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I ❤️ Math Day in the Lower School

March 15, 2023 | Emily Ford Sytsma

I ❤️ Math Day is an important annual celebration at Mustard Seed School. The goals for students on I ❤️ Math Day include:

• Encouraging thinking about math and numbers as a part of everyday life
• Fostering a positive attitude and excitement about math by having fun together with math
• Exploring different areas of math (measuring, counting and operations, sorting, building, comparisons, patterns, shapes, etc.)
• Highlighting interdisciplinary connections with math and numbers

In that way, teachers designed ways for students to exercise their math skills and practices in fun and creative ways.

Encouraging thinking about math and numbers as a part of everyday life.

Brynn Wallner (’04) was our alumni guest speaker.  Brynn is an entrepreneur and business founder/owner who was able to talk to students about how she uses math in her work.  She told the children that she does accounting as she makes business decisions.  Brynn’s company sells watches and she encouraged our younger children to estimate the passage of time.   They were surprised at how long a minute felt to them when they waited for 60 seconds to pass by.  Math and numbers are all around us everyday!

Fostering a positive attitude and excitement about math by having fun together with math.

Lower School students had a special meeting today with their “reading buddies,” who today became “math buddies!”  The older students helped our Lower School students play familiar and new math games that practiced fluency with math facts.

Exploring different areas of math (measuring, counting and operations, sorting, building, comparisons, patterns, shapes, etc.)

In the I ❤️ Math activities and in their daily math activities this season students in kindergarten and first grade work on:

• Numbers and operations: place value, adding, subtracting, and some first graders are working on learning multiplication!
• Algebraic thinking: first grade students are completing a unit on missing addends, which is an early algebra concept that teaches how each side of an equation are equal (9 + __ = 21,  __ + 6 = 28)
• Data collection: organizing numbers from surveys and charts
• Measurement: kindergarten students measure and compare measurements, first graders begin to learn about measuring time
• Geometry: building and taking apart 2D and 3D shapes

Highlighting interdisciplinary connections with math and numbers.

On I ❤️ Math Day this year, students connected math with literacy and science.  Ms. Hall Choi read a book to both classes about what “zero” means.  And the first grade students wrote math story problems in their journals and searched through science books for number-related facts about space topics.

Our goals were achieved and we had a math-filled day of fun, connection, and learning.

Emily Ford Sytsma

Early Childhood Director

Ms. Sytsma began her career as an educator working in inclusive classrooms in the state of Hawaii but found her roots began to grow here at Mustard Seed School when she came to teach in 1996. She joined the preschool team in 2007, after teaching for many years in the Middle School. She finds delight in the preschool’s approach to teaching and learning, inspired by the preschools in Reggio Emilia, Italy. As Early Childhood Director, she seeks to support teachers in their work helping children learn about thinking and creative expression.

Ms. Sytsma’s the mother of a MSS alum and a current student. When not at school, Ms. Sytsma enjoys traveling with her husband and two children. She tends a very simple rooftop garden in Jersey City Heights and on long Saturday mornings, she may be seen taking long walks along the Hudson River and listening to audiobooks or podcasts while organizing her thoughts and getting her heart rate up.

March 15, 2023