Middle School Academics
Middle school introduces students to an exciting world of new ideas and knowledge. During Main Lesson, an intensive two-hour seminar that begins each day, students delve into the study of a single subject area over a three to four week block. This focused exploration draws students actively into learning through discussion, experimentation, writing and research. Our students learn deeply as they probe connections between humanities and sciences, math and art, world geography and literature. Beginning in grade 6, middle school faculty rotate among classes to teach their subjects of expertise and provide students with a rich exposure to different perspectives.
A dynamic language arts curriculum allows middle school students to appreciate and experiment with the vast possibilities of language. Students encounter new worlds through reading, while strengthening their reading comprehension and fluency, vocabulary and grammar. They learn to express their ideas across a variety of written genres: business letters, narrative essays, oral presentations and reports. Sixth graders tackle the writing process through steps of note taking, drafting, proofreading and revision. Seventh and eighth graders undertake research assignments requiring them to analyze and incorporate multimedia sources. In the spring, each class puts on a remarkable play performances for the school and public to bring their language arts learning to life.
Middle school students reinforce their foundational skills and explore new applications of math. Sixth graders apply their knowledge of division, fractions and decimals to the study of business math, including ratio, proportion, and percentage. They begin drawing precise geometric forms as a way of discovering the geometric laws that define them. Students in grades seven and eight embark on a more formal, multi-year study of algebra and geometry. They master geometric proofs, and work with algebraic equations and applications that prepare them for the advanced math they will undertake in high school.
Our students learn scientific thinking not by memorizing facts, but through their own observations, predictions and experiments. Sixth graders embark on the study of physics—learning about force, acoustics, optics, electricity and aerodynamics. The study of meteorology, astronomy and geology also provide new perspectives on the earth and revolutionary changes in our understanding of it over time. Seventh and eighth graders explore the human body with a focus on health. The study of chemistry provides opportunity to learn through direct experience by observing, analyzing and communicating their scientific findings. In the spring, each student presents an independent research project to the public at a Middle School Science Fair.
Through the humanities and social studies, students are introduced to the diversity of human experience. Students expand their knowledge of the world through the study of South American, African and Asian geography. The study of geographic features on each continent leads into an in-depth exploration of economics, industry, language, religion and art. Independent research and visiting speakers bring students into contact with diverse cultural perspectives.
Middle school students also examine historical currents that have shaped our world. Sixth graders study the Middle Ages, including early Islamic history and the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. Seventh graders explore the inventions and art of the Renaissance and the Age of Exploration. In eighth grade, students learn about major political and cultural revolutions that shaped the modern world—from the Industrial Revolution to the American Revolution.