Balance is the name of the game in the Pace Middle School—and our curriculum reflects that philosophy. We instill in our students a strong academic foundation while exposing them to opportunities that spark new interests, build life skills and encourage fun.
Guided by our expert faculty, all Middle School students engage in these core subjects:
Critical reading, creative thinking and effective writing are the goals of our Middle School English program. At all levels, students dive into age-appropriate poetry and prose that parallel and strengthen units in history and art. Discussing themes and conflicts in literature enhances thinking skills, while contributing to students’ sense of self and fostering empathy. This greater awareness is the basis for weekly writing assignments designed to improve communication skills. Of course, study of vocabulary and grammar is integrated into the curriculum every step of the way.
Our Middle School math teachers use an explanation/examples/exploration approach to equip students in the fundamentals while inspiring them to seek innovative solutions. From fractions, decimals and percents, to the four basic operations of algebraic functions, students master concepts that prepare them to enter Upper School math courses. The math curriculum offers regular and honors-level courses at each grade level.
To become global citizens, students must first understand the world around them. This process begins in sixth grade as students explore ancient and medieval history in a course that culminates in a festive medieval banquet—we are Pace Knights, after all. Seventh graders use primary sources to gain a broad understanding of U.S. history, while eighth-grade students use current events to discover the conflicts and triumphs of the Renaissance through the 20th century. Courses place great importance on the practices of historical thinking, the study of primary sources, analysis of current events, research and essay writing.
In keeping with Middle School students’ natural yearning for discovery, our science curriculum spans diverse topics. Our sixth-grade science course, Systems & Interactions, offers students a broad survey of the sciences while emphasizing lab and study skills. Life science follows in seventh grade and teaches students how to look at the natural world, moving from cells to organs and body systems. In eighth-grade, students explore weather and climate, the earth's waters and interior, geology, erosion, weathering and deposition.
Students choose French, Latin or Spanish during their time in the Middle School. These world-language courses emphasize reading, writing, speaking and listening, as well as the study of history and culture.
In the spirit of exploration, we incorporate a multitude of choices into the Middle School schedule. Students choose band, chorus or strings—all yearlong courses—or STEAM, an umbrella for design exploration, for one semester and programming/robotics for one semester. Seventh and eighth-grade elective offerings expand to include yearlong studio art and debate for one semester, which is offered in addition to and not instead of an arts elective or STEAM.
Our Discovery program provides every student the opportunity to excel in co-curricular activities that enrich their core academic skills. Discovery courses equip students with the tools they need to take creative risks, ask questions, think critically and communicate effectively. Our custom-crafted curricula inspire young minds to push beyond their comfort zones as they become global citizens. Based on grade level, students rotate quarterly through classes such as art, digital studio, drama, study strategies, computer, engaged citizenship and Holocaust & Civil Rights studies.
Through the STEAM elective, students engage in several design projects, moving from idea conception through iteration to user engagement. The course emphasizes curiosity, collaboration, imagination, resilience and the ability to use design as a way of understanding complex issues in our world today. In robotics, students learn programming and design using LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robots. Computer programming teaches students the basics of programming skills, helping them further develop their problem-solving and collaboration abilities.