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Monthly Math Newsletter
Monthly Math Newsletter
  • September 2018 - Math Newsletter
    • Focusing on the Fundamentals of Math, Grades 1-8

      The Ontario government recently released a parent fact sheet and a teacher’s guide on Focusing on the Fundamentals of Math in grades 1 to 8.  In the guide, teachers are asked to focus attention on expectations from the Number Sense and Patterning strands of the current math curriculum and are also asked to focus on student understanding and sense-making before formal methods, such as algorithms, are introduced.  

      York Region teachers have always worked to develop strong number sense and computational fluency while supporting student understanding of underlying concepts.  All educators in our board continue to support students in becoming confident problem solvers who use mathematical knowledge, skills and processes to be contributing members of a changing society.  

      In order to support your child with math at home and in day-to-day life, this site lists useful websites, activities and games that you can reference and use.  Thank you for the important role you play in the creation of confident problem solvers.​

      Math is everywhere!

      Septemb​er is a great time to start building routines at home which can support children in developing a positive disposition towards math. Providing opportunities at home that promote math talk can support a child’s mathematical knowledge and understanding.  Whether you are, shopping, cooking, playing a game, organizing, taking a walk, or reading, there are many opportunities to highlight math in different ways.


      Primary - Grocery Shopping

      • Ask your child to estimate how many of a grocery item (for example, a type of fruit or vegetable, bread or pet food) your family will need for the week.

      • Ask, “Why do you think that amount will be needed?”

      • At the end of the week, have your child count the number actually used.

      Junior/Intermediate - Budget Challenge

      • Give your child an imaginary budget to spend at his or her favourite store (flyers or online catalogues may be helpful). Without writing down the amounts, have your child choose items to purchase. He or she will have to use estimation to stay within the budget. Then, have your child add up the actual costs. Did she or he stay within the budget? For a challenge, help your child estimate any taxes.

      Tips for Math

      • Build strong, positive attitudes about math. When children feel positively engaged and successful, they are more likely to stick with an activity or a problem to find a solution.

      • Begin with activities that meet your child’s level of mathematical understanding. Early success in solving problems will build your child’s confidence. Gradually move to activities that provide more challenge for your child.

      • If you and your child are more comfortable in a language other than English, use it. Your child will understand concepts better in the language that he or she knows best

      (Taken and adapted from Doing Mathematics With Your Child, Kindergarten to Grade 6: A Parent Guide)

  • October 2018 - Promoting a Growth Mindset
    • Promoting a Growth Mindset

      “In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.” (Dweck, 2013)

      "Before your child can learn mathematics, he or she needs to believe in his or her ability to do so. That’s where you come in. You can be your child’s 1st role model for learning. When you engage with your child in a supportive, relaxed atmosphere, your child will enjoy exploring the world of mathematics." (Doing Mathematics with Your Child, Kindergarten to Grade 6)



      Which One Doesn’t Belong is a great activity that promotes mathematical thinking because there are many “right” answers - it all depends on their reasoning.

      Show your child this picture:


      Ask them, “which one doesn’t belong? Why?”

      For additional images, check out:

      Another great way to get your child talking about math is using images and questions from Estimation 180. This website has a series of images and encourages children to think about answers that are too high, too low and just right (Goldilock estimates).

      Here is an example:


      How many total cheese balls in the six containers?

      For additional images and prompts, please see:

      To find out what your child will learn in math this year or to find other fun activities that you can do together as a family, please visit  Be sure to also try our Problem of the Month

  • November 2018 - ​Problem Solving
    • Problem Solving

      At school, students have opportunities to engage in problem solving tasks. At home, mathematical problem solving can take on many different forms. For example, budgeting, time scheduling, measuring and constructing are all situations where children would need to problem solve. Problem solving, being the process of finding solutions to challenging issues, is an essential component of your child’s mathematical journey.

      As your child works through problem solving tasks at home, here are some strategies you can encourage them to use and questions you can ask them:


      • Drawing a diagram or picture

      • Make a simpler but similar problem

      • Use concrete objects to represent the problem

      • Use a mathematical model (e.g., ten frame, number line, array, etc.)

      • Guess and check

      • Look for a pattern

      • Work backwards

      • Use a formula

      • Check your answer - does it make sense?


      • How would you state this problem in your own words?

      • How does this problem remind you of a problem you have solved before?

      • What problem solving strategies have you tried?

      • What strategy will you try next?

      • Were there parts of the problem that were easy or challenging?

      • Does your answer make sense? Why?

      * Strategies and Questions taken from

      Activities: Below some problems that you can try with your child  


      Primary Math Problem: Three Block Towers

      Image of Three Block Towers problem from nrich website 

      Junior Math Problem: Shape Times Shape

      Image of Shape Times Share problem from nrich website 

      (Image taken from​)

      Intermediate Math Problem: Friday 13th


      Can you explain why every year must contain at least one Friday the thirteenth?

      What is the greatest number of Friday the thirteenths that can fall in one year?

  • December 2018 - Winter Math
    • Winter Math

      Winter break is right around the corner! This is a great opportunity to take time with your child and connect math to the real world. Below are some ideas that will help get you started:

      • Grocery shopping can involve money, budgeting, estimating, adding, subtracting, and measuring

      • Cooking can involve weighing, measuring, ordering, estimating, adding, and multiplying

      • Organizing for a party can mean matching numbers of people to plates, cutlery, area of tables, ordering food, and seating arrangements

      • Going on a trip by car or plane involves time, distance, budgeting, speed, comparing various routes, and shape scavenger hunts

      • Completing a half finished symmetrical design using playdough (e.g., half a butterfly, tree)

      • Building a snowman can involve measuring, spatial reasoning, and estimating

      These ideas will help your child see the importance of math in their everyday lives through fun and interactive ways.

      The Ontario Ministry of Education recently released information for families about Focusing on the Fundamentals of Math.  You can access this information at

      To find out what your child will learn in math this year or to find other fun activities that you can do together as a family, please visit  Be sure to also try our Problem of the Month​

  • January 2019 - Questioning
    • Questioning

      Using effective questions when talking about math, supports the development of your child’s mathematical reasoning. The use of questioning provides children with opportunities to share and clarify their ideas, draw conclusions, and explain and explore new strategies. With good intention, we often rush to provide our children all the information they need to solve a math problem. By giving your child this information too quickly, they may not think deeply about the problem or engage in mathematical processes.

      Here is a list of questions you can ask to support your child’s mathematical thinking:

      • How did you solve the problem?

      • What did you do?

      • What strategy did you use?

      • How did you estimate what the answer could be?

      • What would happen if …?

      • Tell me what is the same? What is different?

      • How do you know?

      • How did you know where …?

      • How did you know which …?

      • How did you know when …?

      • How do you know your/our answer is reasonable?

      • Would this work every time? Can you/we think of any examples that don’t work?

      • Have you/we found all the possibilities? How do you/we know?

      • What have you/we discovered about __________ while solving this problem?

      • What have you/we learned?


      Primary/Junior - Math Before Bed

      Show your child an image and ask them “What do you notice? What are you wondering about?”. This promotes mathematical thinking - and then you can have them investigate one of their wonderings and come up with a solution. What a great time to ask them the questions above to really uncover what they are thinking!!  


      What do you notice?

      What do you wonder?

      (Image and problem taken from​)

      Junior/Intermediate - Would You Rather Math​

      On this site, there are a variety of scenarios that your child will be able to make a choice and use reasoning skills to justify their mathematical thinking.  


      Whichever option is chosen, justify your reasoning with math!​

      (Image and problem taken from

      To find out what your child will learn in math this year or to find other fun activities that you can do together as a family, please visit  Be sure to also try our Problem of the Month.

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