Students most truly observe and appreciate the wonder of mathematics when they learn to transfer their concrete mathematical knowledge to abstract algebraic generalizations. A primary goal in Algebra I at Wilson Hill is to facilitate that vital transfer. Students cannot help but be inspired by the beauty of algebra as they discover how it provides a basic language to describe so many aspects of the created world. Learning algebra helps students develop critical thinking skills by using problem-solving, logic, patterns and reasoning. Algebra I is the gateway course to virtually all high school math, forming the basis for advanced studies in many fields, including mathematics, science, engineering, medicine and economics. While algebra is used directly in many professions, especially those in science and math, the problem-solving strategies learned and practiced in Algebra I at Wilson Hill enhance all critical thinking. Algebra 1 is the gateway course to all high school math. Calculus teachers will tell you that the struggles in calculus most often are traced to algebra skills rather than calculus skills. In many cases, we actually recommend taking Algebra 1 two years to ensure students master essential skills before moving on—especially for younger, middle school students. If a student struggles the first time through Algebra 1, serious consideration should be given to taking the course again, even if the student earned a passing grade.
Topics include: mathematical symbols and the rules for manipulating those symbols; algebraic expressions, including polynomials and rational expressions, solving linear and quadratic equations, inequalities and systems of equations, and radicals and exponents. Emphasis is placed on problem-solving and graphing. Students move through eleven chapters during the year. Typically, two lessons per day are covered in class, with homework from each lesson assigned for completion by the next class.
Prerequisites: Pre-Algebra; some students with a strong grasp of Math 7 may succeed. Due to the nature of the abstract concepts introduced in the course, it may not be developmentally appropriate for students who have not yet reached Grade 8.
Homework Habits: Students typically spend 3-4 hours a week preparing algebra homework.
Suggested Grade Level: 8–10