Thinking & Learning

Math Gets Real

Okay, now the math homework is really getting too hard for us to help with. Your middle school mathematician is delving deeper into geometry, building a foundation in algebra, and applying math to real-world situations. The equations might sound out there, but middle school math matters: mastering math now sets them up for success in high school—and even for earning their diploma and heading to college.

In elementary school, your kid was exposed to core mathematical concepts that laid the foundation for more advanced math. By now, they probably understand our number system and how different kinds of calculations work; they can add and subtract and multiply and divide. They’ve got the basics of fractions and know how to work with shapes and measurements. Now, they’ll become deeper mathematical thinkers and dive into more complex problem-solving.

Most importantly, this is the time for them to master key mathematical concepts and skills that will take them all the way to high school math—and beyond.

Here’s what you need to know about middle school math:


Success in middle school math predicts success in high school. Elementary school is when students learn the basics of literacy and math. High school is when they conquer advanced material. Middle school bridges the two—and their success here, especially in math, matters. Research shows that students who fail a sixth-grade math class in middle school are less likely to graduate from high school on time.


They’ll be solving more complex problems, building knowledge in algebra and geometry, and applying math concepts to real-world situations. That means they’ll be able to help you double your dinner recipe or figure out how much to tip if you eat out. They’ll build the basis for their algebraic knowledge with single variable problems and advance from there. And they’ll start working with special angles and be able to find the size of an unknown angle. (Can you do that? Neither can we.) Fractions will get more complex, too, including doing calculations with both positive and negative fractions.


They’ll understand proportion and probability. They’ll learn to compare the probability of two events, for example, and figure out the probability of events that rely on each other.


They’ll use visuals to problem-solve and understand data. They’ll be able to make scale drawings of shapes, for example, and chart data in graphs and diagrams.