Our objective in mathematics is to create an atmosphere that balances basic skills and conceptual understanding. We want our students to build new mathematical ideas and practice application. Through the workshop model, students explore, make discoveries, reflect, and communicate their ideas. Students follow the National Common Core Curriculum Standards, and have ninety minutes of math instruction daily. Advanced math classes are offered in the 8th grade. Students bolster and grow math skills through ALEKS, an interactive web-based learning system.
Rationale for Module Sequence in Grade 6
In Module 1, students build on their prior work in measurement and in multiplication and division as they study the concepts and language of ratios and unit rates. They use proportional reasoning to solve problems. In particular, students solve ratio and rate using tape diagrams, tables of equivalent ratios, double number line diagrams, and equations. They plot pairs of values generated from a ratio or rate on the first quadrant of the coordinate plane.
Students expand their understanding of the number system and build their fluency in arithmetic operations in Module 2. Students learned in Grade 5 to divide whole numbers by unit fractions and unit fractions by whole numbers. Now, they apply and extend their understanding of multiplication and division to divide fractions by fractions. The meaning of this operation is connected to real-world problems as students are asked to create and solve fraction division word problems. Students continue (from Fifth Grade) to build fluency with adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing multi-digit decimal numbers using the standard algorithms.
Major themes of Module 3 are to understand rational numbers as points on the number line and to extend previous understandings of numbers to the system of rational numbers, which now include negative numbers. Students extend coordinate axes to represent points in the plane with negative number coordinates and, as part of doing so, see that negative numbers can represent quantities in real-world contexts. They use the number line to order numbers and to understand the absolute value of a number. They begin to solve real-world and mathematical problems by graphing points in all four quadrants, a concept that continues throughout to be used into high school and beyond.
With their sense of number expanded to include negative numbers, in Module 4 students begin formal study of algebraic expressions and equations. Students learn equivalent expressions by continuously relating algebraic expressions back to arithmetic and the properties of arithmetic (commutative, associative, and distributive). They write, interpret, and use expressions and equations as they reason about and solve one-variable equations and inequalities and analyze quantitative relationships between two variables.
Module 5 is an opportunity to practice the material learned in Module 4 in the context of geometry; students apply their newly acquired capabilities with expressions and equations to solve for unknowns in area, surface area, and volume problems. They find the area of triangles and other two-dimensional figures and use the formulas to find the volumes of right rectangular prisms with fractional edge lengths. Students use negative numbers in coordinates as they draw lines and polygons in the coordinate plane. They also find the lengths of sides of figures, joining points with the same first coordinate or the same second coordinate and apply these techniques to solve real-world and mathematical problems.
In Module 6, students develop an understanding of statistical variability and apply that understanding as they summarize, describe, and display distributions. Careful attention is given to measures of center and variability.
Rationale for Module Sequence in Grade 7
In Module 1, students build on their Grade 6 experiences with ratios, unit rates, and fraction division to analyze proportional relationships. They decide whether two quantities are in a proportional relationship, identify constants of proportionality, and represent the relationship by equations. These skills are then applied to real-world problems including scale drawings. Students continue to build an understanding of the number line in Module 2 from their work in Grade 6. They learn to add, subtract, multiply, and divide rational numbers.
Module 2 includes rational numbers as they appear in expressions and equation; work is continued in Module 3.
Module 3 consolidates and expands students’ previous work with generating equivalent expressions and solving equations. Students solve real-life and mathematical problems using numerical and algebraic expressions and equations. Their work with expressions and equations is applied to finding unknown angles and problems involving area, volume, and surface area.
Module 4 parallels Module 1’s coverage of ratio and proportion, but this time with a concentration on percent. Problems in this module include simple interest, tax, markups and markdowns, gratuities and commissions, fees, percent increase and decrease, and percent error. Additionally, this module includes percent problems about populations, which prepare students for probability models about populations covered in the next module.
In Module 5, students learn to draw inferences about populations based on random samples. Through the study of chance processes, students learn to develop, use and evaluate probability models.
The year concludes with students drawing and constructing geometrical figures in Module 6. They also revisit unknown angle, area, volume, and surface area problems, which now include problems involving percentages of areas or volumes.
Rationale for Module Sequence in Grade 8
This year begins with students extending the properties of exponents to integer exponents in Module 1: They use the number line model to support their understanding of the rational numbers and the number system. The number system is revisited at the end of the year (in Module 7) to develop the real number line through a detailed study of irrational numbers.
Module 2: In Module 2, students study congruence by experimenting with rotations, reflections, and translations of geometrical figures. Their study of congruence culminates with an introduction to the Pythagorean Theorem in which the teacher guides students through the “square-within-a-square” proof of the theorem. Students practice the theorem in real-world applications and mathematical problems throughout the year. (In Module 7, students learn to prove the Pythagorean Theorem on their own and are assessed on that knowledge in that module.)
The experimental study of rotations, reflections, and translations in Module 2 prepares students for the more complex work of understanding the effects of dilations on geometrical figures in their study of similarity in Module 3. They use similar triangles to solve unknown angle, side length and area problems. Module 3 concludes with revisiting a proof of the Pythagorean Theorem from the perspective of similar triangles.
In Module 4, students use similar triangles learned in Module 3 to explain why the slope of a line is well-defined. Students learn the connection between proportional relationships, lines, and linear equations as they develop ways to represent a line by different equations (y=mx + b, y – y1=m(x – x1), etc.). They analyze and solve linear equations and pairs of simultaneous linear equations. The equation of a line provides a natural transition into the idea of a function explored in the next two modules.
Students are introduced to functions in the context of linear equations and area/volume formulas in Module 5. They define, evaluate, and compare functions using equations of lines as a source of linear functions and area and volume formulas as a source of non-linear functions.
In Module 6, students return to linear functions in the context of statistics and probability as bivariate data provides support in the use of linear functions.
By Module 7 students have been using the Pythagorean Theorem for several months. They are sufficiently prepared to learn and explain a proof of the theorem on their own. The Pythagorean Theorem is also used to motivate a discussion of irrational square roots (irrational cube roots are introduced via volume of a sphere). Thus, as the year began with looking at the number system, so it concludes with students understanding irrational numbers and ways to represent them (radicals, non-repeating decimal expansions) on the real number line.
Rationale for Module Sequence in Regents Algebra I
Module 1: Now, students analyze and explain precisely the process of solving an equation. Students, through reasoning, develop fluency writing, interpreting, and translating between various forms of linear equations and inequalities, and make conjectures about the form that a linear equation might take in a solution to a problem. They reason abstractly and quantitatively by choosing and interpreting units in the context of creating equations in two variables to represent relationships between quantities. They master the solution of linear equations and apply related solution techniques and the properties of exponents to the creation and solution of simple exponential equations. They learn the terminology specific to polynomials and understand that polynomials form a system analogous to the integers.
Module 2: This module builds upon students’ prior experiences with data, providing students with more formal means of assessing how a model fits data. Students display and interpret graphical representations of data, and if appropriate, choose regression techniques when building a model that approximates a linear relationship between quantities. They analyze their knowledge of the context of a situation to justify their choice of a linear model. With linear models, they plot and analyze residuals to informally assess the goodness of fit.
Module 3: In earlier grades, students defined, evaluated, and compared functions in modeling relationships between quantities. In this module, students learn function notation and develop the concepts of domain and range. They explore many examples of functions, including sequences; they interpret functions given graphically, numerically, symbolically, and verbally, translate between representations, and understand the limitations of various representations. Students build on their understanding of integer exponents to consider exponential functions with integer domains. They compare and contrast linear and exponential functions, looking for structure in each and distinguishing between additive and multiplicative change. Students explore systems of equations and inequalities, and they find and interpret their solutions. They interpret arithmetic sequences as linear functions and geometric sequences as exponential functions. In building models of relationships between two quantities, students analyze the key features of a graph or table of a function.
Module 4: In this module, students build on their knowledge from Module 3. Students strengthen their ability to discern structure in polynomial expressions. They create and solve equations involving quadratic and cubic expressions. In this module’s modeling applications, students reason abstractly and quantitatively in interpreting parts of an expression that represent a quantity in terms of its context; they also learn to make sense of problems and persevere in solving them by choosing or producing equivalent forms of an expression (e.g., completing the square in a quadratic expression to reveal a maximum value). Students consider quadratic functions, comparing the key characteristics of quadratic functions to those of linear and exponential functions. They learn through repeated reasoning to anticipate the graph of a quadratic function by interpreting the structure of various forms of quadratic expressions. In particular, they identify the real solutions of a quadratic equation as the zeros of a related quadratic function.
Module 5: In this module, students expand their experience with functions to include more specialized functions—linear, exponential, quadratic, square and cube root, and those that are piecewise-defined, including absolute value and step. Students select from among these functions to model phenomena using the modeling cycle.