Mathematics

Our Mathematics education is designed to give students the power of problem solving, the ability to participate intelligently in civic affairs, the skills needed to pursue educational and career choices, and an appreciation of the richness and beauty of mathematics along with its importance in our culture. All classes provide opportunities for students to organize their thinking, reason logically, choose critically from different problem-solving strategies, learn and apply various technologies, express their ideas both orally and in writing, and work cooperatively with their peers.

Semester Courses

Middle School Math

Sixth and seventh grades

This two-year program strengthens students’ number sense, reinforces foundational mathematical concepts (decimals, fractions, percents, integers, and their operations), and develops problem-solving skills. The units of study include statistics, number sense, sequences, pre-algebra, algebra, probability, and geometry foundations. Throughout each unit, students are challenged to develop strong study skills, problem-solving strategies, and collaboration skills in order to deeply explore content. Making use of mixed-age groupings, the lessons are highly differentiated to provide students with appropriately challenging practice. This two-year curriculum is designed to revisit topics, reinforcing and extending them throughout the second year of the sequence. Sixth grade students who show complete mastery of the two-year curriculum benchmarks in one year are recommended to take Algebra I in seventh grade. Students who do not show mastery of curriculum benchmarks at the end of the second year are recommended to take Pre-Algebra in eighth grade.

Pre-Algebra

Eighth grade

The Pre-Algebra course engages students in the study of mathematics as it calls upon their curiosity, intuition, powers of reasoning, imagination, and perseverance. This course emphasizes skills in applying various algorithms, developing and using mathematical properties and relationships, applying mathematics in realistic situations, and representing concepts in preparation for higher-level mathematics courses. The curriculum reviews the more sophisticated topics from 7th grade math and moves deeper into topics in algebra, from polynomial operations through all aspects of linear functions, and all the way to an overview of quadratics. The program’s guiding philosophy is to expose students to rigorous experiences that will prepare students for Algebra I.

Algebra I

Seventh or eighth grade

Students develop skills and concepts needed to solve problems using variables. Learning occurs through discussion, exploration, and group work, with the teacher acting as a guide to facilitate the process of understanding. Topics include real, rational, and irrational numbers; solving linear and quadratic equations; graphing linear and quadratic equations; systems of linear equations; factoring polynomials; properties of exponents; properties of radicals; and simplifying rational expressions. The emphasis is on solving problems algebraically, as well as through a variety of methods including modeling and graphing. We also work to develop students’ communication skills, which are essential to the progression of their mathematical competence.

Geometry A: Foundations of Plane Geometry

First semester, eighth grade

Students use an inferential approach to problem solving to build a foundation in Euclidean geometry. Through investigations of parallel lines, triangles, quadrilaterals, and circles, students make conjectures about the nature of these shapes and search out evidence to support their ideas. Students use both physical representations of diagrams and dynamic geometric software to explore the relationships present in geometric figures. The distinction between conjecture and proof and the limitations of inferential reasoning are given particular emphasis. Other course topics include conditional logic, right triangle trigonometry, and the extension of geometric relationships to three-dimensional figures. Prerequisite: successful completion of Algebra I (or equivalent).

Algebra IIA: Introduction to Functions

Second semester, eighth grade

The first semester of second-year algebra emphasizes the role of algebra as the foundation for further mathematics study. It stresses the structure of algebra, the development of algebraic problem-solving skills, and the use of functions as models of real-world situations. This course concentrates on the application of linear equations through matrices, counting and probability methods, an introduction to functions, and rational expressions. A TI-83, TI-83 Plus, TI-84, or TI-84 Plus is required. Prerequisite: successful completion of Algebra I (or equivalent).

Intensive Courses

Math in Art, Technology, and History

Seventh or eighth grade
First intensive

This intensive elective course equips students to see the math that is present in the everyday world. Students explore the mathematics in architecture; the patterns in natural phenomena such as plants, lightning bolts, and rivers; the algorithms involved in computer programming and solving the Rubik’s cube; and the patterns in art like tessellations and the Golden Ratio. M.A.T.H. students develop the ability to recognize the mathematics in literacy and language, culture and the arts, and information and communication technology as they gain the skills and attitudes that foster lifelong learning and an appreciation of mathematics in the everyday world.