Middle School mathematics builds and expands students’ skills foundation developed in the Lower School while transitioning them from self-generated pictorial models to using symbolic algebraic reasoning by the end of Middle School.
In the fifth and sixth grades, the Singapore Math program encourages the use of skills in the context of multi-step word problems, building understanding for a concept by first using manipulatives like tiles or chips to explore the topic, moving to a pictorial model using bars to represent the concept and finally developing an abstract method using reasoning to apply the particular skill. These techniques introduce new concepts such as ratio, proportion, and percent, allowing students new to the system a natural entrance into the pictorial modeling that is unique to this program.
We test students beginning in the sixth and seventh grades to determine whether or not they are ready for Algebra I. By seventh grade, students begin to move away from visual models and towards a more algebraic and abstract method. By the end of eighth grade, all Middle School students will have studied the linear topics of Algebra I.