The mathematics curriculum at Maktab is inspired by the works of Berkeley Professor H. Wu, and Russian mathematicians Kiselev and Gelfand. The curriculum is standard for middle school but the treatment is unusual. In grade 6 students learn pre-algebra largely following Wu’s work. “While bearing superficial resemblances to what you normally find in textbooks”, it is “very different in terms of precision, sequencing, and reasoning.” In grades 7 and 8 we start studying Kiselev’s “Planimetry”.
The books is a masterpiece of Russian mathematical writing and “provides a concise yet crystal-clear presentation of elementary plane geometry in all its aspects which usually appear in modern high-school geometry programs. The reader’s mathematical maturity is gently advanced by commentaries on the nature of mathematical reasoning distributed wisely throughout the book”. In the second semester of Grade 8, we start studying algebra. Again the treatment is unusual since we follow the texts written by Wu and Gelfand.
Throughout middle school we emphasize that science is not simply a series of memorized facts and formulae but a way of looking at the universe, a mode of asking and answering relevant questions; and the way to answer those questions is by experimentation.
Our science curriculum touches on the three major sciences. In grades 6 we introduce chemistry and biology to our students. They learn to use microscopes to study cell biology and learn about the basics of atomic theory.
Starting in grade 7, we start with a serious study of chemistry.The class goal is to connect chemical theory to everyday life experiences and applications. Students explore properties of matter, atomic theory, chemical and physical transformations in detail Towards the end of the year, students begin to explore physics by considering forces and motion.
Biology, in all of its complexity and detail, is presented in the eighth grade. Students are introduced to how different biological systems work together to create a functional whole. Many genetics, health, and pathology topics are investigated over the course of the year.
The computer science curriculum continues on with the graphical programming environments that the children have become familiar with in the Lower School.
In grade 6, students learn to type and to learn to independently design, programme, debug and improve their computer games and animations. They also learn to effectively use variables and simple data structures in their games.
Starting in grade 7, students start to tackle serious issues in computer science. The programming curriculum developed at UC Berkeley for middle and high school students is used. Sophisticated ideas like abstractions, higher order functions, functional programming, and recursion are introduced. Apart from programming, class readings, and writings and discussions on serious issues like censorship, the importance and impact of modern technology on humans are carried out. Students also learn to collaboratively work on large projects and coherently present their results to the class.
At Maktab, social studies is broadly interpreted to mean the study of the interconnectedness of the world––how its peoples, institutions, and societies behave and interact with one another. As such, social studies forms the backbone of the Maktab curriculum. Children are exposed to a diverse set of materials ranging from primary sources in early Islam to oral histories of the Tarbela Dam affectees to documentaries on Ibn Batuta to current newspaper articles on the houbara bustard and the Orange Line project. Students are encouraged to use critical thinking and a variety of primary sources to come to their own substantiated conclusions. Children are made aware of biases inherent in all historical sources.