North Star Academy believes that mathematics is an essential element in a well-rounded education.  The diligent study of mathematics contributes significantly to the analytical and logical reasoning capabilities of students.  Once these tools are in place and being developed, they are readily extended to all other areas of thought.  The ability to solve problems is a hallmark of someone schooled in mathematics and is a skill that will always be in great demand.

At NSA, we use the Saxon series in the math program.  This series is based on the belief that students can master the concepts of math through daily practice.  Once a topic is presented, students are continually exposed to the topic in the daily problem sets that follow.  As the year progresses, the complexity of the problems becomes increasingly difficult as the topics are reviewed.  Each lesson is thus a cumulative review, and the problems require that the students develop fluency in problem solving to successfully complete the lessons.

Course 1

Course 1 includes the study of numbers and operations (including whole numbers, fractions, decimals, percents, integers, positive and negative integers and order of operation), algebra, geometry, measurement, data analysis and probability, problem solving, communication, mathematical reasoning, and connections.  Geometry topics covered include lines, angles, polygons, circles, geometric constructions, perimeter, circumference, area and volume.  Text is Saxon Math Course 1, Harcourt Achieve, Inc., 2007.

Course 2

Course 2 continues the study of Course 1 by building on the knowledge base with progressively more advanced problem types.  The depth coved in Course 2 can more specifically be described as:  Numbers and Operations – numeration, basic operations, properties of numbers and operation, estimation; Algebra – ration and proportional reasoning, patterns, relations and functions, variables, expressions, equations and inequalities; Geometry – basic terms, properties and relationships of lines, properties and relationships of angles, properties and relationships of polygons, use Pythagorean theorem to solve problems, 3-dimensional figures, coordinate geometry; Measurement – measuring physical attributes, systems of measurement, solving measurement problems, solving problems of similarity, use appropriate measurement instruments; Data Analysis and Probability – data collection and representation, data set characteristics, and probability.  Study will continue in problem-solving strategies, communication, mathematical reasoning, and connections. Text is Saxon Math Course 2, Harcourt Achieve, Inc., 2007.

Course 3

Course 3 continues the study of Course 2 by building on the knowledge base with progressively more advanced problem types.  Some specific skills covered include: converting between fractions, terminating or repeating decimals and percents; simplifying complex fractions involving two terms in the numerator/denominator; comparing and contrasting proportional and non-proportional linear relationships (direct and inverse variation); comparing and contrasting linear and nonlinear functions; formulating an inequality with one unknown variable given a problem situation; solving equations with exponents; solving systems of equations with two unknowns by graphing;  graphing pairs of inequalities on a number line;  using the Pythagorean theorem to solve problems involving radicals;  using trigonometric ratios;  graphing rotations and dilations; finding the surface area of cones and pyramids;  solving problems involving scale drawings: three-dimensional;  making and interpreting scatter-plots.  Course 3 is a prerequisite for Algebra 1 and would traditionally be referred to as Pre-Algebra. Text is Saxon Math Course 3, Harcourt Achieve, Inc., 2007.

Algebra 1

Algebra 1 covers all topics in a first-year algebra course, from proofs, statistics and probability to algebra-based real-world problems.  With Algebra 1, students begin developing a more complex and understanding required for advanced mathematics.