In Junior High, we strive to serve as a transition from the Elementary Montessori mathematics curriculum to advanced secondary math classes. We use two types of texts: a traditional algebra textbook serves as a supplement to the Connected Mathematics curriculum, a language-based, reform curriculum developed by the National Science Foundation which promotes abstract thinking,deep understanding of concepts, and new ways of thinking and reasoning about numbers, algebra, geometry, and statistics.
In addition to text-based learning, students participate in hands-on mathematics projects throughout the year. These projects focus on learning to see math as something more robust than nightly homework from a text and generally include a design component as well as a hands-on construction project. Examples of projects include designing quilts, model bridges and houses,and Rube Goldberg machines.
Finally, students are also required to do "Friday Assignments" throughout the year, so named because they are presented to the class on Fridays. Friday Assignments allow students to choose any topic in mathematics and to delve into it deeply. Assignments range from reports on a mathematician to writing a song about a math concept and creating a math video to conducting experiments and using math to report findings. Creativity is celebrated and students are strongly encouraged to find math that interests them in the things that they love doing.
Here is a student-generated list of Friday Assignment
Math 7 interweaves three main subjects throughout the year: algebra, geometry, and numbers and operations. In algebra, the main focus is on graphing variables and expressing graphs analytically (with equations). In Geometry units, students study linear transformations, using similar triangles to solve geometry problems, and surface area and volumes of solid geometric objects. In addition, significant work with ratios, proportions, percents and arithmetic operations with rational numbers occurs throughout the year.
Math 8 begins with the study of linear mathematical models. Emphasis is placed on construction and interpreting graphs and the application of algebraic equations to daily-life. In geometry, students study the Pythagorean theorem, complex applications to area problems and introduction to the properties of irrational numbers. Midway through the year, Math 8 extends to the study of linear mathematical models and graphs into equations having to do with exponential and parabolic functions. More complex algebraic operations such as factoring and expanding polynomials, order of operations, expressing problems in symbolic form and solving mathematical equations are treated in detail.
Students who complete Algebra 1 (both Connected Mathematics and the traditional Algebra 1 text) progress into Algebra 2 and Trigonometry.
Most graduating Oak Hill students will take Geometry as ninth graders. Some opt to take Geometry in the summer between eighth and ninth grades at their future high schools, allowing them to take more advanced mathematics courses in high school.
The purpose of English Literature and Language Arts is to continue growth in writing, reading, listening and speaking--the life-long skills that we rely on to communicate with others. At times, junior high students work on grammar, mechanics, spelling or vocabulary. At other times, they will practice careful, insightful reading. In addition, they discuss literature, probe the multi-layered process of creative writing, or practice our speaking skills through dramatic monologs or speeches.
The preparation for advanced science begins early in the Montessori career. In all ways, students at Oak Hill Montessori begin to think like scientists - questioning, testing, and revisiting their hypotheses. In Junior High, science is tied inextricably to our social world through our interdisciplinary seminars. We talk about morality in science, how politics and war affect and are affected by science, and how science plays a role in our justice system. At the same time, students are given real experiences with scientific data collection, observation, and writing in the Earth, Life, and Physical sciences.
Humanities allow us to explore the fascinating human story, from the earliest humans through 20th century American history. We attempt to place individual human stories within the larger context of world history and current events, delving into discussions about morality and ethics. In keeping with adolescents’ needs, we ask the big questions: “Who am I?,” "Where do I fit in?,” “What does it mean to be human?” In all ways, we work to tie history, civics, languages, literature, the arts, and the sciences together in our interdisciplinary units. At Oak Hill Montessori, we recognize that an important area of study is the place we live in. But, as adolescents begin the journey to understand their larger place in the world, we also actively reach out to the larger community as a means for students to become active, engaged citizens.
The purpose of Leadership is to recognize that leadership begins with the self. What does it take to become a leader? Why should others follow me? Why would I want to lead? What issues need leaders today more than ever? What issues am I interested in? These are some of the questions that we take up in Leadership.
In Leadership, seventh and eighth years are usually divided. The seventh-grade year is spent focusing on value-formation and the ways in which those values affect interpersonal relationships (as well as the intrapersonal relationship, that dialog with the self). We also focus on community service; how do my values influence how I will choose to help the community? The eighth-grade year is spent working on Capstone Projects. This eighth-grade-only project runs through the entire school year. Students begin choosing research question (or series of questions on a theme) in September and continue to work on the project throughout the entire year. Projects must include research, a project, and a community service component. In the Spring, students are required to showcase their efforts with a semi-public presentation.