Middle School Mathematics Sequence: Information for Parents

Background Information

Nebraska’s new College and Career Ready Standards for Mathematics have increased the rigor and expectations for students in middle school mathematics courses.

In previous years, the need for multiple levels of Pre-algebra and Algebra courses existed to meet the needs of some students. With these updated state standards, the rigor of mathematics content in 7th grade better meets the needs of some of the students previously placed in the Pre-Algebra course that included some 8th grade content.

The raised expectations in 7th grade lead to an 8th grade course that provides better preparation for high school Algebra and Geometry than in past years. Much of the content previously covered in Math 8 was heavy on repetition of 6th and 7th grade content, this is no longer the case with the new 8th grade standards.

This change in standards creates a need for the restructuring of mathematics courses at the middle school level.

  • While the 6th grade math courses will not see significant changes in content or structure, the courses that 6th grade teachers recommend their students take the following year will be different.
  • Students in 7th grade will take either Course 2 or Course 2 Diff. Course 2 will cover the state mathematics standards for 7th grade and Course 2 Diff will cover the 7th grade standards and some 8th grade standards in preparation for Algebra in 8th grade and Geometry in 9th grade. Those students that typically found success in Pre-algebra will now take Course 2 Diff.
  • In 8th grade, students will take Course 3, which covers the 8th grade standards, or they will take Algebra Diff.

Enrollment in Differentiated level courses is open to all students who demonstrate a high level of understanding and is maintained based on student achievement.

This restructuring will allow teachers to better support those students that have either struggled with math or that have excelled. At the same time, reducing the number of courses offered will simplify the course recommendation process and provide for more appropriate course placement.

Starting in the 2018-2019 school year, the middle school mathematics course sequence will be adjusted and the courses will have new names that will clarify when a course is offered. The goal is for students to be in the math course that provides opportunity to be both challenged and successful.

Please feel free to contact Josh Males, curriculum specialist for mathematics, with any questions. (jmales@lps.org, 402-436-1801)

Course Descriptions

6th grade courses

Middle School Math Course 1: This course includes work with integers, factors and multiples, operations with positive rational numbers, equivalent expressions, one step equations, an introduction to inequalities, relationships in geometry, coordinate plane geometry, measurement and data, rates, ratios and percents. Throughout the class, exploration and technology are utilized in problem solving.

Middle School Math Course 1 Diff: This course includes work with factors and multiples, operations with positive rational numbers, operations with integers, equivalent expressions, two step equations, an introduction to inequalities, relationships in two variables, relationships in geometry, coordinate plane geometry, measurement and data, rates, ratios and percents. This course covers several extra topics in preparation for Course 2 Diff. Throughout the class, exploration and technology are utilized in problem solving.

7th grade courses

Middle School Math Course 2: This course includes integer operations, rational number operations, ratios and proportional relationships, percent applications, expressions and equations, solving inequalities, statistics, probability and geometric figures. Throughout the class, exploration and technology are utilized in problem solving.

Middle School Math Course 2 Diff: This course includes Rational Number Operations, Proportional Relationships, Applications of Percent, Simplify Expressions and Solve Linear Equations, Solve Inequalities, Scientific Notation, Real Numbers, Probability, Geometry, Transformational Geometry, 3-D Geometry, Angle Relationships and the Pythagorean Theorem. Throughout the class, exploration and technology is utilized in problem solving. Students successful in Course 2 Diff will be able to enroll in Algebra Diff in 8th grade.

8th grade courses

Middle School Math Course 3: This course includes real numbers, exponents with scientific notation, solving equations, solving inequalities, angle relationships, Pythagorean Theorem, transformational geometry, volume, proportional relationships, scatter plots, slope and linear equations. Throughout the class, exploration and technology are utilized in problem solving.

Algebra Diff: Algebra is the first class in the traditional college preparatory sequence. The class explores the solutions of open sentences using the basic operations, linear sentences, lines and distance, slopes and distance, exponents and powers, polynomials, systems of equations, quadratic equations, functions, statistics, and informal geometry. Throughout the class, appropriate applications are explored and technology utilized in collaborative problem solving. Students that successfully complete Algebra Diff will earn 10 high school algebra credits.