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Mathematics

Mathematics may be the most misunderstood subject taught in school. Many people learn at an early age to be fearful of mathematics; they believe that math is dry and unappetizing, full of nothing but numbers and arbitrary rules. People who use mathematics in their life's work--and even those who simply come to appreciate mathemathics--know how false this idea is: it is like thinking that music is nothing but notes, or that writing is nothing but letters.

At its core, mathematics is a process of logical reasoning and problem solving. It is true that knowledge of the rules of algebra and geometry is necessary preparation for college, but it is when students learn to think with those mathematical ideas that mathematics becomes transformed into a lifelong problem-solving tool.

The primary goal of Williston's Math Department is to help prepare students for college mathematics. The course sequence--Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II--teaches the foundation of mathematics that all students need. Once they have mastered the foundation, students can delve more deeply into mathematics through a variety of upper-level courses. While the content of these courses varies, the primary goal of each course is the same: to help students become more successful problem solvers. Each course offers the opportunity to review basic skills and to master the core knowledge of the subject. Students are challeged to moved beyond memorized rules to discover the source of the rules, to examine why they work, and to theorize about how they might be used to solve problems.

Students with a strong interest and aptitude in math enter our honors program, and through AP Calculus experience an introduction to college-level work. Individuals who accelerate beyond calculus may continue their study of mathematics either through independent directed study with a faculty member or in courses at nearby Smith or Mount Holyoke Colleges.