The mathematical experience at Albany Academy for Girls provides the lens for girls to raise their appreciation of the language’s ability to significantly transform our world, to become robust problem solvers who can communicate their investigations, and, through mastery of math’s internal processes, to instill the confidence to pursue quantitatively rigorous Upper School courses.
The learning of mathematics is centered on the integration of visual, oral and symbolic tasks to fully develop the depth and breadth of a student’s cognitive abilities. The interactive classroom maximizes focused engagement through cooperative and meta-cognitive learning. Individual and group project investigations into the applications of the language to science, the arts, business and the home enable the student to discover meaning through use.
The Middle School Math program has several levels – comprehensive to accelerate – that allow girls to establish a pace commensurate with their current abilities and knowledge. However, universal is the objective of an intensive experience culminating in mastering the fundamentals of algebra. The daily commitment of teachers to provide the structure for success enables the student to embrace the wisdom of Aesop: “achievement belongs not to the swiftest but the persistent.”
The intensive development of number theory and skills are enhanced by explorations into algebra, geometry, probability, and data analysis. Fractions, decimals, probability, and proportions are given considerable emphasis through visual mediums. Manual and virtual manipulatives integrate symbolic operations within geometric relationships motivating the student to bridge the concrete with the abstract. Integral to the development of each concept are investigative, hands-on labs enabling the student to become fully engaged in a problem solving approach to real world applications. The synthesis is brought to fruition through the development of oral and written communication.
Topics from Course I are pursued in greater depth with greater emphasis on the transition from numerical operations to algebraic manipulation. Significant attention is given to the development of fraction concepts, proportionality, and percents. Using a variety of activities and mediums, problem solving explorations supplement instruction in an extensive review of the core strands of the language. Dynamic geometric software enables the student to visually draw connections while written communication internalizes the experience for the student.
STRUCTURE & METHOD
Following an intensive review of the numerical strands in Course II, algebra, geometry, and coordinate geometry receive significant attention. Symbolic manipulation, linear equations & systems, and polynomials are covered through investigations to bridge the concrete to the abstract. Problem solving activities are approached from a variety of methodologies, as students explore the relative strengths of different approaches. Dynamic geometric software is utilized to stimulate insights into congruence, similarity, area, and volume.
INTRODUCTION TO ALGEBRA
An accelerated version of Course III for students who desire a greater challenge through problem-solving activities that significantly deepen and broaden the investigations into the core strands necessary for success in Algebra I. Designed for highly motivated, independent students, research into advanced topics assumes mastery of the core skills and concepts covered in previous levels. Evidence of readiness for includes previous body of work, teacher recommendation, and B+ or higher in Course II.
The foundation for success in future mathematical endeavors, the course thoroughly reviews properties and operations of real numbers in the transitional process to the higher-order symbolic expressions of algebra. Linear and nonlinear functions as well as systems receive considerable emphasis as students learn to develop models for essential applications. Skills and concepts are integrated through problem solving activities which are used to explore as well as critique various types of approaches. Lab/project investigations strive to develop the concepts through cooperative adventures emphasizing the development of oral and written communication.
This level is for students who desire a greater challenge through problem-solving activities that significantly deepen and broaden the investigations of the comprehensive course. Evidence of readiness for honors includes previous body of work with a necessary condition of B+ or higher in Algebra I.