7th Grade


Question:  In grade x at Moses Brown, students bridge the divide between the concrete patterns of arithmetic and the abstract representations in Algebra.  Solve for x.

To accomplish this task, they use a series of carefully constructed projects that introduce and reinforce critical skills, and which frequently connect with content in other courses for multimodal, interdisciplinary learning.

While students are reading To Kill a Mockingbird in English, they are simultaneously learning about the creation of currency, bank lending ratios, and the effects of changes in the money supply on inflation.  The pros and cons of cash and barter economies.  Supply, demand, and opportunities and dangers of leverage in the market.  They discuss the Great Depression, how it affected people in the 30’s, and its parallels in the heavily-leveraged real estate market of today.

(Answer: x=7)


In conjunction with science class, students use algebraic skills to manipulate volume formulas with the goal of designing a container that will hold enough water for one day’s use.  Then we challenge them to show their work–literally–by carrying that water for one mile on our outdoor track.  Along the way, they demonstrate their mastery of formulae, orders of operation, algebraic problem-solving, time management, and ability to work cooperatively in teams.

Probability calculations get a lot more exciting when the action heats up on the green felt.  Students set up their own casino, calculating odds and testing real-world outcomes as contestants play for fun–and some bragging rights.  (Big math, no whammies.)

Students also study the effects of percentage operations on daily life through the lens of credit cards.  They interview family members about their experiences with credit cards, learn about the ubiquity of credit ratings and the importance of protecting one’s credit reputation, and create their own credit card, complete with calculations of monthly compounded interest.


Dan Ohl

Middle School Mathematics and Middle School Mathematics Department Chair


Dan Ohl

College of the Holy Cross – B.A.

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