The Mathematics Department seeks to engage students by fostering in them a self-reflective, collaborative, creative, and resilient spirit while inspiring students to make sense of the complex world around them by becoming critical thinkers, problem-solvers, and ethical mathematicians.
Middle School is a time for students to build their academic skills as well as their skills for learning, both equally important, to prepare them for vigorous academic and competitive work environments. We expect and understand that each child has particular areas of strength and growth during their middle years, and we work hard to place them in a course each year that will challenge and inspire them as well as promote their success. Therefore, placement in Middle School math courses is determined by a number of important developmental criteria instead of by grade level alone. Teaching teams work together to make recommendations for placement in math based on the following criteria, each considered equally:
A profile is created for each student using the criteria above to determine the most appropriate placement in a math course. The same criteria are used in subsequent years throughout Middle School to confirm the appropriate placement for your child. The following courses comprise the Middle School math offerings for a student in Grades 6 to 8.
Math 6 and Honors Math 6
Students in Math 6 build foundational skills and a math vocabulary that will prepare them to understand and solve complex problems in a challenging curriculum. As students work with fractions, whole numbers, decimals, and percents they begin to connect their learning to everyday life and develop an appreciation for mastering the skills. Building on those skills, students are introduced to algebra as they solve algebraic equations and work with exponents and square roots. In the geometry unit, students explore different geometrical shapes, angles, triangles, and circles.
Pre-Algebra and Honors Pre-Algebra
Pre-Algebra is designed as a bridge between foundational math and algebra. Students work to strengthen their problem-solving skills by building competencies in the following areas: principles of algebra, rational numbers, graphs and functions, exponents and roots, ratios, proportions and similarity, percent, geometry, perimeter, area, and volume, data, and statistics, and multi-step equations and inequalities, graphing lines, polynomials, and solving one and two-step equations students become familiar with the content necessary to support success in upper-level math courses. Making connections between the math they learn in the classroom with the math used in everyday life is an essential way of learning Pre-Algebra. Students in Pre-Algebra also develop their self-monitoring skills. In collaboration with their peers and the teacher, students are prompted to take their time to think and solve problems, reflect on their steps and process, and make revisions before submitting final answers.
Algebra 1 and Honors Algebra 1
Algebra I establishes the vocabulary and symbolism of algebra and includes evaluating expressions, properties of real numbers, rational and irrational numbers, square roots, function theory, solving and graphing linear equations and systems, solving and graphing linear inequalities and systems, applying exponent properties, scientific notation, simplifying polynomial expressions, solving polynomial equations, basic factoring, solving and graphing quadratic functions, exponential growth and decay, and word problems. Students are introduced to matrices, probability, data analysis, and simplifying and solving rational expressions and equations.
Algebra, inductive and deductive reasoning, constructions, measurement, and coordinate geometry are the foundations for examining the properties of two and three-dimensional figures in Honors Geometry. Geometry courses require mastery of the concepts of algebra including quadratics and radical expressions. Students explore both Euclidean and solid geometries with a particular emphasis on plane geometry. Topics of study include an introduction to logic and proofs, triangles, special quadrilaterals, polygons, perimeter and area of figures, surface area and volume of solids, similar shapes (ratio and proportion), circles, and trigonometry, indirect proofs, sequences, pattern recognition, vectors, volumes of revolution, equations of lines in three space and planes. Applications of these topics are incorporated into the lessons and assignments as students are inspired to connect learning principles of geometry with future fields of study such as art, architecture, and engineering, as well as understand how angles, arches, shapes, and speed relate to sports and automobiles.