Middle School Algebra: Curriculum Overview

In grades six, seven and eight, your child will begin learning about algebra. It is important for children to develop a solid skills base in this math area because they will have to use these skills throughout high school. Continue reading below to find out what algebra skills your middle school student needs to acquire.

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How to Help Your Child Succeed in Algebra

To begin with, it's important that your middle school student can correctly use math terminology. For example, be sure your child knows what a variable is and how it should be used.

A good foundation is essential to mastery in the algebra content area. Your child will not be capable of solving an equation unless he or she can adequately add, subtract, multiply and divide. Lastly, providing your student with plenty of algebra practice outside of the classroom can help improve his or her performance.

Sixth Grade

At this grade level, your child should be able to read, write and evaluate expressions that involve variables. To be able to work with variables, sixth graders must understand that a letter can be used to represent an unknown number or any number in a given set. Your child should also understand that variables can be used in real-world problems to represent two quantities that change in relation to each other.

Your sixth grade student will know how to create equivalent expressions, as well as how to recognize expressions that are equal. This will often require your child to access prior knowledge of the properties of multiplication, such as the distributive or associative property. Algebra at the sixth grade level will also have students creating and evaluating expressions that include exponents. Lastly, be sure your child can solve equations using the form x + p = q and px = q.

Seventh Grade

In seventh grade, your child should be able to add, subtract, factor and expand linear expressions that include rational coefficients. Your child should also be comfortable solving multi-step problems that contain positive and negative numbers in the form of fractions, whole numbers and decimals. This will require your child to convert between the number forms and to use variables to stand for a quantity. You will also want to be sure your seventh grade student can use mental math and estimation to assess the reasonableness of his or her answers.

Eighth Grade

Students in eighth grade should be able to comfortably use what they know about integer exponents to generate numerical expressions that are equal. Your child will know how to estimate a large number by multiplying a single digit times a power of ten (e.g., 5 x 20). At this grade level, your student will be able to solve linear equations that contain one variable, as well as simultaneous linear equations.

You will also want to ensure that your child can solve problems that result in two linear equations containing two variables. Your eighth grader should also be able to solve problems that involve the use of cube root and square root symbols and numbers that are expressed in scientific notation.

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