7th Grade Curriculum
- Life Science
- Pre-Algebra/Pre-Algebra Honors
- U.S. History Survey
- World Languages
- Discovery Classes
- Physical Education
Pre-algebra introduces the study of mathematical expressions with variables, multivariable equations and inequalities, order of operations, exponents, decimals, fractions, math properties, integers, geometry, ratio, proportion, percents and graphing. Pre-algebra honors covers the course work of pre-algebra in greater depth and incorporates probability/statistics, polynomials and trigonometry. Some seventh graders will be placed in honors algebra I (course description available in the eighth-grade curriculum section).
Seventh graders continue their study of French, Latin or Spanish. Language level B is a continuation of the basic introduction to the target language taught in sixth grade, as well as culture, geography and history. New students joining in the seventh grade take a placement exam if continuing in a language that was studied previously.
The Middle School band puts on two major concerts per year and stages other smaller performances for the student body. A variety of styles, including jazz, classical, popular, and Broadway, are showcased. Students learn how to read music, assemble and produce a characteristic tone on their instrument, and develop finger technique, ensemble balance and dynamics. Band develops lifelong skills that increase brainpower and build discipline, and the course offers a team atmosphere in which students make beautiful music with their friends.
A yearlong course for students who seek to develop their vocal and musical skills. Students learn various types of literature, including but not limited to classical, pop, jazz and Broadway. The primary focus of each class is to learn to read music and then develop those skills in a more refined way. Students also learn to match pitch, develop healthy breathing techniques and improve tone quality. There are numerous opportunities for solos within the choral group, and students perform at concerts, assemblies and various school events throughout the year.
This yearlong elective selection is composed of a semester of design exploration and a quarter each of robotics and programming. In design exploration, the class approaches design as both a process—a mindset plus skills and techniques—and as a product—the production of things and ideas. Students engage in several design projects, moving from idea conception through iteration to user engagement. 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.
Seventh and eighth graders who want to pursue visual art in more depth may take a yearlong study of art. The focus in both courses is on the 2D and 3D studio experience, but art history and field trips to local exhibits are other important components of the curriculum. Studio Art 7 explores a wide variety of creative techniques for developing unity in a work of art. The separate elements of art are analyzed with a focus on how to enrich or simplify paintings and sculptures to develop successful compositions. Students develop a comprehensive understanding of classical ideals in art in contrast to the wide range of more individualized concerns expressed in modern art.
Daily physical education classes in single-gender groups are required for all Middle School students. The physical education department strives to improve students' physical skills while also developing thinking, creating and feeling capacities. Students are exposed to cardio exercises, flag football, gymnastics, lacrosse, swimming, weight training, wrestling and personal fitness. All Middle School students are pre- and post-tested on the five components of fitness using the President's Fitness Challenge Test.
Debate is an elective course for seventh and eighth graders. The course meets for one semester in the Discovery block. Students may take both an arts elective (band, chorus, strings, STEAM or art studio) and debate. The course focuses on policy debate, a fast-paced game of smarts and strategy in which wins and losses are based on how well students understand and explain their own claims and how thoroughly they analyze and defeat opponents’ arguments. Because the playing field for this type of debate uses facts and theories about current events, a significant portion of classroom time is spent exploring details about government, politics and international relations, in addition to the time spent developing students’ speaking and critical-thinking skills. This course is designed for students who are interested in the subject matter and who have demonstrated the ability to focus and work independently.