Inquiry and Investigation Make for Math Success  in the Middle School
Levine Academy

How does Levine challenge its students in mathematics and prepare them for high school? This week we sat down with our Seventh and Eighth Grade Math teacher, Ms. Regie Neff, to discuss how she tries to encourage all her students to excel in the math arena. She strives to instill success wherever students are in their learning process. 

Last year, following extensive research by teachers and administrators, Levine introduced a new math curriculum: Glencoe Accelerated Pre-Algebra and Algebra I. It embodies great foundational math skills in vocabulary, context and symbolic algebraic equations.

Glencoe Accelerated Pre-Algebra and Algebra I is a nationally recognized curriculum based on three pillars: rigor, relevance and results. It provides a unique blend of interactive texts and digital resources that give 21st century learners and educators the freedom to differentiate instruction.

Sitting in Ms. Neff's classroom - you notice a laminated green and white poster with a definition prominently placed: Gumption (n.) initiative; resourcefulness; spunk; guts; courage.  The quality of sensible and brave enough to do the right thing in a difficult situation. Ms. Neff uses the definition as a reminder that students are independent learners who have the tools to be resourceful.

Every few weeks, she presents a real world Algebraic case to the students for the group to discuss. Example: You are a contractor (or energy-conscious homeowner) and you are posed with a simple question, "How much water are we wasting?"  The students are challenged to apply concepts they have learned to the problem, such as volume. After looking at the blueprints of the home's pipe structure, students decide to calculate the volume of water in the pipes. Information is not just given; students are reminded that in the real-world if the boss or homeowner understood the math, they would just use the calculator.

As a real-life contractor, you must be accountable of your analysis. Students learn the importance of showing and supporting work.   

To provide an enriched, in-depth and stimulating math education, Ms. Neff cultivates in her students critical, imaginative and investigative thinking. It is this comprehensive approach that gives our Levine students the dynamic and creative education that is preparing them for success at the next level and beyond.