The curriculum in the Middle School has a dual role: the presentation of information and the guiding of the students’ critical thinking skills from memorization to thoughtful, independent analysis of the material being presented. The curricular content continues to support the liberal arts background that IAS believes to be an integral part of each student’s educational foundation. In early adolescence, students begin to develop analytical thinking skills. Using the material in each course, Middle School teachers challenge their students to support opinions with facts and to question the world in which they live. The purpose is to continue the shaping of responsible young people who will contribute to their society
Math offerings in the Middle School is limited to Pre-Algebra followed by Algebra 1 which continues the teaching of fundamental math and pre-algebra skills in preparation for enrollment in Algebra 2 in High School. All Middle School students are tested at the entrance to the 7th grade for placement in the correct math program. There is a remedial ESL program for students whose English skills preclude them from being on target in regular math classes. Pre-Algebra is a comprehensive overview of general mathematics. The course begins with a complete review of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division of fractions, mixed numbers, and decimals. Variables and exponents and their use in formulas and in solving equations are subsequently introduced. Integers, absolute value, prime factorization, multiples, greater common factor, ratios along with related word problems, percent (converting fractions to percent, percent of decrease and increase, discount, sales tax), and simple and compound interest are also covered. Geometry is introduced as it applies to 0-, 1-, 2-, and 3-dimensional figures, and angles and circles are discussed. A small amount of graphing is also included. Pre-Algebra meets seven times a week; homework, which reinforces the material presented in class, is assigned for each class meeting. All tests are announced well in advance and are given approximately every two weeks. Quizzes that cover the daily material are both announced and unannounced. A comprehensive mid year and final exam are given at the appropriate times during the academic year.