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Monthly Math Newsletter
Monthly Math Newsletter
  • January 2021 - Math Newsletter
    • Productive Struggle

      Productive struggle is a state of engagement that enables students to work through challenging problems and new problems they have never seen before. Thus, making students have to do some creative thinking so they will stretch their brains.

      Traditionally, it is often the quick calculators and good memorizers who are praised the most in math class. However, Stanford professor Jo Boaler warns that instruction based solely on memorization and arithmetic can lead students to misunderstand and dislike math. Test results show that the highest achievers are those who can see the bigger picture and make connections between different mathematical concepts. There’s a growing body of research that shows that getting students to the point of productive struggle is one of the keys to achieving deeper learning and creative problem solving.

      No longer do assessment questions merely ask students to apply the procedure to the problem. Instead, students are asked to come up with the procedure on their own.

      Here is an example:





      To solve the problem, students must have a conceptual understanding of the question and then employ their own creative solution. The graphic above shows three ways to visualize the solution to the problem, and three methods to arrive at a solution. It is important that we teach students early on that they are free to apply their own unique thought process when faced with new problems.

      By providing opportunities for students to share their reasoning and celebrating their different ways of thinking, teachers will encourage the process of productive struggle. Students engaged in this process build the creativity and confidence that allows them to attempt new challenges and problems they have never seen before.

      Excerpt taken from

  • December 2020 - Math Newsletter
    • The Value of Mistakes

      How often do our students consider their mistakes to be signs of failure? How many students, as well as families, believe that the goal of learning mathematics is solely to get the correct answer? How often, on arriving at an answer, do students believe their thinking about the problem is finished? ​In The Phantom Tollbooth, author Norton Juster offers a valuable contrasting perspective: Just as Reason explains to Milo, students can use their mistakes as learning opportunities to develop a deeper understanding of the mathematics that they are doing—although ​we may need to help them along the way.


      Can you recall an experience when an important mistake helped you to understand an idea or a skill that was not clear?

      The recent neurological research on the brain and mistakes is hugely important for math teachers and parents, as it tells us that making a mistake is a very good thing. Mistakes are not only opportunities for learning, as students consider the mistakes, but also times when our brains grow. Understanding the power of mistakes is critical, as children and adults everywhere often feel terrible when they make a mistake in math. They think it means they are not a math person, because they have been brought up in a performance culture (Boaler, 2014) in which mistakes are not valued—or worse, they are punished.

      Therefore, how we respond to productive errors can encourage or discourage student thinking and learning. How you respond to mistakes has the potential to discourage students or to help them become more confident in their ability to do mathematics. This new confidence can transform student attitudes toward learning mathematics.

      Be sure to share some examples of mistakes that have changed the world. Some of the more notable “mistakes” include Coca-Cola, sticky notes, rubber tires, chocolate chip cookies, and penicillin. You never know what the next great mistake may be!

      Excerpts from the Message from the President of NCTM, Linda M. Gojak in 2013 and Jo Boaler from - Mistakes Grow your Brain.

  • November 2020 - Math Newsletter
    • Fluency and Flexibility with Number (models)

      Number sense is an important part of mathematics learning, and is essential to our daily lives. Jo Boaler states, “People with number sense are those who can use numbers flexibly. When asked to solve 7 x 8 someone with number sense may have memorized 56 but they would also be able to work out that 7 x 7 is 49 and then add 7 to make 56, or they may work out ten 7’s and subtract two 7’s (70-14). They would not have to rely on a distant memory.” (Fluency With Fear) 

      We know that we want learners to know their math facts - they should be automatic - but the question is, what is the best way to do this? Here are some great strategies to help your child develop their number sense: 

      • Use mathematical models (e.g., 5 rack, 10 rack, math rack, number line, array, relational rods, two-sided counters) to build, develop and support the understanding of numbers

      • Work with your child to identify the various ways in which math facts can be understood, such as “+ 1”, ”- 1”, “+ 2”, “- 2”, “doubles”, “making 10”. 

      • Learn about number properties as they notice patterns in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. 

      • Look for relationships between numbers – for example: 3 × 6 is the same as 6 + 6 + 6

      • Represent operations performed on numbers in different ways 

      • Analyse results of operations (e.g., What happens when two odd numbers are added?)

      • Practise by playing games (see below - and for more, refer to Fluency Without Fear) 

      • Practise frequently

      For additional information, please see the following articles: 

      Fluency Without Fear (Jo Boaler) 

      Understanding Learning Disabilities: How Processing Affects Mathematics Learning (YRDSB)

      Focusing on the Fundamentals of Math (Government of Ontario) ​

      Primary Task: How Many Are Hiding?

      • In this activity you and your child each have the same number of cubes and a cup. 

      • Take turns hiding some of your cubes in the cup and showing the leftovers. 

      • Work out the answer to the question “How many are hiding,” and say the full number combination.

      Example: I have 10 cubes and I decide to hide 4 in my cup. My group can see that I only have 6 cubes. Students should be able to say that I’m hiding 4 cubes and that 6 and 4 make 10.

      Fluency Without Fear (Jo Boaler)

      Junior Task: How Close to 100? 

      • This game is played in partners. 

      • Two people share a blank 100 grid (10x10). 

      • The first partner rolls two number dice. The numbers that come up are the numbers the player uses to make an array on the 100 grid. They can put the array anywhere on the grid, but the goal is to fill up the grid to get it as full as possible. 

      • After the player draws the array on the grid, she writes in the number sentence that describes the grid. 

      • The game ends when both players have rolled the dice and cannot put any more arrays on the grid. 

      • How close to 100 can you get?

      Fluency Without Fear (Jo Boaler) 

      For digital versions of the game, check out Grid on the App store.

      Intermediate Task: Number Talk

      Pose an abstract math problem such as 18 x 5 and ask your child to solve the problem mentally. Look for different ways you could have solved the problem (see below for some examples). 

  • October 2020 - Math Newsletter
    • Digital Tools to Support Math Learning

      Mathematics is a highly visual subject and as a result, to help learners gain a better understanding of mathematics concepts, we need to make math as visual as possible for them. The following are digital tools that support our learners - helping them see mathematics and make connections with their learning. 

      K-12 Mathies - Learning Tools

      There are a variety of digital manipulatives here that will support learners with all areas of math learning. 


      EquatIO allows learners to engage in mathematics learning digitally. This is a game changer for many of our learners that struggle getting their thinking down on paper. EquatIO has many features that make it a valuable tool for all learners - including equation prediction, speech input, handwriting recognition, links to Desmos for graphing, screenshot readers and mathspace.  


      This site has math and science simulations for grades 3-12 that help our learners gain a deeper understanding of the concepts they are learning about. 


      Desmos has a goal - they want to help all students to learn math, and love learning it. As a result, they have created a powerful graphing calculator that allows students to graph functions, plot data, evaluate equations, explore transformation, and much more. Here are some desmos activities for grades 7 and 8.


      This software package joins geometry, algebra, graphing, tables, statistics and calculus - providing students with a chance to make meaningful connections in math, as well as allowing them to visually see the math. It includes the following tools: 

      • Graphing: plot functions with sliders and solve equations

      • Geometry: create interactive geometric constructions 

      • 3D Graphing: graph functions, surfaces and many more 3D objects

      • Spreadsheet: analyze data and do statistics connected with graphing

      • CAS: solve math problems with our powerful computer algebra system

      • Probability: visualize parameters and distributions quickly

      SolveMe Mobiles

      This site uses a hanging balance made of shapes, strings and beams. The goal with these activities is to play with the weight of the shapes to make the mobile balance.

  • September 2020 - Math Newsletter
    • Where to Find Supports in Mathematics?

      Welcome to a new school year and a new year of mathematical thinking.  

      At the end of June 2020, The Ministry of Education released Ontario’s new math curriculum.  Please access the Ministry’s website to find out what students will be learning in their math classes.  

      The strands in the new curriculum from grades 1 to 8 are:

      • Social-Emotional Learning Skills and the Mathematical Processes 

      • Number 

      • Algebra 

      • Data

      • Spatial Sense and

      • Financial Literacy

      As students progress mathematically, consideration is to be given to what it means to be a mathematician.  Many mathematicians do not work alone, and so, when our students need a nudge to keep progressing, they need to know where they can find support.

      There are a number of options that are free, available online, and provide various aspects of support.  

      Grades K - 12

      Parents/Guardians are highly encouraged to reach out to the teacher(s) of their children.  As children progress in the classroom, the teacher is endeavouring to learn/know more about them to better be able to meet their needs.  

      Grades K - 12


      At this site, you will find resources connected to frequently asked questions, such as -

      • What is my child learning in Math?

      • How can I help with the learning of mathematics?

      • What mathematics activities can we do together?

      • What supports are available?

      Grades 1 to 3


      Specifically focussed on students in grades 1 to 3, these illustrated guides highlight key concepts, providing visuals, tips about the math for parents, and sample activities that can support student learning at home. These activities were based on the 2005 Math Curriculum, but are still relevant. New resources are being developed and will be shared when they become available. 

      Grades 6 to 10

      TVO Mathify: 

      Offers free 1:1 on-line tutoring for students in grade 6 to 10 with Ontario Certified Teachers.  Hours of operation vary throughout the week, but are clearly posted on the website.

      Grades 7 to 12

      Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computer, University of Waterloo:

      The CEMC courseware materials feature lessons, interactive activities, enrichment challenges, and unlimited opportunity for practice with feedback. The courseware is online, free to use, and does not require registration. Start learning from a world-class group of educators today!

  • June 2020 - Math Newsletter
    • Have you ever thought about taking math outside? “Being outside enables connections to be made between the hands, heart and head, laying the foundation for more complex work as children grow, develop and learn. The natural and built worlds provide dynamic and constantly changing environments, offering an endless supply of patterns, textures, quantities and other attributes that underpin much of the necessary early maths experiences” (Messy Maths: A Playful, Outdoor Approach for Early Years) 

      As you are outside with your child, there are many rich and meaningful activities to engage in. Here are some to try out:  

      • Collect data about the natural world (e.g. types of birds, how many maple trees do you see?)

      • Creating shapes out of found objects - discuss properties of shapes 

      • Shape hunting 

      • Determine the height of trees or poles using shadows 

      • Finding symmetry in nature 

      • Determining the area of different spaces 

      • Figuring out distances and how long it will take to travel between points 

      • Looking for similarities and differences between plants and trees  

      • Look for patterns in nature and discuss how you know it’s a pattern  

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

  • May 2020 - Math Newsletter
    • Schools may copy and paste these articles into their school newsletters or other communications.  Please do not share the link for this document with school communities. 

      How long? How tall? How heavy? How far? Measurement is an inescapable math concept that children utilize everyday without realizing it. Measurement involves finding or comparing the size, length or amount of something. Children will naturally begin to explore the concept of measurement through play and will develop ways to quantify amounts using non-standard units such as hands, feet or blocks. This is an important part of the developmental understanding of measurement because children learn that measuring objects with different tools can yield different outcomes and that the accuracy of their measurement is impacted when there are spaces between the tool they are measuring with. These understandings are essential before children move to using standardized units of measure. 

      Some activities that you can do to support measurement learning with your child: 

      • Baking

      • Building

      • Recording your child’s height

      • Determine how far you are traveling

      • Determine how long something will take

      • Creating a schedule

      • Measuring around an object

      • How much liquid do you need to fill a container

      • Determine how much space is needed

      • Determine how much paper is needed to wrap an object

      • Determine which object is heavier (smallest should not always be lightest)

      For some more activities, please check out:  


      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 the Math page​.  Be sure to also try our Problem of the Month

  • April 2020 - Math Newsletter
    • Schools may copy and paste these articles into their school newsletters or other communications.  Please do not share the link for this document with school communities. 

      Manipulatives are concrete materials that children can use to represent mathematical ideas. They are important tools in developing mathematical understanding for all children K-12. 

      Manipulatives help children by providing:

      • Models they can refer to (i.e., visualize) even when the manipulatives are no longer present

      • A reason for them to work cooperatively to solve problems

      • A reason for them to discuss mathematical ideas and verbalize their thinking

      • A level of autonomy since they can work with the materials without teacher guidance

      Making Math Meaningful 3rd Edition, M. Small (2017)

      While there may be some formal manipulatives that are used in school, manipulatives can be created out of everyday household items such as buttons, marbles, food (cheerios, pasta), beads and cubes. 

      There are also digital manipulatives and activities available online at Mathies Learning Tools.

      Have your child go on and show you what they have been using in class.

      Please also have a look at this list of resources that may be useful for your family.  


      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 the Math page​.  Be sure to also try our Problem of the Month

  • March 2020 - Math Newsletter
    • Have you ever realized how much creativity there is in math? The Arts (visual arts, music and dance) are creative mediums that are interconnected with mathematical concepts and reasoning. When children are engaged in the Arts they are developing their artistic skills as well as their mathematical skills in a variety of areas (e.g., spatial reasoning, proportional reasoning and problem solving). Artists work creatively and flexibly with geometric shapes, scaling, patterns, fractions and many more mathematical concepts. The Arts is a playful way to inspire young mathematicians.  

      Here are some activities to try with your child:

      Paper Folding

      1. Fold your paper into a triangle that does not include any edges of the paper. Convince a skeptic that it is a triangle.

      2. Fold your paper into a square that does not include any edges of the paper. Convince a skeptic that it is a square. 

      3. Fold your paper into an isosceles triangle that does not include any edges of the paper. Convince a skeptic that it is an isosceles triangle.

      Boaler, Jo. Mindsets Mathematics: Visualizing and Investigating Big Ideas: Grade 4, 2017

      Painting by Numbers by nrich

      With painting by numbers, a line drawing is split into regions which are to be painted according to the rules that:

      1. No two regions of the same colour can share a border

      2. Two regions of the same colour are allowed to meet at a point.

      Consider these two images, one made from intersecting ellipses and one made from overlapping rectangles (include the outer square boundaries in the image)


      What is the smallest number of colours needed to colour these pictures according to the colouring rules? Prove your results clearly.

      For more information on this task visit NRICH's math website.

      Picture This from Artful Math by Crayola


      For more information about art and math:


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

  • February 2020 - Math Newsletter
    • Have you ever thought about using picture books to learn math with your child? Children of all ages love stories and they are a friendly way to engage in math talk about numbers and other mathematical concepts.  The visual displays can help children understand the math and the story line helps them connect math to their everyday life. 

      Using picture books to explore math can: 

      • Help children learn mathematical concepts and skills 

      • Provide children with a meaningful context for learning mathematics 

      • Supports children’s development and use of mathematical language and communication

      • Help children learn mathematical problem solving, reasoning, and thinking 

      • Provide children with a richer view of the nature of mathematics 

      • Provide children with improved attitudes towards mathematics. 

      Integrating children's literature and mathematics in the classroom: Children as meaning makers, problem solvers, and literary critics Schiro (1997)

      Sometimes it’s hard to find the math in books, here are a few concepts you can talk about when reading the following books:

      Mice o​n Ice by Eleanor May


      Albert and his friends go skating and are making shapes in the ice with their skates. This story highlights the names of shapes and the properties that describe them.

      Math Curse by Jon Scieszka


      When Mrs. Fibonacci, the math teacher, tells the class that you can think of almost everything as a math problem, one of her students feels that he is cursed when he starts creating math problems out of his everyday life. This funny story will help children make connections to the many ways they engage in math problem solving on a daily basis.  

      IF: A Mind-Bending Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers by David J. Smith

      “IF,  scales down or shrinks huge events, spaces and times by comparing them to everyday objects that children understand.” This book engages readers in proportional reasoning and encourages older children to discuss complex world topics.

      Other books that have strong math connections

      Primary Books:

      • Albert is Not Scared by Eleanor May

      • Spaghettis and Meatballs: A Mathematical Story for All by Marilyn Burns

      • Zero by Kathryn Otoshi

      • One by Kathryn Otoshi

      • Counting on Frank by Rod Clement

       Junior/Intermediate Books:

      • Fractions in Disguise: A Math Adventure by Edward Einhorn

      • Infinity and Me by Kate Hosford

      • One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale by Demi

      • Anno’s Magic Seeds by Mitsumasa Anno

      For more books please visit: 


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

  • January 2020 - Math Newsletter
    • How do you react when you see a math problem? Do your palms start to sweat, does your mind go blank, do you start to feel physically ill? Approximately one third of children feel anxious when doing math - and the scary part is, this anxiety has been found in children as young as 5 years old. We need to help children see that math is more than just right and wrong answers or sets of facts and rules, so they can find the joy and beauty in it. 

      Here are some tips for how you can help your child develop a positive relationship with math:

      • Watch how you talk about math at home - when children hear adults talking about how hard math is or that they do not like math, they adopt these feelings and these can be really large obstacles to overcome 
      • Help your child see that math is an important part of everyday live 
      • Play games that promote math learning (see Resource for Supporting your Child
      • Encourage curiosity  
      • Avoid math tasks that involve time constraints (e.g., Mad Minutes) 
      • Help your child see that mistakes in math are not bad but are opportunities to learn 
      • Ask them questions that focus on the process and not necessarily have one right answer 

      Activity: Primary/Junior/Intermediate 


      Look at this picture with your child and discuss the following questions: 

      • What do you notice? 
      • What do you wonder?

      From there, choose one question that they want to know the answer to, and work together to solve it.  

      ​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 our Math page.

      Be sure to also try our Problem of the Month.

  • December 2019 - Math Newsletter
    • With the winter break approaching, there are many opportunities to discuss money and financial literacy with your child. Financial literacy involves all aspects of money such as budgeting, saving, investing, debt management, retirement planning, insurance and taxes. 

      “Children need to be financially literate to make informed choices in a complex and fast-changing financial world. With an understanding of the implications of their decisions and with the necessary problem-solving and critical thinking skills, students will be better equipped to function in today’s financial environment.” 

      (The Ontario Working Group on Financial Literacy, 2010)

      Did you know?   

      • Although 95% of teenagers in 2008 understood what a budget is, only 21% of them used one and were able to stick to it.  

      • 54% of teenagers indicated that they would not pay their credit card off in full each month.   

      • 39% of teenagers ranked “how to save money” as the most important topic to learn about. The topic that ranked second (for 20% of students) was “how to use a bank account”.  

      • Teenagers said they wanted to learn about money through interactive means. 

      Source: Credit Canada, National survey of parents and teenagers about financial education, 2008. Released in conjunction with Credit Education Week 2008: Teens Talk About Money. Sponsored in part by the Ontario Association for Credit Counselling Services.

      For more information to support financial literacy at home, please check out A Parent’s Guide Financial Literacy in Ontario Schools, Grades 4 to 12.

      Other resources you may find interesting: 

      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 the math page​. Be sure to also try our Problem of the Month.

  • November 2019 - Math Newsletter
    • When we support our children with math, we tend to focus on helping them with specific content areas - for example knowing their facts, measuring distances, how to calculate volume - but did you know that there are other ways we can support them in math? Recent research suggests that executive function skills play a critical role in the development of mathematical proficiency and by helping our children develop these skills, we will help them improve their math. 

      Executive function skills are a set of cognitive skills that help us manage behaviour, pay attention, remember and follow instructions and think flexibly. They include: 

      • Planning

      • Organizing 

      • Task initiation 

      • Self-monitoring 

      • Emotional control 

      • Impulse control  

      • Sustained attention 

      • Working memory

      • Cognitive flexibility (ability to shift flexibly from one situation or activity or aspect of a problem to another) 

      Here are some ideas about how to support the development of these executive function skills at home: 

      • When building with blocks or Lego - before building, have your child plan what pieces they are going to use, have them sort pieces based on different attributes

      • When starting a puzzle - ask how they plan to organize the pieces to help finish the puzzle (e.g., organize the pieces by colour, separate the border pieces from the inside pieces) 

      • When playing, encourage your child to make comparisons, look at things from a different perspective or approach the activity in different ways 

      • When reading a book, ask questions that will encourage your child to see things from different characters’ points of view 

      • Practice taking turns when playing 

      • Play games like Simon Says 

      • Ask questions that will require your child to hold multiple pieces of information in their mind in order to get the answer  

      • Play concentration card games 

      • Help your child get started on tasks by asking questions

      • Support your child to come up with a plan on how to achieve a goal and break it down into smaller pieces 

      For more information about the cognitive processing areas, how they affect math learning and ways to support them, please check out the Math Learning Disabilities waterfall resource.

  • October 2019 - Math Newsletter
    • When we think of supporting our children with math, we tend to focus on number sense - understanding numbers and basic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division), but have you ever thought about working on spatial reasoning? 

      Spatial reasoning involves thinking about the locations and movements of objects and ourselves, both physically and mentally, in space. Developing these skills has been shown to play a significant role in future math achievement. Working on spatial reasoning helps children find multiple entry points into math problems, see math visually and develops the skills necessary for success in many STEM careers. The neat thing is spatial reasoning is malleable and can be improved with education and experience!    

      Spatial reasoning can involve:

      Paying Attention to Spatial Reasoning pg. 4 

      Physical activity is a great way to help children develop their spatial reasoning skills. Here are some other activities to support spatial reasoning: 


      Puzzles and blocks are wonderful ways to help children develop their spatial reasoning abilities. While they engage in these activities, provide them with spatial language to support their learning (e.g.,  circle, triangle, tall, tiny, edge, side, line, between, into, forward)



      Paying Attention to Spatial Reasoning pg. 10 



      Paying Attention to Spatial Reasoning pg. 18 

      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 our Math page​.  Be sure to also try our Problem of the Month​

  • September 2019 Math Newsletter
    • Talking about numbers is important for children’s math learning. Number talks during daily activities and play has a positive effect on children’s math knowledge in future years.  



      Estimation is an important part of our everyday lives, and in school, it helps students judge the reasonableness of their solutions. 

      Show your child this picture or give them a single sheet of toilet paper and a full roll:

      Image of single sheet of toilet paper next to a full roll of toilet paper 

      Ask them, “How many sheets are on the roll of toilet paper? What is an estimate is too low? What is an estimate that is too high? What is an estimate that is just right? Why? ” 

      For additional images, check out the Estimation180 website.

      Some tips to help your child understand the meaning of numbers: 

      • Count and discuss how many objects you see instead of just reciting the counting sequence (primary)

      • Count and label the number of objects (e.g., “There are three books. One, two, three!”) (primary) 

      • Watch your child’s number gestures. Sometimes their gestures show they understand the quantity, but they say the wrong number (e.g., for a set of two books the child holds up two fingers but says “three books”) (primary)

      • As your child counts objects, point to each object and model holding up your fingers to show the quantity counted (primary)  

      • Use numbers that are larger than the numbers your child already understands or uses (primary/junior/intermediate) 

      • Use numbers that you find in your everyday lives. Compare quantities of items and prices to determine which is the better buy when shopping (primary/junior/intermediate) 

      • Talk to your child about how you are using numbers in your daily life. This will show them why numbers are important and how useful math is (primary/junior/intermediate)   

      Making number talk a regular part of daily life helps your child build a strong knowledge of number, which is foundational for future math learning!

  • June 2019 - Summertime Math!
    • Summertime Math!

      Summer is a time for rest and relaxation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with math. There are numerous ways to embed math into everyday summer activities. Here is a list to get you started:

      • Monitoring temperature
      • Outdoor scavenger hunts
      • Gardening
      • Cooking
      • Grocery shopping
      • Budgeting for a Trip
      • Packing suitcases/Trunk
      • Scheduling
      • Mapping

      Happy summer!​

      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 also visit the YRDSB Mathematics website homepage. Be sure to also try our Problem of the Month​.​​

  • May 2019 - ​Visual Math
  • April 2019 - Financial Literacy
    • Financial Literacy​

      There are many opportunities to engage your children in conversations about money. From a very young age children are interested in learning about money and leveraging these conversations can have lifelong benefits. From learning the value of coins and dollars, to budgeting and finances, talking about money supports many different mathematical concepts (e.g., adding, subtracting, percentages and estimation).

      Here is a parent guide with more information about supporting financial literacy at home - A Parent’s Guide: Financial Literacy in Ontario Schools, Grades 4 to 12

      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 also visit the YRDSB Mathematics website homepage. Be sure to also try our Problem of the Month​.​

  • March 2019 - ​Spring Math: Math is Outside Too!
    • Spring Math: Math is Outside Too!

      Spring and nice weather make for a great time to get outdoors and connect with math. Whether you are taking a walk, filling compost bags with leaves or starting to build that garden shed, there are many opportunities to engage in rich mathematical discussions with your child.

      • Here are some questions you can pose to your child as you engage with nature:

      • What shapes do you see in that house?

      • How tall do you think that tree is?

      • How far do you think we walked today?

      • How many piles of leaves do you think will fit into this bag?

      • How many ___ did you see on our walk?

      • How many windows do you think are in that building

      • How long do you think it will take us to walk one kilometer?

      • If we double our pace how long do you think it will take us to get home?

      So the next time you spend some time outdoors with your child, take some time to engage in some math talk!

      You may also be interested in reading a new article for parents written by Jo Boaler, Professor of Mathematics Education at Stanford University.

      Developing Mathematical Mindsets, The Need to Interact with Numbers Flexibly and Conceptually

      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 also visit the YRDSB Mathematics website homepage. Be sure to also try our Problem of the Month​.​

  • February 2019 - Games
    • Games

      Using games to support your child at home to reinforce math concepts they are learning in class can be fun for the whole family! Games provide children with opportunities to explore mathematical concepts such as number concepts, patterns and relationships. It also allows them to use models and strategies they are familiar with (e.g., arrays, ten frames, skip counting). Some math games are commercially available but most can be played with common household objects. In fact, most games that are not considered “math” games have many math concepts already in them. Try highlighting some of those concepts as you are playing.

      For some game suggestions, go to the "Resources For Supporting Your Child In Mathematics" tab found on the YRDSB Mathematics website homepage.

      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 also visit
       the YRDSB Mathematics website homepage. 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 also visit the YRDSB Mathematics website homepage. Be sure to also try our Problem of the Month​.​

  • 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 also visit the YRDSB Mathematics website homepage. 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?

  • 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

  • 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)

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