Our Middle School program immerses students in the higher-order mathematical disciplines of algebra and geometry. The Middle School course of study begins with a review of basic mathematics and progresses through with Pre-Algebra Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II. All students complete Algebra I by the end of 9th Grade; most students also complete Geometry. An accelerated track allows us to offer an appropriately challenging program for our most advanced students, when appropriate. Students in the upper grades proceed through a sequence of courses that best suits their learning styles.
In order to guide each student in the most appropriate way, our teachers carefully consider the best placement for levels and sections as they move from Lower School to Middle School. In sixth grade, students’ thinking is stretched through an extension of the foundational skills they began to acquire in the Lower School. Through explorations of rates, ratios and proportions, as well as a significant unit about probability, students begin to engage in complex applications of a wide range of operations. Two-and three-dimensional geometry, the coordinate plane, positive and negative integers, two-step equations and an introduction to inequalities round out the year. A highlight of the year is the casino project, in which students create their own games of probability and chance to demonstrate the math behind dice, cards and calculating risks.
In seventh grade, students are placed in either pre-algebra or algebra I, in sections that best match their needs. Teachers guide students to hone their procedural skills as they move beyond operations involving whole numbers, decimals and fractions and transition into algebraic reasoning. All seventh grade mathematics classes focus on equations and mathematical reasoning as expressed through many types of numeric, geometric and conceptual forms. Our classes emphasize the meaning and concepts of math, often engaging students in ways that are both challenging and fun. One of the highlights of the year is an independent research project in statistics. Every student chooses a focus question and formulates a hypothesis. After collecting and analyzing data, the students prepare presentations and a written summary of their results, using mathematical language to explain the proof of their hypotheses.
Eighth and ninth grade math classes delve more deeply into algebraic and linear functions, complex operations and applications of mathematical thinking. Our program emphasizes Algebra I in eighth grade, either as the first half of a two-year course, as a one-year Algebra I class, or in combination with geometry for students who began Algebra I in seventh grade. Students at these upper grades also learn and practice higher-level thinking in analytical reasoning and logical deduction, and apply these skills to mathematical proofs. Ninth grade students have the opportunity to engage in more complex and sophisticated mathematical reasoning. Some students complete the two-year Algebra I program; others are enrolled in Geometry. An Algebra II course is also offered when appropriate.
The sixth grade Festival of the World caps a yearlong study of global cultures, religions and geography. Each student studies a different country, creating a range of informational and artistic projects, including a model of a famous landmark.