7th Grade Curriculum

English

A course that emphasizes careful analysis of literature and intense grammar and vocabulary work. Various types of literature such as short stories, novels, poetry and mythology are explored in a discussion format.

Life Science

This course focuses on the study of individual organisms and the cellular dimensions of living systems. The course includes an introduction to basic organ systems and reproduction. Students are also introduced to the scientific method and experimental design and control.

Pre-Algebra/Pre-Algebra Honors

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).

U.S. History Survey

A survey of U.S. history from exploration to the present that exposes students to the origins, growth and development of this country. Heavy emphasis is placed on basic history skills: note-taking, map skills, reading primary and secondary sources, and research and writing.

World Languages

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.

Electives

Seventh graders choose one of the following yearlong courses, which meet seven times during each eight-day rotation (as often as their core academic courses): band, chorus, strings, STEAM or studio art.

Band

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.

Chorus

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.

Strings

The strings course in grades six, seven and eight encourages and develops lifelong skills such as discipline, teamwork and accountability in a fun environment. The Middle School strings ensemble performs on campus throughout the school year and travels in the spring.

STEAM

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.

STUDIO ART 7

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.

Discovery Classes

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. These nine-week, single-gender courses allow our seventh graders to rotate through art, digital studio, drama II and study strategies.

Art

A quarter of drawing, painting and sculpture that explores both traditional and contemporary design concepts

Digital Studio

Introduction to Flash animation, Photoshop, Podcasts, iMovie and communication etiquette

Drama II

Exploration of the world of theatre arts, focusing on production, set design, and real-life applications and situations

Study Strategies

Exploration of the world of theatre arts, focusing on production, set design, and real-life applications and situations

Physical Education

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

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.

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