Middle School Curriculum
The Language Arts program is a synthesis of reading, writing, listening, and speaking that provides our students with exposure to a variety of literary styles. In studying both classical and contemporary authors, students discuss the timeless aspects of character, language, plot, and theme. Students’ comprehension develops as they develop their ability to make literary connections with their world on a global level. Students are encouraged to think and respond critically, creatively, and analytically within their writing. Students explore a variety of writing styles and are encouraged to develop these styles as well as on their own. Through peer editing, teacher feedback, and personal assessment, students review the idea, organization, content, and mechanics of their written work. Grammar is integrated into the program. The literature read often reflects social studies topics and themes giving the opportunity to develop many cross-curricular links. The written work often reflects the genre of the literature being studied.
The Mathematics curriculum in the Upper School helps students develop the ability to solve problems and reason logically. Our core texts, published by Holt McDougal, are designed to expand student knowledge of numbers, computation, estimation, measurement, geometry, statistics, probability, patterns, functions, problem solving and algebraic concepts. Real world problems, hands-on exercises, and technology are at the core of this curriculum. Classroom activities provide students with opportunities to work individually and in groups. The program is supplemented with math challenges, skills reinforcement, Math-a-thon, brainteasers, The Stock Market Game, MathCounts and Math League competitions, games, and SmartBoard activities.
The Science program is divided into three main content domains, Earth-Space, Life, and Physical Science. Our program integrates the basic science process skills together to gradually develop a student’s abilities as they progress through grades five through eight for each content area of science covered. The Science program emphasizes the use of Scientific Inquiry as a foundation through which students develop knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, as well as an understanding of how scientists study the natural world. Students in fifth and sixth grade receive introductory science courses which investigate: Solar System, Color and Light, Magnetism, Simple Machines, Flight and Rocketry, Weather Instruments and Weather Forecasting, Oceans, Classification, Fungi, Pond Life, Pollution and Erosion, and Body Organization and Structure. Investigations at this level are based upon detecting the similarities and differences among the things they collect and observe. Students at this level are encouraged to observe more carefully, measure things with increasing accuracy, record data in journals and communicate results through written Scientific Method reports. Students in seventh and eighth grade receive advanced courses which investigate: Chemistry, Electricity, Physics, Famous Scientists, Astronomy, Earth Processes, Sources of Energy, Nanotechnology, Environmental Problems and Solutions, Anatomy and Physiology, Reproductive Genetics, Botany, and Classification. At this level, students are more systematic in conducting their investigations; explicitly discussing how explanation relates to the experimental design and support their learning of scientific concepts through selected readings. The application of metrics is emphasized in all their work and students maintain science notebooks to learn science content and to communicate effectively.
The Social Studies program for the Upper School combines a chronological sequence of World and United States history with a strong emphasis on regional and world geography. We use the Holt textbooks, Intro to Geography, World History: Human Legacy and American Anthem. Students are challenged to discover the cause and effect relationships of history and physical or human geography, as well as, analyze and synthesize information garnered through their readings and activities. Current events are connected to the study of history and geography through once a week "Newsreel" classes in which the students generate video presentations of current or historical events, along with a weekly newsletter. The curriculum encourages students to be interactive through class simulations. Technology is further used to enhance the curriculum through Interactive White Board presentations and virtual field trips. Responsible research techniques using the internet are also taught. Assessment of understanding is conducted with multiple choice testing, short and long answer essays, research papers, note taking, class participation, and projects. Social Studies curriculum integrates with Language Arts, Science, and Fine Arts.