Math in Middle Division

As students move through the Middle Division, the mathematics track takes them from the concrete explorations of number, quantity, and geometric figures to the abstract foundations of algebraic reasoning. This transitions them to High School mathematics content. Teachers structure content to make abstract concepts meaningful by starting with concrete representations and gradually moving toward the abstract representative forms.  

If you stopped into a Middle Division mathematics class in the last few weeks, you would have seen firsthand the types of lessons that help students make this leap. The 6th-graders were working on inequalities, beginning with visually mapping them on a number line and then filling in numbers and lines to compare and represent larger and smaller numbers.  In 7th-grade classes, students were given a real-life situation: they  “shopped” on Amazon to find items when given a budget, and then they calculated additional percentages for tax and shipping costs. The 8th-graders were studying functions. They designed machines that turned tables of x,y data into real-life functions (an input, an output, and a rule). Fast-food restaurants and meme generators were popular creations by the students.

From these types of activities, students move into learning the representative form of the concept. Things such as the slope formula (y=mx+b) are first explored in terms of speed, trajectory, and what can be learned from a line or a graph before the formula is discussed and used.


Author:
Kristen Huenemann
Head of Middle Division