Since C&C's unit blocks are all fractional units or multiples of one another, they present many opportunities for learning mathematical concepts such as numbers, symmetry, patterns, mapping, measurement, sorting, classifying, spatial orientation, multiplication, fractions, and geometry. Through repeated exploration and experimentation with the unit blocks and other materials, the children come to intuit these concepts, then hone their understanding of them. And because children at C&C have ample time to work with the materials, learning becomes an integral part of their daily lives. By the time fractions are formally introduced at age seven, the children are simply being given the language and symbols to illustrate ideas they already understand and have been thinking about since they were two years old.
Math in the Middle School continues to value opportunities for children to apply their math skills to real-life settings. The Jobs Program
provides the 8s with opportunities to make change, reinforcing two-and three-digit addition and subtraction skills when working in the Post Office, whereas higher priced supplies in the 9s’ Store, requires children to have their multiplication, division, and money facts at their fingertips.
Moving from Middle to Upper School, math problems become more sophisticated and require students to draw on their robust number sense, flexibility when problem-solving, and algebraic thinking. The curriculum’s emphasis on fraction proportional relationships is benefitted by a student’s understanding of proportional relationships with blocks. By the 10s and 11s, the children are exploring geometric relationships and applying mathematical understanding to create models that connect with their social studies—and their understanding of the world around them. For example in the 11s, through their study of properties of polygons, students design tessellations inspired by Islamic architecture.
In the 12s, the Pythagorean Theorem is approached conceptually so students understand it as the Ancient Greeks did—the size of squares around a triangle—as well as practically, so students can find the unknown side length by applying algebraic strategies. Upper School students develop the ability to solve linear and exponential equations and an understanding of rational and irrational numbers. By the time they graduate, students have completed the equivalent of Algebra I.