The Curriculum of the Steiner School - Middle School

Notes and Lesson Plans

Middle School Mathematics
updated February 11, 2021

Recorded here is my own personal collection of articles, resources, favorite links, teaching ideas, and lesson plans. It encompasses many years, from the very beginning of my experience studying and learning about Waldorf to the present time. People from all around the world visit my site and recommend it to others. Welcome!

This site records my journey. I hope my honesty is encouraging and helps break down some barriers that may prevent people from trying Waldorf methods. Because this is an ongoing site documenting my curriculum planning and ideas, some materials are more Waldorf-y than others. Please feel free to take what you like and leave the rest.

Middle School Math Booklist
for Class 6, 7, 8

Mission Statement - Consulting Services - Lending Library

Without exception, I would recommend Jamie York's excellent book for Middle School Math.

Making Math Meaningful : A Middle School Math Curriculum for Teachers and Parents

I also REALLY like his super helpful online math workshops for grades 6, 7, and 8!

Jamie recommends math homework every night, two math main lesson blocks during the course of the school year, and an afternoon math class several times a week for further reinforcement and practice.

I've compiled a page of FREE math worksheets which I have used and recommend. I also really like these FREE Homework Scorecards which ask students to self-assess their work. (Mon - Thu)

6th grade Math MLB topics:

    1. Business Math (including Percents, Formulas, and Graphs)
    2. Geometry (geometric drawing)

7th grade Math MLB topics:

    1. Algebra
    2. Geometry

8th grade Math MLB topics:

    1. Number Bases & Loci
    2. Mensuration & Stereometry

On his website Jamie York Press you will also find a student workbook for each grade level (consumable), a teacher guide/answer key for each workbook, and a webinar on 7th grade algebra, as well as an assortment of free middle school downloads.

grade 6 workbook
sample worksheets
grade 6 teacher guide

grade 7 workbook
sample worksheets
grade 7 teacher guide

grade 8 workbook
sample worksheets
grade 8 teacher guide

Main Lesson Block daily plans & notes from Jamie York:

Eighth Grade Note:
Many Montessori math materials are an excellent fit with Jamie's curriculum. I especially like the Multi-Base Bead Frame for 8th grade, working hands-on in base 2, base 5, base 8, and base 16!

Seventh Grade Note:
Becca had a hard time with the a + b whole square formula (page 95 of the workbook, part of the Square Root Algorithm), so we watched this YouTube video. Montessori also has hands-on materials to help students understand, visualize, assemble and disassemble puzzles like these:

Sixth Grade Note
Nice explanation of this sixth grade math trick (workbook Sheet 4)
Multiply Numbers Just Over 100 in 3 Seconds

Sample lessons from the Live Education! curriculum:

Actually doing the math, not just writing it, is an invaluable tool. There's a math teacher who I admire so very much that takes every single math problem in his students' books, acts it out on video, and has them watch it or make their own videos so that they are actually applying the concept in the real world. It's amazing! He says that if the students are to calculate how long it will take to fill a bucket with a slow hose, they should have to sit through how long it actually takes to fill that bucket and see if their answer makes sense. That once they have to do that, their work will have meaning to them. Granted, he teaches calculus and I'm teaching arithmetic, but I think the principal applies at every level.

My blog posts with pictures of all of our MLB pages:

There are many other Waldorf (and traditional) math books which I suggest for this age group. They run the enrichment gamut: some are collections of fascinating biographies, some show math concepts as they developed throughout time and in different cultures, some contain practice exercises, some are books of puzzles and math games, and some focus on applying math problem solving skills in authentic tasks.

All are wonderful.

I also strongly believe that math problem solving should be woven into real life, and homeschooling provides you with so many opportunities to do that! On one occasion, after a family dinnertime discussion about college and the process of choosing a major, I asked my daughters to figure out how many adults actually grow up to have a profession that matched their college major. I had always wondered this myself; it was my impression through casual conversation that many many people end up in an entirely different career.

We developed a short two-question survey (What is/was your profession? What was your major in college?) and wrote an interview script. The children interviewed 50 people, tabulated the data, and came to the conclusion that approximately 56% of adults end up in careers that do not match what they majored in in college. This allowed my girls to breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that you do NOT have to know with complete certainty -- at the age of 20, mind you! -- what you want to be when you grow up. In fact, we enjoyed hearing the story of one woman who went into business journalism after being told repeatedly that she wouldn't be able to make a living as an artist. Once she began working in that field, she hated it! She ended up deciding to follow her heart and is now successfully supporting herself and her family as a fiber artist.

After dealing with quantitative data, creating tables and a pie chart, we turned to qualitative data. Each of my children chose someone to conduct a follow up interview on, after becoming curious about their widely varying career paths. One woman started out in pre-law, then became a doula. Another majored in East Asian studies and is now a long haul team truck driver with her husband. Our 10 follow up questions allowed the girls to delver deeper into their research and provided even more reassurance that we each have our own unique path and there's no "right" or "wrong." It was especially interesting that when we asked in question 10 if "you believe students should take a gap year between high school and college," one person interviewed said DEFINITELY yes and the other said DEFINITELY no!

Activities such as these allow mathematics to come alive for your child as well as your whole family.

I also believe that middle schoolers should be involved as you create and revise your household budgets -- my 6th grader keeps track of our homeschool budget, adding up the receipts each month, and my 8th grader keeps track of our grocery budget -- and that they should be present as you do your taxes. It is never to early to learn the maths of practical life.

Supplemental Booklist

The Man Who Counted: A Collection of Mathematical Adventures
by Malba Tahan

You Can Count on Monsters: The First 100 Numbers and Their Characters
by Richard Evan Schwartz

The Time Book: A Brief History from Lunar Calendars to Atomic Clocks

by Martin Jenkins

The Story of Clocks and Calendars
by Betsy Maestro

The History of Counting
by Denise Schmandt-Besserat

A Million Dots
by Andrew Clements

Animals by the Numbers: A Book of Infographics

by Steve Jenkins (great for graphing)

The Story of Money
by Betsy Maestro

Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? A Fast, Clear, and Fun Explanation of the Economics You Need For Success in Your Career, Business, and Investments
by Richard Maybury

A Collection of Math Lessons: Grades 3-6
by Marilyn Burns

A Collection of Math Lessons: Grades 6-8
by Marilyn Burns

Math for Smarty Pants (A Brown Paper School Book)
by Marilyn Burns

The I Hate Mathematics! Book (A Brown Paper School Book)
by Marilyn Burns

Making Math Meaningful: Fun with Puzzles, Games, and More! (grades 4-12)
by Jamie York

Hands-On Math!: Ready-To-Use Games & Activities for Grades 4-8
by Frances Thompson

Math and Science Across Cultures: Activities and Investigations from the Exploratorium
by Maurice Bazin, et al.

Agnesi to Zeno: Over 100 Vignettes from the History of Math
by Sanderson Smith

Mathematicians Are People, Too: Stories from the Lives of Great Mathematicians
by Luetta and Wilbert Reimer

Mathematicians Are People, Too: Stories from the Lives of Great Mathematicians, Vol. 2
by Luetta and Wilbert Reimer

Mathematicians Are People, Too!
lesson plan ideas

String, Straightedge, and Shadow: The Story of Geometry
by Julia Diggins

How We Learned the Earth Is Round
by Patricia Lauber

The Day We Saw the Sun Come Up
by Alice E. Goudey

The Librarian Who Measured the Earth
by Kathryn Lasky

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