An independent K-12 school on a beautiful wooded campus, 3 miles from Washington, DC

Mathematics

The Mathematics Department at the Potomac School believes that math is a powerful tool necessary for success in a wide variety of fields and lifelong endeavors. We seek to provide every student with the opportunity to realize her or his full potential as a mathematical thinker, and we make the commitment that all students should feel fully supported and challenged.

By offering experiences that encourage students to explore ideas, take risks, and to think for themselves, we hope to foster a love of learning and an appreciation of mathematics. We want our students to be effective problem solvers who think logically and critically, and we emphasize the importance of creativity and resilience in working through challenging, non-routine problems. When we establish skills, the emphasis is not on rote memory, but on working through logical and developmentally appropriate processes that students understand. Concepts are first introduced in a way that provides a concrete referent and that leads to greater facility when the ideas are later expanded to a more abstract realm. Our classes are designed to foster communication and collaboration. Students are encouraged to take intellectual risks, to share their ideas, to seek out alternative approaches to problem-solving, and to develop new ways of thinking.

To see how a student progresses through math over the four years, please click here. To every reasonable extent, mathematics courses are sectioned so students may progress at a rate consistent with their ability. The final decision regarding placement for individual students is left to the department. Calculators are used throughout the curriculum; graphing calculators are required for classes beginning with Algebra 1.

The minimum requirement in mathematics is the completion of departmental courses through Geometry and Algebra 2. It is expected students continue in mathematics after fulfilling this requirement. Where possible, students are strongly encouraged to enroll in mathematics courses throughout their entire Upper School careers.

Algebra

Geometry

Precalculus

Calculus

Grades 11 and 12 Electives

The courses above are also open to juniors (except where noted otherwise) for whom the progression is appropriate.