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Math

5th Grade
The math program strives to help every student develop mathematical proficiency with a balance between conceptual understanding and procedural and computational fluency. Teachers draw from TERC Investigations, Connected Math, and other resources. In fifth grade, students will use a constructivist approach backed by skill practice to study the following content areas: 
  • Factors, multiples, and number sense; 
  • Solving and writing multi-operation equations;
  • Properties and classification of angles and 2-dimensional shapes, area and perimeter; 
  • Plotting points and drawing shapes on the coordinate plane; calculating the distance between two points;
  • Review of two-digit and three-digit multiplication and division;
  • Fraction foundations: understanding fractions as a part of a whole, equivalence, relating fractions to decimals;
  • Fraction computation, including addition and subtraction;
  • Place value and decimal computation, including addition and subtraction; and
  • Properties of three-dimensional shapes, surface area and volume.

As students are immersed in various activities, they will continuously exercise their reasoning skills, practice problem-solving strategies, and make connections. The overall goal is for students to link math with their understanding of the world while enjoying in-depth explorations of mathematical concepts. Math is also introduced as a tool for advocacy and activism. Students begin to think critically about how math can help solve problems and make an impact on the world around them and complete creative, long-form projects that reflect their learning.
 
6th Grade
Sixth grade math builds upon the concepts of fifth grade while introducing proportional relationships, deepening understanding of fractions, decimals, and percent, and continuing the studies of geometry, probability, and data interpretation. The curriculum is based on the Connected Mathematics program but also includes supplements from a variety of sources to support skill-building and extensions. Key concepts include:
  • using ratios and rates
  • ordering and converting between fractions, decimals, and percents
  • adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing with fractions and decimals
  • calculating with percent, including tip, tax, and discounts
  • identifying properties of shapes and symmetry
  • finding area and perimeter of 2-D and 3-D shapes, including circles and circular shapes
  • measuring angles and identifying angle relationships
  • solving problems with probability 
  • interpreting and graphing/visually representing data sets

Students will also review computation with whole numbers and explore introductory algebraic thinking.   
 
Project-based segments of the curriculum emphasize cooperative learning, create opportunities for concrete mathematical experiences, and include writing about mathematical topics and mathematical thinking as it applies to real-world problems with a social justice lens. Investigations will include a youth activist case study and creating fraction computation story problems based on students’ hands-on learning experiences at the farm. 
 
A major focus of the class is building problem-solving skills that will enable children to use mathematical reasoning and rely on problem-solving strategies when faced with unfamiliar problems. Students’ ability to explain their process clearly and record their steps is as important as arriving at the correct solution. There is an emphasis on talking about math and learning from one another.
 
7th Grade
Seventh grade students use the Connected Mathematics program as a major resource. In the first trimester of seventh grade math students focus on solidifying their fluency with the order of operations. They learn how to follow conventions and explain the order in which complex expressions should be simplified. The second unit of study focuses on recognizing variables and patterns in the world around us and learning to describe them using graphs, tables, and equations. Students also learn to interpret the stories that graphs tell and make graphs to communicate their stories.
 
During the second trimester, students explore several areas of geometry, including angles, polygons, and 3D figures. They learn to solve missing angle puzzles and apply area, surface area, and volume formulas to real-world situations. Students then explore similarity, using ratios and scale factors to stretch and shrink figures and to find missing values. Students continue to practice proportional scaling and its applications as well as use the online platform, Desmos, for interactive exploration.
 
In the final trimester, the math curriculum focuses on developing an understanding of what variables are and how they can be used to model patterns we observe in the world around us. In our study of linear relationships, students develop fluidity with the abstract skills of translating between equations, tables, and graphs. Students practice the real-world skills of interpreting the meaning of each of those representations. Seventh graders explore geometric relationships and properties in two and three dimensions. The class devotes two units to developing students’ proportional reasoning skills, making connections to art and shadows. Next students apply those skills to the study of probability, playing games to deepen their understanding and hone their intuition. Students finish with a focus on how to manipulate the language of algebra, simplify expressions, and solve algebraic equations. 
 
8th Grade
Eighth grade students continue to use the Connected Mathematics program as a major resource. The first trimester of eighth grade math introduces students to new applications for their algebra skills. They begin with an exploration of linear relationships and learn to test, algebraically, whether or not a point will be on a line. Students build an understanding of the slope-intercept form of a line and learn to recognize parallel and perpendicular relationships from equations. Students transform linear equations from the standard form to the slope-intercept form and learn to solve systems of equations algebraically and by graphing.
 
During the second trimester, students deepen their understanding of linear functions. They explore systems of equations graphically and algebraically, discovering and practicing several methods for solving for the intersection point. Students tackle tricky problems that reveal simple answers through the elegance of algebra. Students then create their own word problems and solve them using two linear equations. The Desmos web application allows us to visualize systems and play with possible solutions.
 
The final trimester of the math curriculum focuses on graphing linear equations, solving systems of equations algebraically and graphically, using the Pythagorean theorem to find missing sides and angles of triangles, and factoring and graphing quadratic functions. Classes include exploratory activities using the Desmos web application. The culminating project of eighth grade is putting on a Social Justice Data Fair, solidifying their understanding of data as a form of storytelling that can serve as a powerful tool for change.
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