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Mathematics: Math is seen as another language. We could call the subject “numeracy” in keeping with “literacy”, which may more accurately reflect our understanding of the subject. Children need practice in mathematics in order to build confidence, and they often do best when the approach to the subject allows them to grow their sense of number over time. A “spiral curriculum”, one that keeps returning to certain basic concepts while at the same time pushing outward, meets the needs of most children. We work with math standards established by the National Council of Mathematics and draw our resources from the Miquon Math Program, Bridges Mathematics Curriculum, Math Their Way and Marilyn Burns material.


Sources that Inform Our Curriculum

The Curriculum in Action:

Students Write about Time

Students Write about Time


Primary students created timelines of the history of time telling devices.

At the Lake and Park School we like to pay attention to the rhythm of the changing seasons of the year. From the fall harvest of our garden to that first warm spring day when we might head down to the beach or just bring bubbles out to the patio, the way we spend our time acknowledges this cycle.  At the same time we are committed to providing the opportunity for everyone to see and think about things in different ways.  The holiday season is a time of rich potential. Some years we study traditions that come from different winter holidays. This year we decided on a focus that would highlight mathematical thinking: the concept of time.  As one calendar year ended and another began we wondered how people throughout history have kept track of the transitions. Classes thought of different ways to measure time, did a lot of work understanding what a circle is, and the various ways to determine a circle’s circumference.  The younger students played with geometry, and counted by fives, as some children learned to tell time with a clock.  We had hoped that the topic would give rise to some philosophical pondering, but the richness and depth of the  conversations that came up again and again surpassed our expectations. This led to some wonderful story writing and poetry, including ideas from some of the older children that delve into logic.  Please enjoy the student writing which follows.

The study began with an investigation of circles using

the whole body and many different materials.


Pattern Blocks




Exploring with Spirograph.

Print making with a

variety of circles.

Beginning Room students used quiet time to explore the nature of circles.


Metaphors about time by
the Intermediate Students

Time is like space, it is infinite.

Time is like a circle, it never ends.

Time is like a never ending line, it keeps going forward,
never back.


Time is like the sea.

From when the first cell in the sea to the animals now,

It took time to evolve and grow,

From sea to land and sometimes land to sea.

How did that cell get here?

Time is like a game of circles

For a circle to turn, time is required,

10-20 years of 24 hours go by while a circle is spinning,

Hours and hours of day, to your year older mark,

It all takes time.

When did time start and when will it end?


Time is Beautiful

Time is like a song, when

You’re older you hear a song and it takes you back

In time to when you were small.

Time is like a light, it never runs out

Because you can keep charging it.

Time is like a cloud, it can change the big picture.

Time can take a different path.

Time is like a garden, it grows into something beautiful,

Just like children blossom into adults.


Time is like a fountain.

Gushing out ideas, events and questions.

Being reused and refilled, remade and redone.

Discovered and forgotten.

Understood and questioned.

Time is like a fountain.


Time is like a piece of paper.

It is used over and over,

Recycled and reused.

It is kept alive because of its usefulness to people.


Time is like a corkboard. People use it for different

Some people have great memories.

Time is all memories.


Classes explored Deep Time with visiting scientist Mary Fisher

through our collaboration with NCSE Teach.


Each single change in the DNA chain represents about 5 million years.


Rich debate and discussion accompanied the challenge of creating an evolutionary tree of mammals.


Revisiting what we learned about whales in a new context.


Creating a model of the evolutionary tree of mammalia.

Primary Students imagine life with time machines.......

Time Machine

By Gus S



Once upon a time there was a boy that didn’t have a name. He didn’t know where he was, and still, he could barely survive. One day, while traveling on the salty, night-blue water on his raft, he saw something disappear from the corner of his eye. When he saw it, he rapidly paddled over. He soon realized it was actually a raft. He looked around and said, no sign of life. And went on.



When he was on, he walked around the jagged surface of the raft. Then he saw something appear. He ran over, and soon found out it was a time machine! The time machine was solid gold, and looked like a helicopter. There were hourglasses for rockets and computers hooked up to the
hourglasses. He got in and pressed”100,000,000,000,000,000,000.”



The machine disappeared and the boy realized where he was. He was in the same place, but in a different time. He noticed that part of the raft broke off! His raft wasn’t there. He looked for the time machine, but couldn’t find it. Then he
heard voices. Who could be there?

He quickly ducked under some empty boxes. The voices went away! He got out. He rushed over to a building and looked inside. He saw millions of time machines. He got in one and realized he didn’t know what time he was from. 


He was trapped!

The End.

The Toast Machine

By Liam

Once upon a time there was a boy who was as small as a piece of toast. His name was “Toast”. He was on a boat and on the way back to his island when he saw a time machine that was so strange. It was under the sea. He was fishing, so he swam down to it. Then for some reason, he realized he could breathe under water. He entered the time machine and traveled to the year “12”. Then he traveled to 100,100. He was amazed. There were flying cars and iPad were really cheap. He went straight into a shop. The shop-keeper said, “Hello”. Anyways, I’ve always wanted to build a time machine. Could you help me? Yes, said Toast. I am from the past. So that means you could help me? Yes, said Toast. They worked night and day through the winter and spring and after 100 years they finally finished their time machine.

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A drawing made to show the working parts inside a mechanical watch.

The Space Man of the Time Machine

By Leah

There were four little girls. One was named Lise. Lise’s friend was name was named Charlotte. Charlotte’s friend was name Cry. Cry’s friend was
named “friend”. The girls lived in a tall forest of tall, tall trees. The girls lived with a bear named “Happy”. One day the bear was out of the cave. The girls were still in the cave. The time machine blasted off. “Boom, boom, boom”. The fire went out of the rocket. The bear realized the button on the rocket ship made the machine take off. The girls ran after the rocket. The girls got on. The girls turned off the rocket. They landed. The bear was safe. They lived happily ever after.

Past, Present and Future

By Keira

Once upon a time there was a person named Isabella and she had a twin sister named Harper. They wanted to build a time machine. One day they went into the woods. In the woods they had a secret hideout. They had a friend named Keira. There was a telescope in their treehouse and it beeped. That meant something was nearby.


The beep was caused by a golden machine that was close. It was a time machine. But before they went inside the time machine, the girls’ charm necklaces lit up. Then Isabella said, “wait”. Then the necklaces made a map. Inside the lockets were pieces of maps that all fit together. The map said, “Go to the time machine, pull the lever and push the button.” So the girls did.


They decided to go to the animal time when the animals died. When they got there, the animals were dying. The found out that other people were killing the animals. They helped by telling the people to stop hurting the animals. When they got home to their time they did science experiments to figure out when and why the people started to hurt the animals, so that they could prevent the people from starting to hurt the animals.

Weaving Through Time

By Jordi

In the shady town of Moldon, a small boy named Angus left his little house to go get salt from the black water lake for his poor family.  As he walked he saw something coming from the woods that was very shiny. Then Angus ran back to his house to tell his parents. But when Angus told them it was shining like gold they didn’t believe him.  So the next day when Angus went to get salt he saw it shining even brighter than before.  So he went to check it out.  When he got close enough to it he saw that it was a time machine.

But he didn’t know how to use it.After a few tries he got it right. When he went in it took him to his same time but in Roman times. Angus looked around.  He saw lots of people gathering
salt fr4om the lake. Then he remembered his family.  So he went and got a bucket of salt and a worker caught him stealing it.  So he had to make a run for it.  When Angus knew he’d lost him he stopped. But he had stopped in a deep lush forest and forgot about the time machine. After a few minutes he realized that the forest he was in was the forest where the time machine was.  When he found the time machine he set it back to when he lived and brought the salt back with him.  He told his parents all about the trip but they didn’t believe him.

So, he set off on his journey through time again.  He chase the same time and place.  But this time everything had fallen.  It had turned into ruins.  When he looked around he saw no one but he
saw something shiny in the distance. When he got close enough to get a good look at it he saw it was gold.  He picked up as much as he could
carry.  Then he headed straight to the
time machine. When Angus got back he showed his parents the gold and brought them to the time machine and they believed him. So his whole family could travel through time anytime and anywhere they wanted.

Students explored the tools and inner workings of

clocks under the guidance of a watch maker.

Investigation during the clock take apart activity.


After spending time taking apart various clocks and watches students had a real interest in meeting a professional watch maker.


Intermediate Students try to imagine life without time.....

What would life be like without time?

By Max B.

A world without time would be impossible. Nothing would exist. 

Everything develops over time,
some examples are the earth, and the sun.
Time is everything.

Also, people would not exist.

Plants and animals
would not exist either.


While making wish bowls students reflected on how they may have changed over time.

Our Universe without Time

By Ruby

Imagine it, imagine your life without time.  You can’t, you don’t exist, without time you
wouldn’t be able to evolve and change.
There wouldn’t be birds, or monkeys, or even dinosaurs, there would be,
well…nothing.  For example, a seed needs
time to grow and become strong but without time it won’t become a tree.  Same with animals, they need time to evolve,
change and be created too.  Therefore,
there is nothing. Our universe can’t even start without time.

Life without Time

By Rees

Life without time would freeze.  I don’t know what space would be like without
time, clocks wouldn’t even work.  Then the
waves wouldn’t fly up.  Then planes would
stop midair and pilots would be stuck because with no time how would the broken
glass MOVE through space without time?

Sky divers would be stuck midair as well and then the
howling wind blowing one minute would then stop so suddenly, slowly howling.

The rain would stop falling and water would stand still.
Then the bunnies stop hopping, the foxes stop walking and all animals would
stop moving and then all together……

Still the world would be.
The earth would stop rotating and it would be night or day forever on a
lifeless planet, full as it used to be but now the people and animals are stuck
forever in unbreakable ice.

Life without Time

By Roham

Time is everything.
We could not live without it. Time is space so if there is no time,

There is no space. So if there is no space there would be
nothing. No earth, no sun, no planets. Nothing!!!

Imagine your life without time.

By Delphine

Life without time would be very unorganized.  We would not be able to say things like, “Oh
it’s 12:00, it must be lunch time”, or “see you at noon”.  We wouldn’t know when school started or
ended.  But I do think that if we didn’t
have time we would have another way of recording things.

The Science of Weather

The Science of Weather

The following was posted on the Lake and Park’s blog, the Ampersand, on December 31, 2014.


Windsocks in the Upper Primary Classroom. 

The children at Lake and Park spent the month of December engaged in careful and systematic observation of the weather.  Weather affects us all. It informs what clothes we wear to school, if we bring boots or not, or even what games we play at the park.

In the summer of 2014 I applied for a grant through the NOAA Climate Stewards Education Program.  I had begun working with the Climate Stewards the year before, participating in monthly Webinars with national and international scientists, and monthly regional meetings to discuss science and climate education with other teachers.

On January 13, 2014 Peg Steffen, of the National Ocean Service, presented a talk titled “Misconceptions
and Conceptual Change”. Prompted by recent research on student misconceptions as well as the desire to improve science education in the United States she informed us that. “A new study finds that what’s especially critical to improved science learning is that teachers also know the common misconceptions students have.”


Primary students explore snowflake designs with the Frobel materials.

At Lake and Park teachers work collaboratively to provide relevant and accurate thematic studies which address both student questions and their scientific interests.  Common misconceptions, according to Stephen include:

• That weather and climate are the same

• That the sun goes around the earth

• Seasons are caused by the Earth’s distance from the Sun.

As it turned out, December was the ideal month for us to focus on these misconceptions. The Beginning Class moved into a study of Space inspired by the Native American legend, “Her Seven Brothers”, retold and illustrated by Paul Goble. The students learned about major star constellations, the planets in the earth’s solar system, and the important role the sun plays. Through poetry, music and dance the children acted out the planets spinning in the solar system, orbiting around the sun.  As each child in turn played the role of the sun, they stood firmly fixed in one position as other children went spinning around them.

Students gathered weather data daily.

Primary, Upper Primary and Intermediate Classes began keeping weather observation charts on December The 1.  The goal was to have students record the daily temperature over a period of weeks and then graph the data alongside data provided by the National Weather records that show daily averages for the same period of time.  This task was a concrete way to engage students in understanding the difference between weather and climate.  Along the way many other topics and interests were discussed and discovered.  Every class read many books on related weather topics, including Stars beneath Your Bed: the Surprising Story of Dust, by April Sayre, and Weather and
Climate: How Weather Works, by Robin Birch.


The hydrologic cycle, or water cycle, was discussed and illustrated throughout the grades. Many students played a water molecule game to experience the various forms water takes and to understand that water cycles through the planet in many different ways.

Journal entry.

With temperatures the first few mornings of December greeting us at -3 or -4 Celsius, the Primary Class quickly became focused on the formation of ice crystals. They asked each other questions about how the ice forms, and how the crystals attach to each other. They were introduced to the concept of ice core research; this raised many more questions about how scientists know: for example, how our knowledge of paleoclimate is based on ice core studies. The Primary Class will be touring the ice core lab at the University of Washington in January and meeting with scientists there. As part of this unit the primary children learned about the geometry of snowflakes, They built sculptures out of ice inspired by the art of Andy Goldsworthy, and  read about Yupik and Inuit people who call the far northern regions home.



The Upper Primary Class took daily walks as part of  honing one of the major skills of meteorologists throughout history, that of observation.  As they practiced using their senses to observe and then worked to translate these observations into weather reports, the students began to fine-tune their observations, building vocabulary to more accurately express what they were seeing and feeling.  Why are clear days in the winter colder then days with more cloud cover?  Can we tell which way the wind is blowing?  This group wrote winter haiku, experimented with pinwheels, and created windsocks.


Students at all levels worked to collect data and then graph that data and analize it in a meaningful way.


The Intermediate Class worked extensively with data during December; both weather data collection and graphing, as well as tracking and comparing the varried journeys different water molecules made through the water cycle. The complexity of the questions being asked increased throughout the month. (Further research and investigation into what makes wind and how clouds change shape will be included in ongoing studies.)  The Intermediate Class looked at a graph of the average temperature in the US over the last one hundred years, revealing that a warming trend is occurring over extended periods of time.  Students worked together to explain the role the tilt of the axis plays on earth’s changing seasons and we acknowledged the approaching winter solstice.


Students worked to understand various components of the weather station through drawing. 

During the last week of class before winter break, students were introduced to the school’s new weather station.  Having collected data using thermometers and sensory observations students were excited to figure out what data each component of the weather station was designed to collect.  Everyone agreed collecting data in January was going to be much easier with our new equipment.  Students in the Upper Primary Class and the Intermediate Class will be visiting the NOAA National Weather Station in Seattle in January to learn from the scientists working there about weather data collection, forecasting and other careers in related scientific fields.


The three major misconceptions identified by Peg Steffen were addressed in various ways throughout the classes at Lake and Park, all during the month of December.  Because each of these concepts is complex,  students’ understandings will continue to shift in and out of focus and grow in clarity as children and knowledge both develop. The confidence a child has in his/her own ability to think and reason scientifically is established through the kinds of activities and discussions that we engaged in so actively this month.  Such activities play a key role in bringing clarity to complex realities. As Chloe said after she raised her hand to share an explanation with her class of why it is colder and darker in the northern hemisphere in December, “I know I know this!”  and she did.

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