Math

Northwest’s Middle School Math Program prepares students for the Upper School mathematics curriculum, teaching students to become creative and independent problem solvers. The course sequence in the Middle School builds students’ confidence with math skills and problem solving, and, at the same time, strives to help students discover joy and excitement in the field of mathematics.

Upon admission, each new Middle School student is given a math readiness test corresponding to her/his/their grade level. Data from the results of this test help our teachers target the curriculum and level for the upcoming year. All 6th Grade students take Math 6 and all 7th Grade students take Math 7. Eighth Grade students are placed in either Math 8 or Algebra I, depending on performance in previous math courses and the results of an Algebra I readiness test.

Features of Our Program

We are aware of the diverse learning needs of our students. Within each course, instruction is targeted to meet the needs of individual learners.

There are opportunities within each course to accelerate and dive deeper into the curriculum. Providing a curriculum at the appropriate level of challenge is a priority.

We strategically target the use of technology and combine its use with traditional paper and pencil problem-solving techniques to help students learn, apply, and visualize concepts.

In addition to teaching the math concepts, we also teach students how to study and learn math.

We use a variety of teaching strategies, including lecture, partner work, collaborative groups, discovery, flipped classroom models, and projects, in the pursuit of our goal of providing all students with the best possible mathematics education.

6th Grade

This course for sixth graders at Northwest is the beginning of a two-year pre-algebraic and pre-geometry course sequence. Students dive into geometry topics, including area, ratios, and proportional relationships. Algebraic equations and expressions, rational numbers, and percentages are also emphasized. Students learn to not only compute and conceptualize, but also justify their thought processes and strategies both verbally and in writing. Creative and independent problem solving is celebrated. This course strives to build confidence in math and cultivate a joy and appreciation of mathematical problem solving.

7th Grade

The course for seventh graders is the second course of a two-year pre-algebraic and pre-geometric course sequence. It is designed to prepare students for a rigorous, full-year Algebra I course to follow. Students start the year with rational numbers and then dive into expressions, equations, and inequalities. A study of linear relationships and slope provides as strong foundation in proportionality. The course concludes an introduction to functions, rates of change of functions, and beginning exponent rules.

8th Grade

Eighth graders are placed in either Math 8 or Algebra 1.

Math 8
This class is an option for eight grade students that introduces some concepts of Algebra I at a pace that allows time to practice and review pre-algebraic skills. Students study algebraic functions, with an emphasis on understanding and analyzing proportional and non-proportional linear relationships. Students use linear relationships to model real-life situations, including situations that lead to systems of linear equations. Students use multiple representations to reason about linear functions and learn to solve systems of linear equations by inspection, graphing, and using algebraic strategies. All students practice communicating their mathematical reasoning both verbally and in writing. Students cultivate a large set of problem-solving strategies throughout the year. After Math 8, students are ready to begin a rigorous Algebra I course in the Upper School.

Algebra I
This rigorous, full-year Algebra I course builds the mathematical foundation to all other Upper School math courses. Students work with monomial and polynomial expressions, solve linear equations and inequalities, solve systems of linear equations, and are introduced to quadratics. Applications of linear relationships are a core part of the course. Students also study exponent rules and begin to work with rational expressions. The concept of a mathematical function and its applications to the real world is introduced.