The math curriculum encourages students to work together while thinking critically about various mathematical topics. Students are challenged to work individually and in teams to discover relationships, make connections, figure out strategies, and communicate their thinking and reasoning.
The teacher serves as a facilitator of learning rather than a depositor of knowledge. The math teacher’s role as a facilitator is even more challenging than the all-knowing teacher who predominantly controls the learning. Teachers support students as they work, but they do not take away students’ opportunity to think and investigate for themselves. Articulating one's understanding reduces the memorization that is traditionally connected with math teaching. Through the team approach, students are empowered to both ask and answer questions of their peers. Each student gains the confidence to actively participate in the small team and develops opportunities for herself to be at times a student and at times a teacher. As documented in William Glasser’s study on how learning occurs, one has a much better opportunity to truly master a concept by teaching another person rather than by merely being a reader or listener, which tends to be a passive role in learning.
With a growth mindset of consistent hard work and perseverance, and the regular reintroduction of concepts students truly understand the material they are learning. The specific spiraling design of the curriculum does not emphasize mastery as each concept is introduced, but rather focuses on mastery over time through careful skill integration and development. This spiraling occurs through realistic problem solving that can span several units of study, providing multiple opportunities for mastery as each student makes the needed connections to confidently grasp the various concepts. This approach allows each student to realize that mathematics truly make sense and is not merely memorized facts and procedures.
OSS seeks to demonstrate that math complements other disciplines of study by developing students’ problem solving skills, making them more effective change agents as they confront the challenges of an increasingly complex world.s