Math Tips for Middle School Parents

The early years in middle school begin to build college-ready skills for students. The Math curriculum is based on the Iowa Core standards and focuses on key concepts in numbers, algebra, functions, modeling, geometry, and statistics, and probability.

As a parent, the best thing you can do for your child is to stay engaged in their learning. Each day, take time to ask your child about their school day. Ask open-ended questions to encourage interaction. Then, you can build on their daily learning with some of the activities suggested on this webpage. Here are specific areas to focus on when working with your child.

You can also view suggested learning resources for students. These learning resources offer both digital activities and printable practice materials.

6th Grade

  • Look for “word problems” in real life.

  • Determine the average speed of a family trip, based on the distance traveled and the time taken; or estimate the time that a trip will take, given the distance and an estimate of the average speed. Use examples from the news – for example, a swimmer crossing the English Channel or a space probe traveling to another planet.

  • Find the surface area of the walls and ceiling in a room to determine the cost of painting the room.

Read the Iowa Core Parent Guide (English) and Iowa Core Parent Guide (Spanish).

7th Grade

  • Look for “word problems” in real life.

  • Figure the amount of a 15% tip or determine what percentage of weekly income goes to pay taxes.

  • Use a scale diagram in a manual or a newspaper article to determine lengths, areas, distances, or other measures.

  • For a long-term project, help your child choose a stock and follow its value on the stock market by using the newspaper or the Internet. Have your child calculate the stock’s percent increase or decrease each month.

Read the Iowa Core Parent Guide (English) and Iowa Core Parent Guide (Spanish).

8th Grade

  • Solve interesting problems that involve cylinders and spheres to figure out, for example, how much water fits inside a garden hose, or how many Earths would fit inside the sun.

  • Analyze data with a scatterplot to decide, for example, how exercise and obesity are potentially related.

  • Solve algebra problems, such as: “You have a coupon worth $18 off the purchase of a scientific calculator. At the same time, the calculator is offered with a discount of 15%, but no further discounts may be applied. For what tag price on the calculator do you pay the same amount for each discount?”

Read the Iowa Core Parent Guide (English) and Iowa Core Parent Guide (Spanish).

Source: Iowa Core Parent Guides from the Iowa Department of Education.
Read the complete standards on the Iowa Core website.