Infographic | Looking Into Middle School Math Minds

If you’ve ever taught middle school or been around a middle school student, you’re probably aware that students’ cognitive abilities are still developing.

Middle school minds are creative, social and emotional, but most importantly they’re in a very critical time in their learning careers. Adaptive experts at DreamBox Learning, Getting Smart Advocacy Partner, have released a new infographic to help provide answers to key questions like who middle school students are, how they learn and what strategies to use to make sure students are engaged in learning.

The infographic shares four key teaching strategies for educators and school leaders to consider as they create student-centered learning environments. Middle school students want to be:

  • Engaged: Try gamification models to award imagination and to grow persistence.
  • Connected: Create blended learning environments and community conversations to help students problem solve together.
  • Motivated: Challenge students with difficult problems that are personalized, purposeful, and thoughtful.
  • Independent: Using adaptive technologies, help students build ownership of their learning by setting goals and tracking progress.

For more, check out DreamBox’s complementary white paper “Nurturing the Middle School Mathematical Mind: Strategies for Teaching Middle School Math.”

Nurturing the Middle School Mathematical Mind Infographic


For more on middle grade math, check out:

Jessica Slusser

Jessica is the Senior Director of Impact at Getting Smart. She leads business development and growth of advocacy campaigns, advisory services, product development, marketing, and Getting Smart's blog. As part of her role, Jessica also oversees team events, conferences, and speaking engagements.

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1 Comment

April Torrington

Hallelujah!!! Someone has FINALLY woken up to what Middle School Students are all about!
I taught all levels of math in middle schools for over 25 years, from basic classes to very advanced students who were capable of understanding the Integrated Math courses taught in high school. And if there is one concept that I learned fairly quickly it is that middle school students MUST be viewed in their entirety: mentally, emotionally, physically, and socially. In spite of any attitudes these students may have, they almost always want to be liked, respected, and admired - by not only their peers, but by the adults they encounter. Another aspect of this age that is often ignored by adults, especially their parents, is that they want to be treated as a person independent of their families. They think that they are capable of thinking, evaluating, and acting by using their own talents and brain.

I believe that it is the responsibility of middle schools teachers to help to facilitate and encourage these traits. If we as educators could accomplish this with our students, then, I believe, student learning would follow. I feel VERY deeply that what we as educators inspire in our students in regard to their self image, self confidence, and value, not only with their family and friends, but also in the world, could influence and change everything in the world!

I will conclude with 2 comments that I repeated very often to people who would tell me I must be crazy to want to teach middle school.
"Well, I must fit the description, because I love teaching them at this age." and "There were many days that I was often very tired while I was in the classroom, but I was NEVER BORED!"

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