Mathematics

Mathematics

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The mathematics curriculum at Taft prepares graduates to perform raw, logical, structured thinking. Through the study of algebra, geometry, precalculus, calculus, and statistics, students develop critical thinking skills and are able to apply the skills they have mastered to solve problems. The graduation requirement is to complete a mathematics sequence through Algebra II, although the majority of students continue on to higher levels of math. Students are encouraged to take a statistics course, either Statistics or AP Statistics. In addition, we offer introductory and AP courses in Computer Science. All honors and Advanced Placement courses require permission of the department.

A Math Portrait of the Taft Graduate (2018)

i) Graduates will develop problem solving skills, become adept at critical thinking, and develop a clear, logical, analytical style of thinking.

  • Through a commitment to completing daily homework, students practice and refine their problem-solving skills.
  • Assessments demand critical thinking rather than rote memorization.
  • Feedback on assessments provides students with insight into their strengths and weaknesses. 
  • General class discussions explore the different ways to solve problems and allow for connections to earlier topics.
  • Exposure to the full curriculum develops a large repository of techniques and instincts in how to proceed in unfamiliar situations.

ii) Graduates will learn that math skills—logic, organization, clarity, communication, etc.—can be applied in other subject areas and to everyday life.

  • Proofs require students to work in a logical and orderly fashion.
  • Students are asked to explain their reasoning in a clear manner.
  • Students working at the board or in groups are asked to explain the processes used to solve problems.
  • Students work with data and modeling from real-life situations.

iii) Graduates will appreciate the inherent beauty, flow, and logic of math.

  • Students are exposed to different topics from teachers excited about math.
  • Most courses have three different levels.
  • Through placement in appropriate courses, students will be challenged and supported when exploring diverse mathematical concepts.
  • Mathematics is seen in an historical context as a subject that has been central to our understanding of the universe, and students learn to respect the insights mathematics provides.

iv) Graduates are prepared for college level math.

  • Consistency in approach has been emphasized throughout the curriculum.
  • Preparation for longer evaluations is encouraged.
  • Cumulative assessments require that students retain earlier concepts.

v) Graduates use technology to increase understanding and proficiency in mathematics.

  • Students are encouraged to use technology strategically to provide greater access to mathematics when it is appropriate, by using the graphing calculator, spreadsheets, online applications, and other software.
  • In our computer science offerings, students are exposed to multiple languages.

Meet the Mathematics Faculty