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Understanding MTH1W – The New De-Streamed Grade 9 Mathematics Course | Blyth Academy

Blyth Academy Online’s MTH1W Grade 9 Mathematics course uses the flexibility presented in the new curriculum to create an accessible and engaging online mathematics education that empowers all students to turn their cultural and academic backgrounds into opportunities to develop a positive relationship with mathematics. 

Effective September 2021, the Ministry of Education in Ontario launched MTH1W, the province’s new ‘De-streamed’ Grade 9 Mathematics course. Prior to this update, Grade 9 students were required to select either a university-oriented path (the academic strand), or a college-oriented path (the applied strand). This decision divided students into two groups based on a perceived sense of their academic ability, and led to segregation of students based on other factors such as their race and socio-economic status. The new MTH1W mathematics course removes this segregation while empowering students of all cultural and academic backgrounds to start their secondary school mathematics on the same playing field as their peers. 

A Focus on Culture and Community 

Grade 9 MTH1W students are now encouraged to reflect on the role their culture and community has on their experience and perception of mathematics. Blyth Academy Online’s MTH1W mathematics course makes use of the discussion board to empower students to discuss and compare how their culture and community have impacted their understanding of concepts. Students are also prompted to conduct research into the history of a mathematics concept of their choosing and make connections to the manner in which the concept is used in modern society. The comparisons that students draw between history, their culture, and the culture of their peers provide them with a sense of representation in the material they are exploring, while developing a more global understanding of mathematics. 

Connecting Coding and Algebra 

Also included in the new MTH1W curriculum is the connection between coding and algebra. Coding, or the process of building instructions for a computer using computer programming languages, is a skill that students have a varying degree of familiarity with. Rather than taking algebra – an already intimidating concept for many students – and making it more complicated by adding coding, the new curriculum allows for flexibility in the way in which coding is integrated into the course.  

An Introduction to Javascript 

Blyth Academy Online’s de-streamed Grade 9 Mathematics course uses familiar experiences to scaffold students’ introduction to coding. Students are first introduced to accessible graphing calculator technology as they explore how such technology can be used as a coding tool. As the course proceeds, students work their way up to an introduction to Javascript, one of the most popular coding languages on the Internet. Students explore Javascript using an interactive activity that was built using the application of Javascript coding by Blyth Academy Online’s own developers. 

Fostering Positive Relationships Between Students and Mathematics 

Lastly, the new curriculum dedicates an entire strand to social-emotional learning skills and wellbeing in the mathematics classroom. Students learn how to recognize, navigate, and communicate about mathematical frustration, while advocating for themselves when difficulties arise. This is done through journaling prompts throughout the course that ask students to reflect on their experiences and feelings throughout the course. 

The introduction of a de-streamed Grade 9 Mathematics curriculum provides Blyth Academy Online with the opportunity to offer a modernized and representative math experience for today’s students.  

Jordan Straus
Blyth Academy Online
Mathematics Head of Department/Educational Developer 

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