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).
U.S. History Survey
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.
Our Middle School STEAM elective incorporates all of the disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) and applies them to the following five areas:
1. Robotics & Programming
2. Engineering & Making
3. Digital Expression
4. Design & Innovation
5. Cutting Edge
In the Robotics & Programming section of the course, students use both block and script programming to design and code robots for competitions.
In Engineering & Making, students use modeling software and fabrication tools such as 3D printers and other CNC machines to create prototypes.
Digital Expression allows students to use digital tools such as graphic editing, animation and videography to express their ideas.
In the Design & Innovation portion of the class, students work through design cycles—from empathy and ideation to prototyping and testing—to address an identified problem or opportunity.
Then, in Cutting Edge, students explore advancements in STEAM practices and careers.
Cutting across all of these sections, students in the STEAM track also pursue a Curiosity Project(s), an independently driven part of the course in which students explore an area of personal interest. Examples of past projects range from building a model Tesla valve to designing safer football helmets.
STUDIO ART 7
In Studio Art, a year-long course, seventh- and eighth-grade students use observation and photo references to create two- and three-dimensional compositions from a variety of mediums. Students learn about art history, various forms of critique, and traditional and modern art-making techniques. Through this more advanced and in-depth arts curriculum, students begin to explore their own artistic styles through experimentation. Students leave the course with a wide range of skills in creating and discussing art.
Seventh-grade art meets for one quarter during the Discovery rotation. Art foundations learned in sixth grade are expanded upon with a focus on composition and self-reflection. Students work with new media to explore new techniques and begin to think critically about how to grow as artists and problem solvers.
All Middle School students take Technology Studio as a Discovery class. The course uses technology as a lens for developing STEAM competencies—skills and mindsets that require cross-disciplinary, open-ended, issue-based and student-directed learning. Students learn about sensors and circuits, programming, digital expression platforms, 3D modeling, machine learning, and augmented and virtual reality. In addition, they practice research, ideation, prototyping, collaboration and presentation skills.
Each year students build on learning from the previous year but follow similar questions such as: How does technology work?; How can I use technology effectively to create and communicate new ideas, work with others, and build knowledge?; How can I become a digital citizen and critically examine technology? How can I understand issues of intention, equity, bias and impact in the design, use and access of technology?; How can I move from being a user to becoming a designer of new technology?; How can I anticipate how technology will change in the future and how technology will change the future?
Most importantly, Tech Studio examines how technology can advance the mission of Pace Academy and asks: How can we use technology to become prepared, confident citizens of the world?
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.