Return Home

Nelson Mathematics -- Frequenty Asked Questions

1. How should I plan math lessons?

Start with the curriculum objectives and plan activities for students so that they gain understanding of the main ideas in that unit. Choose activities from a variety of resources including Quest 2000, Interactions and other recommended materials. You can follow the lessons in the Nelson program in your daily planning if you choose, as there is a good philosophical match to our curriculum. Students should be learning mathematics concepts through activities and problem solving as much as possible. The teaching of computational skills followed by extended drill and practice should not form the basis of a mathematics program.

2. Why not MathQuest?

MathQuest teaches computational procedures through drill and practice activities. Our curriculum asks teachers to have students construct their own meaning of math concepts through explorations, discussions and problem solving. While drill and practice is necessary to practice a skill, the teaching of procedures followed by extended drill and practice is not recommended. Students with good understanding of the concept require fewer repetitions to master a skill.

3. What support is available as I start to use this program?

  • The curriculum guide outlines the objectives for your mathematics lessons and provides ideas for activities for each objective.
  • The Nelson teacher’s guide has a wealth of teaching ideas for each unit.
  • Your school has manipulatives and binders in the school math room or the teacher’s section of the library.
  • The CRC at central office has a variety of newer resources available for loan.
  • Your principal can help you with classroom support for math.
  • Use the Nelson Mathematics website and the Saskatoon Public Schools Online learning math website (links listed below)
  • Check out the mathematics PD sessions offered regularly through the Intranet
  • Call your Instructional Consultant for assistance at your school.

3. There is not enough practice in the Nelson program.

In Nelson mathematics students spend more time exploring the concepts of each strand and less time drilling procedures. The more extensive understanding students gain through classroom math exploration activities allows them to master procedures with fewer repetitions.

The Nelson program has more than enough questions to support the concepts being taught and many of these questions expand student understanding. In each lesson teachers should choose the questions that best meet their objectives, and the abilities of their students. The student textbook should serve as a source of questions for the teacher to use with students, rather than as a set of questions to be done by all students as an assignment.

4. My students can’t read the text. How can I help them?

In classrooms where students struggle with the language in the student book teachers should read questions with students, as part of the lesson before assigning independent work. Math vocabulary should be defined, explored, and used as part of every lesson. The Nelson Mathematics Program offers many other suggestions for helping students with reading in math in the teachers’ resource.

5. How do I make this transition easy for parents?

  • Send home the student newsletter at the beginning of each new unit
  • Encourage parents to use the Nelson website at:
  • Explain the changes in mathematics instruction at your parent-teacher conferences so that parents understand the changes in instruction in the classroom and are better prepared to support their child’s work at home.
  • Share the website for our Online Learning Centre Math resources at: so that parents can use our locally developed activities and web link with students.
  • Try to make sure students understand the homework they take home and make sure parents know that students are not expected to spend unreasonable amounts of time on homework. Encourage parents to contact you if homework is causing undue concern.


An Online Learning Centre Resource ©Saskatoon Public Schools, 2004-2005