Middle school is an exciting period in every student's life. And it doesn't come as a surprise that junior high school math is a core subject that accompanies them through their formative years!
Middle school, or junior high, is transitional for all students, where they must deal with physical and emotional changes while learning complex academic ideas.
In such an environment, teachers decide how they set the tone for the student's learning. They can be the best guiding light for their students, or be awful teachers, confusing them further.
A good instructor will help them master crucial middle school math topics, in turn, enabling them to develop a strong base for future math learning.
What Students Should Expect From Middle School Math
Middle school mathematics lays the foundation for high school math. Students are introduced to new concepts like algebra which are levels above the simple multiplication and fractions of elementary math.
Think of middle school math class as a building block to prepare you for future math, science, and statistics courses.
It is vital to set a base for students at this stage so they can tackle more advanced areas of study, like college, seamlessly.
Algebra and Inequalities
Students start by learning the tenets of algebra in middle school math, working with variables and algebraic equations to solve problems.
They are then introduced to inequalities, expressions, and linear graphing equations using slopes, tables, and graphs.
As a critical part of inequalities, students should know how to distinguish between equality and inequality, including symbols like > and <, and use variables around such equations.
While an ordinary equality equation should look like this:
- 5x + 20 =30,
An inequality should look like this
- 5x + 20 < 30
Students should be able to incorporate variables into real-world problems, such as calculating the number of merchandise pieces that need to be sold to reach a specific sales target.
This can be done with ease by using an equation involving inequalities.
Additionally, students should be able to interpret linear models on a graph and tabulate them into data. And non-negotiable prerequisites require them to understand slopes, intercepts, and axis.
Middle school math also focuses on geometry and expands students' understanding of geometrical concepts, including volume and area.
They are taught to calculate the surface area of not just 2-D objects but also 3-D ones like:
Furthermore, students should be able to distinguish between different polygons.
They should also know the correct terminology for geometrical properties. This includes knowing that supplementary angles add up to 180 degrees.
A good practice for new geometry students would be to relate to their area of study with real-life 2D and 3D objects around them.
There are also middle school math resources and learning aids that teachers can utilize to help students understand geometrical shapes and figures.
Moreover, it is here that students are introduced to the concept of pi and taught how to calculate the area and surface of circles.
And in the 8th-grade, they are introduced to the Pythagorean Theorem and taught how to use it to solve different real-world problems.
Functions and Numbers
In the early years of middle school, students work with rational numbers, percentages, and decimals. By the 8th grade, they move on from rational numbers to incorporate irrational numbers and find them on a number line.
When working with number lines, students should be able to calculate both negative and positive numbers. Incorporating vertical and horizontal lines can be helpful in this regard.
Besides that, they should understand and make sense of positive and negative numbers around them, such as:
- Temperature scales
And to add to the list of their abilities, middle school math word problems will also test their ability to differentiate rational and irrational numbers with ease.
Towards the latter years of middle school, students also start to learn about functions and using them to model relationships between different quantities.
They are taught how to incorporate the three basic operations into functions:
- Learn the meaning of absolute value
- Depicting functions through graphs
- Algebraic expressions
By the end of middle school, students should know how to analyze and interpret functions in both graphical and tabular models.
More specifically, they should be aware of the concepts such as: a function equals one output for exactly one input.
In addition, they should be able to use functions in real-world problems, relying on tables, graphs, and equations.
How Teachers Can Aid Middle School Math Students
The middle school years serve as a bridge between the elementary and high school, playing a formative role in cementing basic math concepts.
A solid understanding of mathematical concepts developed in middle school serves as a foundation for students to absorb advanced math concepts like calculus.
Hence, for teacher and students who want to know how to improve math scores in middle school, read on:
Conceptualize Math Topics
While learning fundamental math concepts in middle school, students can either be inspired by the subject or be completely put off by math for the rest of their life.
The stronger their understanding of core topics like functions, algebra, equations, and geometry, the more they are inclined to succeed in math.
Meanwhile, math tutors can model middle school topics around real-world problems that students can relate to easily.
If students manage to understand middle school math comprehensively, they are setting themselves up for success in fields like:
- Information Technology
- Data science
Each of these integral and globally relevant fields heavily depends on mathematical problem-solving techniques.
The key to making middle school math classes interesting for students is to accommodate their learning needs.
Students in middle school seem to desire more independence and want to break away from the tethered learning of elementary methods.
This is the best time for teachers to encourage students to take ownership of their studies.
A competency-based approach to learning incentivizes students' knowledge and pushes them to take control of their studies. This method enables students to show that they're excelling at the material.
Teachers can push students to identify which concepts they seem to be excelling at and pinpoint the areas where they seem to be struggling.
Providing unique study options to students can help them stay motivated while exploring their core interests.
Furthermore, middle school math teachers should encourage students to ask for help when they're stuck and make them feel welcome in asking questions
Also, encouraging peer tutoring can help avoid the anxiety surrounding students in typical math learning environments.
And most importantly, math teachers and academicians should celebrate students' success when they excel at any topic. Positive reinforcement has proven to yield results.
Personalize Math Lessons
Middle school math tutors can personalize the math learning experience for their students. The preteen years are the most crucial time in a student's life, where their confidence is put to the test.
Students should be encouraged to cope with these growing pains and learning challenges by incorporating a personalized student-centric learning regimen.
It is sure to motivate them to engage with the class and become more aware. Hence, teachers should look to build confidence and fill gaps in their understanding.
Instead of thinking of middle school as the awkward in-between years, teachers can portray this academic stage as a time to develop positive change in students, especially when it comes to math.
Manage Time Well
Middle school is when students start getting involved in extra-curricular activities, start developing hobbies of their own, and begin socializing on their own with their peers.
It can be hard to squeeze in math lessons effectively, especially alongside homework and practice, while also juggling a social life.
If tutors unload a lot of math homework on students, they risk burning them out, boring them, and demotivating them from math.
But if the tutors adopt a streamlined routine and help students manage their time well, they can maximize the educational gains.
This process can also ensure that the students cover their middle school mathematics curriculum well within time without falling back.
And whatever free time is left can be used to excel at other mathematical themes through comprehensive Math apps.
Try a Math Tutor With Superprof
For students wondering how to improve math scores in middle school, Superprof allows you to find veritable and qualified middle school math tutors in your local area.
Our tutors can give you the benefit of a complete tutoring program that will take you through your entire middle school math journey.
Start the process by setting up an initial meeting with a tutor to see if their teaching style sits well with you.
If you're a parent looking for a math tutor for your child, you can search for private tutors with Superprof.
The tutors will first assess the student's existing understanding of the subject and then set forth a personalized curriculum and learning plan.
Make a profile at Superprof and find some of the best middle school math tutors in your area! Set up online lessons or opt for in-person classes, depending on your discretion.