Shorecrest Preparatory School Blog

Developing an "Algebrain" - Math Skills for Middle School

Posted by Christine Idinge on Mar 15, 2016 1:42:19 PM
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middle school math skillsFor many students, the middle school years are full of many changes – even beyond the physiological ones they experience. For example, at Shorecrest students switch classes for each subject, have a locker combination to remember and to open quickly, have multiple teachers with differing personalities, and most participate in at least one extra curricular activity. Algebra can be a difficult concept to grasp for some, but there are ways to ensure your child has strong foundational math skills for success. 

Time management and executive function skills are a work in progress and yet they are expected to juggle content that is increasingly difficult and more time consuming.

How can parents help prepare their children for these challenging years? Are there basic skills that can be developed during the early years that will help ease the pain and ensure an easier transition through grades? How will my child survive these years and succeed in Algebra - a class full of long-forgotten math skills that reads like a foreign language to most adults.

Whether your own junior high school math experience was fraught with tension and tears or you excelled in all aspects involving numbers, a proficiency in the following skills dramatically improves a student’s ability to succeed in Algebra.

  1. The multiplication tables up to 12 and the corresponding division skills

  2. Traditional long division

  3. Adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing integers (including negatives)

  4. Adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing fractions with like denominators

  5. Converting between fractionS, decimalS and percentages

The majority of these skills are introduced in the elementary school grades and further developed throughout middle school.


There are many free apps that contain the above skills. Some of my favorites are Long Division Touch and Hop the Number Line

Frequent practice (15-20 minutes per day) will ensure a strong foundation upon which future math courses will be built. Students that are proficient in these math skills may experience a pain-free transition to the more abstract Algebraic skills because their focus will shift away from computing and toward solving problems and understanding the purpose behind the lessons.

*Thanks to Shorecrest seventh grader Abby Chadwick for helping Mrs. Idinge with the clever blog title.

Topics: Middle School