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Mathematical Mindsets Matter:

How Ravenscroft is Helping Students Develop and Nurture Positive Attitudes Towards Mathematics


When you hear this word, what emotions surface? Nervousness, nausea, fear?  If so, then you are not alone.

Sadly, studies show that students as young as first and second grade have reported feelings of angst and distress around mathematics. In a recent TIME editorial, Jo Boaler, Professor of Mathematics Education at Stanford University, identifies common misconceptions that negatively influence our students’ mathematical mindsets and lead to increased math anxiety.

At Ravenscroft, we promote a culture where positive attitudes toward mathematics are cultivated and nurtured within our youngest Ravens. Our Lower School instructors  take action to prevent, reduce, and dismantle the misconceptions that lead to math anxiety.

If students are given the right math materials and receive positive messages about their potential and ability to be successful in mathematics, just imagine how many more students will have a desire to choose careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Math Misconceptions

Ravenscroft Reality

Math is about doing well on tests.

We believe that successful mathematicians are more than good “test takers.”  They can manipulate numbers, discuss their mathematical reasoning and apply concepts to real-life situations.

At Ravenscroft, it is important that our students see themselves as active mathematicians who tackle problems successfully in their everyday lives using the mathematical knowledge they have acquired in the classroom.

In this video, our Ravens answer the question, “What does it mean to be good at math?”

Click for Video #1

Some people have a brain for math and some people do not.  

Brain research supports that all students can learn math. Study after study has shown the incredible capacity of brains to grow and change within a remarkably short period of time.

Our Ravens know the importance of having a growth mindset in all aspects of their lives. With motivation, hard work and resiliency anything can be accomplished.

In this video, we asked our Ravens to share their thoughts on why some people are better at math than others.

Click for Video #2

Watch as our Ravens discuss their thoughts on whether boys or girls are better at math.

Click for Video #3

Math is about memorizing facts, procedures, and formulas.

Ravenscroft math lessons move students through a research model of instruction that includes three stages of learning: concrete, representational and abstract.  

Watch our 3rd grade students engage in a math task that challenges their understanding of decimals by tapping into their visual/spatial number sense.

Click for Video #4

Math is about speed and correct answers.

True mathematicians study concepts in-depth, grapple with complex problems, and incorporate new and innovative ideas to find meaningful solutions.

Our Lower School instructors provide students with opportunities to collaborate on mathematical tasks that involve in-depth discussion and critical thinking.  These tasks promote the idea that a problem can be solved in a variety of ways and that mathematics can actually be a creative process.

Watch as two 4th grade students discuss and grapple with their observations of supplementary angles.

Click for Video #5


When our Ravens hear this word, what emotions surface?

Confidence, excitement, and fearlessness!

This is a guest post by Chelsey Watkins, Assistant Head of Lower School and Ruth Thomas, Curriculum and Instruction Specialist


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