IMACS Placement Classes are taught by senior instructors with extensive experience assessing students’ intuitive mathematical abilities. The Placement Class instructor evaluates each student’s responses to novel situations. As the class progresses and the instructor learns more about each individual student, he or she continually tailors questions to assess individual reasoning and arithmetic abilities. After the class, the instructor will speak with each parent about the appropriate level and time of year to start.
Elementary school mathematics curricula focus on arithmetic, and bright students typically do well at this with little or no effort. This frequently leads to poor study habits. The IMACS program is designed specifically to develop logical and critical thinking in talented students, dramatically increasing their problem-solving skills.
No. IMACS welcomes students of varying math abilities. While we are not a tutoring service and do not review concepts taught in schools, we do teach logical reasoning skills that help all students become better thinkers and problem solvers. Our highly-trained instructors give lots of encouragement and make classes fun for everyone. No matter what level a student starts in at IMACS, our goal is to help them grow by developing skills beyond what traditional schools offer.
Yes! And not just in mathematics. By demonstrating to a bright child that using his or her intellect is fun, and by providing a variety of problem-solving techniques and reasoning skills, IMACS has a positive impact on a child’s school performance.
Here’s the answer from the IMACS Curriculum Development Group: “Unlike tutoring, IMACS doesn’t drill what your child is already learning in school. We understand that your child will learn certain mathematical ideas, including arithmetic and math facts, in school. IMACS aims to take your child’s knowledge deeper and teach him or her how to develop critical thinking skills and a genuine understanding of the logical reasoning process required to solve real problems, math or otherwise.”
Here’s the answer from our students: “IMACS is fun!”
Computer Programming, University Computer Science, and University Logic for Mathematics are self-paced, so students may join at any point during the year.
Math Enrichment students are allowed to join mid-year only if the Placement Class instructor determines that he or she can handle jumping in with other students who have been in the class all year.
Instead of changing the lesson plan, IMACS instructors work with new students before or after class to help acclimate them to the curriculum. Plus, IMACS’ spiral approach to learning is friendly to new students while allowing continuing students to receive even deeper benefits. (Spiral approach means that a particular idea is taught in numerous lessons in an increasingly advanced and challenging setting. For example, the first IMACS “arrow road” lesson is accessible to most first graders, while the last one would challenge a math major at a top university!)
IMACS is proud of a long history of working with talented instructors. All IMACS instructors are hired after a rigorous training period. Initial applicants are given an aptitude test of which the majority – even many seasoned teachers – do not pass. Those who pass work with IMACS directors and senior instructors to learn IMACS teaching methodologies. Those who pass this final process become IMACS instructors.
We encourage parents to speak directly to their child’s instructor. Your child’s instructor is available before and after class. If you would like to speak to the instructor at another time, or if you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to call your local IMACS.
Daily exposure to novel ideas and talented instructors has had a seminal effect on many young IMACS students over many years. Older students in the self-paced mathematics and computer science classes can make significant academic progress during two-hours-per-day of intensive effort.
Math Enrichment students typically have several sheets of homework each week of class. Homework is optional and reinforces what students are learning in class. Most students enjoy their IMACS homework not only because it’s fun and interesting, but also because students can earn prizes for correctly answered homework.
The #1 rule to helping your child with his or her homework is to let your child do all the thinking. The point of doing an IMACS worksheet is not to complete the worksheet; the point is to think. Instructors are happy to help you and your child with any questions on the homework. Instructors are available before and after class.
When you enroll your child in the Math Enrichment program, you will receive a “Parent Survival Guide,” which will explain some of the mathematical tools that IMACS students use.