Jeff Steele and Cindy Schacht
Hyla Middle School recognizes that in every adolescent there is a mathematician, and that in each of us there is a love for both language and mathematics. Our challenging and innovative program fosters student independence and engagement while building a solid mathematical foundation.
In the 6th grade, two primary curricula are integrated: The Connected Math Project (CMP) and The Arbor Algebra Series (AAS). Hyla braids these two curricula together as an invitation to our students to develop a tenacious approach to problem solving and fluency in mathematical argumentation. CMP is a highly developed curriculum sequence that challenges students in the formulation of problems, building of algorithms and the communication of logical reasoning. Sixth grade CMP explores fractions, statistics, number theory and geometry as students move from concrete skills in arithmetic and basic geometry to the more abstract fundamentals of algebraic thinking.
In AAS, the students work in small self-paced groups through an algebra sequence designed to meet every student at their current level of understanding and then challenge them to grow.This curriculum expects a great deal of student independence, balanced and guided by teacher involvement. The students are divided organically into small groups. Each cohort proceeds through the math curriculum more or less at its own self-governed pace. The teacher’s work in the classroom is to meet with small groups or individuals and talk with them about the material, work problem sets with them, and to generally buoy their understandings. There are very few moments when the teachers are standing up in front of the whiteboard talking to the whole class. The AAS books integrate compelling narrative, inductive reasoning, and deep, imaginative problem solving while satisfying common core standards.
As students progress into 7th and 8th grade, the focus becomes much stronger on the development of algebraic reasoning skills and the work is done primarily in AAS. In addition to AAS, the students engage in projects and other mathematical explorations including geometric constructions, 3-D design, probability/carnival game building, real world budgeting, investment and stock competition, and data analysis.
The Hyla math curriculum takes students through the equivalent of a high school
Algebra I course sometime by the end of eighth grade. Some students master the algebra trajectory before the end of their eighth-grade year and proceed to study high school level geometry. This small cohort studies logic and proofs; coordinate geometry and transformations; theorems and postulates for triangles; trigonometry; and properties and theorems for other polygons, circles, and solids.
At the end of 8th grade, Hyla students may be recommended for Algebra I, Geometry, or Algebra II.