The math curriculum at the Middle School balances three abilities crucial to long term success in mathematics: making and testing conjectures, understanding and mastering algorithms, and communicating both orally and in writing. Students are encouraged to see math as a way of thinking about an interconnected and logically consistent set of relationships, rather than a random assortment of facts to simply memorize and forget. The curriculum is rich in open-ended problems, but even the more traditional problems are presented in such a way that students must use higher-order thinking skills. Students learn to evaluate multiple problem solving methods for effectiveness and efficiency. To assist students in making connections between algebraic and graphical solutions, we use both TI-84 graphing calculators and desmos.com.
All students have the opportunity to participate in the Math Olympiads during school, and on a math team that does a variety of other contests after school. In addition, all eighth grade students participate in The Stock Market Game, sponsored by The SIFMA Foundation.
Both 7th and 8th graders use Paul Foerster's Algebra I published by Addison-Wesley, covering the book and supplemental content over 2 years. We focus on the interrelations of the most important ideas of elementary algebra: using variables, simplifying expressions, writing and solving equations, and graphing. Students learn how to do traditional algebraic manipulations and problems, but also are pushed to understand why their chosen steps should work.