Math Program Description By Grade

6th Grade Math

Grade 6 begins with a unit on reasoning about area and understanding and applying concepts of surface area. It is common to begin the year by reviewing the arithmetic learned in previous grades, but starting instead with a mathematical idea that students haven’t seen before sets up opportunities for students to surprise the teacher and themselves with the connections they make. Instead of front-loading review and practice from prior grades, these materials incorporate opportunities to practice elementary arithmetic concepts and skills through warm-ups, in the context of instructional tasks, and in practice problems as they are reinforcing the concepts they are learning in the unit.

One of the design principles of these materials is that students should encounter plenty of examples of a mathematical or statistical idea in various contexts before that idea is named and studied as an object in its own right. For example, in the first unit, students will generalize arithmetic by writing simple expressions like 1/2bh and 6×2 before they study algebraic expressions as a class of objects in the sixth unit. Sometimes this principle is put into play several units before a concept is developed more fully, and sometimes in the first several lessons of a unit, where students have a chance to explore ideas informally and concretely, building toward a more formal and abstract understanding later in the unit.

7th Grade Math

As in grade 6, students start grade 7 by studying scale drawings, an engaging geometric topic that supports the subsequent work on proportional relationships in the second and fourth units. It also makes use of grade 6 arithmetic understanding and skill, without arithmetic becoming the major focus of attention at this point. Geometry and proportional relationships are also interwoven in the third unit on circles, where the important proportional relationship between a circle’s circumference and its diameter is studied. By the time students reach the fifth unit on operations with rational numbers, both positive and negative, students have had time to brush up on and solidify their understanding and skill in grade 6 arithmetic. The work on operations on rational numbers, with its emphasis on the role of the properties of operations in determining the rules for operating with negative numbers, is a natural lead-in to the work on expressions and equations in the next unit. Students then put their arithmetical and algebraic skills to work in the last two units, on angles, triangles, and prisms, and on probability and sampling.

8th Grade Math

Students begin grade 8 with transformational geometry. They study rigid transformations and congruence, then dilations and similarity (this provides background for understanding the slope of a line in the coordinate plane). Next, they build on their understanding of proportional relationships from grade 7 to study linear relationships. They express linear relationships using equations, tables, and graphs, and make connections across these representations. They expand their ability to work with linear equations in one and two variables. Building on their understanding of a solution to an equation in one or two variables, they understand what is meant by a solution to a system of equations in two variables. They learn that linear relationships are an example of a special kind of relationship called a function. They apply their understanding of linear relationships and functions to contexts involving data with variability. They extend the definition of exponents to include all integers, and in the process codify the properties of exponents. They learn about orders of magnitude and scientific notation in order to represent and compute with very large and very small quantities. They encounter irrational numbers for the first time and informally extend the rational number system to the real number system, motivated by their work with the Pythagorean Theorem.