Mathematics Department

The Mathematics Department of SMA seeks to develop in students an appreciation for math and its applications to other disciplines, to higher-order thinking and problem-solving, in order to prepare students for further study and employment. We use a balanced approach with both classical and updated standards to help students cultivate skills in both reasoning and problem solving. By fostering the students’ ability to solve math problems rationally, we prepare them for success not only in our classes but also in other academic areas and in life in general. The flexibility built into our program ensures that the curriculum is relevant, current, and, most importantly, curriculum is relevant, current, and, most importantly, effective. This balanced and focused approach provides the best learning environment for students to excel as problem solvers, able to communicate and reason mathematically with confidence.

In K-2 the primary focus is on addition and subtraction skills; multiplication is introduced in 3rd grade and division in the 4th. By the end of this year students are proficient in understanding the relationships between two and among the four operations. By the end of the 6th grade the students have a working expertise in fractions and decimals with the four operations. In 7th and 8th grades students learn to use percentages, to solve one and two variable equations, to develop algebraic expressions for real world problems, to analyze ratio and proportion relationships, and to graph linear equations. Finally, we introduce irrational numbers, radicals and integral exponents, and the quadratic formula.

High school math courses begin with Algebra I and Geometry, the foundations for Algebra II, Trigonometry, and Pre-Calculus. Students who demonstrate the capacity for more rigor and an indepth learning experience have the option to choose the “honors” classes in Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, and Pre-Calculus. Calculus is also an option for honors course students.