11 paterson ave midland park nj 07432 201-444-0063
What is The Math Place + ?
The Math Place+ is a learning center for 2nd to 12th grade students, focused on math. Students come after school, during school breaks or vacations to do math or work on subjects that use math including science and physics. Students get tutoring, support and/or enrichment in school subjects as well as other mathematics of interest to them. This includes competitive and recreational mathematics.
What’s different about The Math Place + ?
Although we tutor, help students with homework, and help students prepare for tests, The Math Place + is not a tutoring service- it is not a homework help service- it does not “teach to the test”. We coach and mentor students to become independent learners and problem solvers, capable and willing to work hard on difficult problems and to seriously enjoy the challenges. We see the CORE CURRICULUM STANDARDS and school requirements as the minimum content level, we challenge students to go further and deeper with skills that they retain and can use in school and beyond.
What do students do at The Math Place + ?
Students generally work individually. On arrival an instructor will answer questions about school work or center projects and often ask questions as well. A task is set for the student and he begins to work. The instructor goes to another student. If the student gets stuck or has questions, an instructor will respond but we place substantial emphasis on independent work. After a time, an instructor checks on the student: not just checking answers from an answer key (in fact, we don’t use answer keys, the instructors actually do the math), but often discussing problems with a student. Not “That’s correct – great!”, but “How did you do that? How did you check it? Is there any other way to do it? What is it good for? How can you vary the problem?”. This process is then repeated with a variety of work: exercises, non-routine but topic specific problems, hard open-ended problems and explorations of new topics. We try to leave a few minutes at the end of each session for some type of mathematical play – a game, a puzzle, or a long term question.
Why is this better than tutoring or extra help from the teacher ?
Tutoring or extra help can be an effective learning tool to achieve a specific goal, in particular the short term retention of material to pass a quiz, a test, or a course. Our goal is different – we help our students become learners and doers – curious enough to ask difficult questioners, willing and able to try to answer those questions by attacking problems with vigor and enjoyment. We push them to always ask “Why is it so?” ,”Why not?”, “What are the alternatives?”, rather than “Will that be on the test?”. There are few if any jobs that pay for answering multiple choice questions. Even if there were, those jobs would be no fun. We want our students to be curious, capable, and confident when challenged so they can be in charge of their futures in all things mathematical.