The goal of the mathematics program in Middle School is to begin the formal study of abstract mathematics and to lay the foundation for future progress in the Upper School. The course sequence and teaching strategies in the math department seek to optimize the balance between drill, practice and discovery to ensure that every student has the conceptual and procedural mastery necessary for success at the higher levels of mathematics.
Math: Pre-Algebra Readiness
Pre-algebra Readiness is a transition course bridging the Lower School curriculum with our Pre-algebra course. In this course, students gain a solid foundation of the arithmetic of integers, fractions and decimals as well as using these types of numbers in a variety of applied settings. In addition to preparing students for a full Pre-algebra course, this class marks a beginning of the transition from the ideas of arithmetic to the ideas of algebra and geometry. Students will preview every skill in our Pre-algebra curriculum while still continuing to gain a solid foundation of their Lower School skills.
Although this class is called Pre-algebra, the course is well described as transition math. In addition to preparing students for algebra, this class marks the transition from the ideas of arithmetic to the ideas of algebra and geometry. Students explore topics in this class including integers, measurement, use of variables, problem solving strategies, organization of data, area, volume, and graphing. In addition to practicing and learning these skills, students participate in activities, work on projects, use technology, and write about the mathematics they are learning.
Math: MS Algebra Readiness
Algebra Readiness is a course that is designed to help students bridge our Pre-algebra and Algebra curricula. Students in this course begin their study of Algebra, but the focus is on developing a conceptual understanding of the processes they will study in depth in the following year. Students in this course are engaged with hands-on and computer aided representations of algebraic procedures. Students will preview every concept in Algebra, while still continuing to gain a solid foundation of Pre-algebra skills.
Math: MS Algebra
Algebra is the first course in the core curriculum at Waterford. It is a course that generalizes the arithmetic of early years into a formal, symbolic language. Each student is introduced to the various aspects related to understanding algebra: its skills, its properties, its uses, and its representations. During the year, a student develops mathematical power meaning the ability to explore, to conjecture, to reason logically, to solve non-routine problems, to communicate about mathematics, and to connect mathematical ideas. Students in the Algebra curriculum study the use of variables and operations involving algebraic symbols. They learn how to solve different types algebraic sentences, including linear and quadratic equations and inequalities. They work with exponents, radicals, and rational expressions and they learn how to solve and graph linear and quadratic equations.
Math: MS Geometry
Geometry connects the physical and visual world with a students previous knowledge of algebra. The major themes of this course are organized around a traditional Euclidean geometry. Students explore relationships among lengths, angles, and measures such as area and volume in figures of all kinds, especially, polygons and circles. While the course covers geometric formulas, coordinate geometry, and the use of transformations to explore congruence, similarity, right triangle trigonometry and symmetry, students are required to learn how to justify and prove their own thinking using both informal and formal methods. The students gain skills both in classical constructions as well as the tools provided by technology. In addition, this course provides the first formal exploration into an axiomatic mathematical system.