Why do we call it Patterns and Modeling (P&M)?
At the Sycamore School we refer to our math time as Patterns and Modeling (P&M). This change in terminology is meant to underscore what students actually do: seek to identify, expand, and use patterns and use mathematical thinking to develop models of the real world which will help us solve problems.
Our goal is for students to become math lovers who understand that math is a tool that is usable in their real lives. In order for anyone to make use of math, three conditions must be fulfilled. First, the practitioner (student or adult) must have sensitivity. Sensitivity is the awareness that math might be an applicable tool in a situation. Then a person must have the inclination to actually use the math on the problem. Lastly, capacity is the actual skill involved in the math - what we usually think of as “math class.” For a successful relationship with math, all three components are essential.
To achieve our goals, we have embraced Jo Boaler’s mathematical mindsets. This philosophy focuses on developing a growth mindset which embraces the value of making mistakes, as well as a changing students’ understanding of the nature of math. Because math is a creative, visual experience, we pursue “open inquiry” tasks which reflect real-world problems and have multiple points of entry. These are the opposite of math worksheets or traditional math class word problems that do not encourage actual curiosity or problem-solving.