Aims / Objectives
Mathematics in the Middle School aims to develop confidence, perseverance and independence in mathematical thinking and problem-solving. Students develop logical, critical and creative thinking by applying and transferring skills to a wide range of abstract and real-life situations. Students are encouraged to enjoy mathematics and develop curiosity through individual and collaborative work. The skills learnt in the elementary school are built upon and the students are prepared for high school work.
Skills in numeracy, geometry, algebra and statistics are reinforced. The focus throughout the year is on selecting and applying appropriate mathematical strategies as well as recognizing patterns, making generalizations and justifying conclusions. While in middle school there is an emphasis made on understanding the basics, there is scope and opportunity to tackle investigations and challenges that will stretch inquiring and risk-taking minds. Student will also learn IT skills utilizing spreadsheets and calculators (except in grade 6 which is a non-calculator year), and mathematical writing and graphing software to enhance their communication skills.
Students are regularly provided with formative assessment possibilities during the class time. The feedback provided allows students to improve their learning and understanding of the topics covered. Both formative and summative assessment is designed so that students can demonstrate their learning in authentic contexts and apply it in variety of ways. Task-specific clarifications are handed out with all assessment tasks. There are four MYP criteria for Mathematics:
A. Knowing and understanding (8)
B. Investigating patterns (8)
C. Communicating (8)
D. Applying mathematics in real-life contexts (8)
An assessment may be graded against one, two or even three of these criteria. At reporting time, Middle School students are awarded, for each criterion, the achievement level that reflects the student's abilities most accurately.
Overall semester grades, on a 1 to 7 scale, are achieved according to the totals awarded throughout the grading period for the four MYP criteria.
Grade 6 is a non-calculator year with the emphasis on mental arithmetic and pencil-and-paper calculations. Students in grade 7 and 8 need a simple scientific calculator (powers, square roots, reciprocal functions).
Students extend their understanding of working mathematically, with units on topics such as number theory, integers, fractions and decimals, patterns and algebra. Students inquire into various real-life applications of math by investigating code breaking and sending secret messages in the first unit of the year and measuring real-life objects and making estimates for objects that are too big to be measured. Students also have a variety of hands-on projects such as designing and creating a board game in the Integers unit, as well as creating and using manipulatives when representing Fractions and Decimals visually. In the unit of Statistics students analyse real-life data regarding a country of their choice and present their findings in a video.In each of the units, students also demonstrate their understanding through a knowledge and understanding test.
Building on the foundational skills in grade 6, students study units on such topics as algebra, statistics, geometry, Pythagoras’ theorem and ratios and proportions. Students inquire how data analysis can be used to analyse country’s achievements in the Olympic games and look into presenting their findings through creating a poster and an in-class presentation. Students work on self-management skills by selecting their own structured journey and setting individual goals in Algebra unit. Next, students focus on applying mathematics in real-life and creating a video that explains the various applications of Pythagoras’ theorem. Students then find patterns and create general rules through investigating areas and perimeters of 2D shapes in the Geometry unit. Students learn about the different ways how to work with percentages and ratios as well as their importance in everyday life. In each of the units, students also demonstrate their understanding through a knowledge and understanding test.
In grade 8 the classes are separated into two levels, Standard and Extended; movement between the levels is possible at all times, based on the needs of the student. The 8 Extended course covers slightly more advanced material to that of the Standard class, and covers this material a little more rapidly.
Students extend their mathematical understanding with units on probability, linear and exponential sequences, algebraic representation, geometry and graphs. Students design and create their own games and run a casino afternoon for younger students in the Probability unit. Students inquire about the use of patterns and general rules in the units of Algebraic Representation and Sequences. They inquire in possible real-life applications including estimating distance to the moon, examining 2D and 3D shapes and their real life measurements. Students develop understanding of mathematical modelling in particular looking at analyzing graphs. In each of the units, students also demonstrate their understanding through a knowledge and understanding test.