assess students. This page will give videos, pictures, and examples of both traditional and non-traditional methods of assessment.

Teachers at HTH plan projects in a variety of ways. On this page you will find some resources for you as you begin planning your first project.