Math Dr. Richard Newcomb, Head of Department
School mathematics should engage students in real mathematics. This view is at the center of the teaching and learning of mathematics at Cistercian. Every departmental course at Cistercian seeks to engage our students in both formal and informal modes of mathematical reasoning. The journey from arithmetic to calculus begins with Cistercian's Middle School mathematics curriculum. The focus here is first on developing the students' understanding of rational arithmetic and basic geometry. The second two years of the Middle School are considered together as serving the purpose of introducing algebra into the treatment of both arithmetic and geometry.
Mathematics in the Upper School begins with Euclid's geometry. Students need to learn geometry, not only because it is indispensable for all of applied mathematics, engineering, architecture, physics, and calculus, but even more importantly because it has simply speaking set the standard that any piece of reasoning must meet to be called a branch of mathematics. Forms VI and VII are a continuation of the earlier forms but the weaving of geometry and algebra is now more complete. Cistercian's mathematics curriculum culminates in Form VIII with a yearlong calculus course taught at the college level with a selection of material which also allows willing students to take the Advanced Placement exams in calculus.
At the same time, topics from discrete mathematics such as counting and probability are important and are included in each required course. Moreover, students wishing to delve deeper into these topics can take advantage of various mathematics electives in the Upper School as well as join Cistercian's Math Club or one of our many math teams.