Students in the Middle School take one of several levels of mathematics. The degree of difficulty and pace of instruction each year is contingent upon each student’s math ability and readiness for more abstract thinking. In the sixth grade, all students study basic math concepts and have an introduction to pre-algebra topics. While some students begin an algebra-based course in the seventh grade, others continue to work on solidifying their pre-algebra skills. By the end of eighth grade, all students complete pre-algebra, while more advanced students are ready to move into an Algebra II course in their freshman year.
In sixth grade previous mathematics topics are reinforced while an exploration of a variety of new topics occurs throughout the year. Students learn about the concepts of decimal and fraction operations in greater depth, and delve into number patterns and explore how they play a role in problem solving. Ratios, proportions, percents, and probability are introduced using real-life data to demonstrate the applicability of these concepts. Integers are taught and applied in solving algebraic equations. When new material is introduced, discovery and cooperative learning are encouraged. Study skills are also a large part of the curriculum, as students grapple with challenging problems, take notes, and use homework problems to solidify their understanding of major concepts.
Another distinguishing feature of Math 6 is project work. Throughout the year students work on at least three major group projects (such as the Great Math Debate and the Stock Market Game). These projects are designed not only to teach new skills, but to give students a chance to use the skills in a way that prepares them for future math courses and for the challenges of working in teams.
Seventh grade math has several important goals. Chief among these is reinforcing the skills necessary for all students to succeed in algebra. These skills are presented in greater depth and with an emphasis on application. Integer operations, order of operations, and variables and equations help ease the transition from concrete to abstract thought. Students who are ready start a rigorous algebra-based course that spans the seventh and eighth grade years.
There are three possible levels of mathematics in the eighth grade. Advanced students will continue their study of algebra in Accelerated Algebra I. Others will begin their study of algebra in one of two levels of Middle School Algebra. These courses further explore and reinforce operations and applications of fractions, decimals, percents, statistical analysis, variables, and integer operations as students build the skill level necessary to succeed in a 9th grade algebra course. Geometric concepts and applications are liberally interspersed throughout all sections.