• Mathematics

  • Students build understanding and develop skills from their own experience. Mathematics is more meaningful when it is rooted in real life contexts and situations. Children begin school with more mathematical knowledge and intuition than previously believed. Our program builds on this, and gradually moves children from a concrete to representational, and ultimately abstract understanding of mathematics.

    Mastery of mathematics concepts and skills comes over time, with repeated exposure and practice. This enables students to make new connections and build on the mathematical content they already know while gradually learning more difficult and challenging content. A well-articulated and aligned PreK-12 curriculum focuses on mathematics content and processes that are important and worth the time and attention of students to prepare them for college, the workforce and citizenship.


    Mathematics is the science of order, patterns, structure, and logical relationships (Kenney, 2005). Finding and exploring this regularity to make sense of it is what is meant by doing mathematics. In the PPS, we believe that all students are capable of making sense of mathematics. In order to provide opportunities for our students to do mathematics and make sense of it, we share these beliefs:

    • Classroom environments are a safe and respectful place where students can take risks as problem solvers.
    • Students focus on figuring things out, testing ideas and making conjectures, developing reasons and explaining solutions.
    • Students defend their methods and justify solutions in groups, in pairs and individually as they deepen their mathematics understandings.
    • Reasoning, effort and persistence are celebrated as much as correct answers.

    Instructional Philosophy

    Teachers of mathematics in Pittsburgh Public Schools embrace standards-based, high quality instruction for every school, in every classroom, for every student, every day. Instructional practices should actively engage students in purposeful learning experiences which foster curiosity and encourage productive struggle, while developing a deep conceptual understanding of the mathematics as outlined in the PA Core Standards.
    Effective instruction is at the core and ensures that all students learn mathematics in a safe and culturally responsive environment. Pittsburgh Public Schools employs the 5E Inquiry-based Model (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate) for daily instruction. This student-centered approach allows for students to develop their own understanding of mathematics in practical, real-world contexts that allow for multiple representations of showing deep understanding of mathematical concepts and skills. 
students in math classroom