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Small group, often one-on-one time with a teacher during Middle School Math Lab makes a big impact on a student’s understanding of math concepts.

Small-group Math Lab: Providing feedback as they go

by Mickey Celentano, Mathematics Faculty

The Gregory School supports a variety of our middle school math students with a zero-hour class called Math Lab. Each Math Lab class meets once a week from 8:00–8:40 a.m. Mrs. Joan McKee teaches Math 6 Math Lab and Ms. Mickey Celentano teaches Math 7, Pre-algebra, and Pre-algebra+ Labs.  

Students are recommended for Math Lab by math teachers and parents together. The labs are designed to provide additional support to students who may have gaps in their math background or who may just need additional one-on-one time with a teacher to be most successful in their current class. 

“The difference between the regular classroom and the zero-hour Math Lab is that the teacher can immediately correct mistakes and provide individualized feedback as he/she sees the work being done,” Ms. Sarah Lesniak, who teaches Math 7 and pre-algebra, said.

“Math Lab really gives us more time to work on math, because in class there are so many more kids,” Math 6 Math Lab student Vela Waggoner ‘29 explained.

Math Labs help students in a variety of circumstances. For example, last year's Math 7 students who were advanced enough to move to Algebra A this year, skipping pre-algebra, may be in the Pre-algebra+ Lab to review the pre-algebra concepts they missed. Skipping pre-algebra with the support of the Math Lab will enable these students to take an additional year of math in Upper School, such as a calculus class or AP statistics.

Math Lab is ungraded and does not assign homework. Rather, students and teachers focus on technique and form to show quality work, doing problems that coincide with current classroom topics.

“Getting that small group, often one-on-one time with a teacher during zero-hour Math Lab makes a drastic impact on a student’s understanding of math concepts,” Ms. Lesniak said. “Oftentimes, these may be students who do not feel comfortable asking questions in the classroom, but in zero hour they can feel more comfortable to ask, or if they don’t, they have a teacher sitting right with them watching their work and providing feedback as they go.”