Just as children explore concentrically larger circles of community in social studies, the science curriculum teaches them to understand and appreciate the physical world around them. Students take part in engaging, hands-on investigation focused on the following four areas.
Lower school artists use paint, clay, collage, sculptural and digital media to explore artistic expression in a structured and supportive environment. One of the main goals of the art program is to familiarize students with an art studio setting and teach them to navigate safely and confidently through this space. In addition they learn about artists, art movements and how to move from concept to creation. Students learn the vernacular of art and build a vocabulary that grows with them as they progress from grades K-5.
Each grade focuses on a specific theme as follows:
Physical education helps children develop physical as well as social-emotional skills to become healthier young people through different sports and games. Sportsmanship, work ethic, communication, and inclusion are daily lessons woven into each activity. Classes use a number of facilities including our gym carpet soccer field, and exercise room. The end goal is building confidence, self-worth, and problem solving through a physically active lifestyle that will enable children to enjoy traditional sports as well those that define our mountain lifestyle.
In addition, taking full advantage of our unique cross-age learning environment, lower school students may elect to participate in seasonal development clinics in soccer, volleyball, and available disciplines. The clinics are led by athletes who teach fundamental skills and introduce the basic rules of each game.
“The most exciting phrase to hear in science is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny…'"―Isaac Asimov
In 6th grade science, students explore the Earth's structure and its effect on organisms through group and individual inquiry, research projects, and modeling. They look at landscapes, geology, weather phenomena, energy resources, and space utilizing the context of local places, experts in the field, and 21st century skills. Students in 6th grade are introduced to the processes of analyzing scientific papers and formal scientific writing.
7th grade science focuses on Life Sciences and introduces the concept of scientific inquiry. Students explore different ecosystems including how plants and animals have adapted to high mountain living. Following this, students look at how organisms use natural selection to evolve into what we see today. Science Fair provides an opportunity for each student to find their inner scientist, and projects are judged by local graduate scientist’s students from different organizations and Universities including IUPUI, Marion and Bloomington Research Institute. 7th grade closes out the year with the study body systems through hands-on labs, dissections and guest speakers.
8th grade science covers chemical and physical changes, properties of light and matter, and atomic structure. A Snow Science and Safety unit connects students to the science behind their recreation, travel, and personal interests. Students reinforce their observation and analytic skills through in-class and outdoor labs, and continue to write formal lab reports. Their skills are put on display at the Annual Science Fair judged by local scientists from partner organizations.
“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ―Neil Gaiman
“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it’s done. It's that easy, and that hard.”―Neil Gaiman
“Study history, study history. In history lies all the secrets of statecraft.” ―Winston Churchill
Note: In 6th grade, Literature and History are taught together. In the 7th and 8th grades, Literature and History are taught separately.
In 6th grade Humanities (a combination of Literature and History), students explore the history and development of ancient civilizations and the contributions they have made to modern western society. Our journey begins in Mesopotamia, travels through time to ancient Egypt, continues to Greece, and concludes in Rome. We focus on universal themes shared by these cultures, including social rules, politics and characteristics of a civilization. In addition, we examine the everyday life of people living in these early societies. In Literature, we read short stories, novels, and non-fiction articles that tie directly to the History we are learning. We also study the process of becoming a good writer and practice writing for a variety of audiences. Along the way, we study vocabulary, spelling, and grammar to aid in our pursuit of becoming better readers and writers.
In 7th grade Literature, students explore texts concerning marginalized groups in U.S. history, including Native Americans, African Americans, and women. Throughout this course, the class is challenged to analyze and compare various forms of literature including The Diary of Anne Frank, Touching Spirit Bear, the Outsiders, and Monster. Student writers focus on grammatical skills and applying them to a variety of genres of writing. Class discussions are a frequent occurrence.
In 7th grade History, students explore history through the eyes of marginalized groups. We focus on Native Americans, African Americans, and women, which takes us from the colonial period to the present day. Throughout this course, students hone their independent research skills and make connections with geography, and current events and literature. Toward the end of the year, we use the lens of history to investigate the state of human rights in the world today. During this class, students focus on the following skills: composing expository, persuasive, and creative pieces, as well as building websites and creating videos.
In 8th grade Literature, students explore texts concerning identity and one’s place in society. Throughout this course, the class is challenged to analyze and compare various forms of literature including The Book Thief, Of Mice and Men, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, To Kill A Mockingbird, Inherit The Wind and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Student writers focus on grammatical skills and applying them to a variety of different genres of writing. Class discussions are a frequent occurrence.
8th grade History focuses on American government, history, politics, and current events, which culminates in a trip to Washington, DC. The core skills students learn in this class are research-driven formal writing, documentary film making, note taking, debate, and oral presentation. Major projects include: producing a documentary on current events, creating websites on local and DC public history, and writing formal research papers.
“If I were again beginning my studies, I would follow the advice of Plato and start with mathematics."―Galileo
6th grade math combines the practice of foundational math skills with an exploration of basic Pre-Algebraic and Geometric concepts. Topics include: whole number operations, decimal, and fraction computation; variables and variable expressions; data displays; probability; integers; congruence; similarity; and geometric figures.
In 7th grade, students begin Pre-Algebra by reviewing negative numbers and variables. The focus of the course then shifts to solving equations, beginning with simple one-step equations and building to more complex, multi-step equations. Additional topics include fractions, rates, ratios, proportions, and percentages, with an emphasis on the inclusion of variables. To prepare students for Algebra, we cover linear equations and basic graphing techniques.
In 8th grade, Algebra I builds on the work accomplished in Pre-Algebra. Students explore increasingly complex linear functions and equation manipulation. Students also explore exponential and quadratic equations, Foiling and factoring, properties of exponents, some basics in trigonometry.
“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls." ―Picasso
the goal of the middle school visual arts program is to continue exploring materials while beginning to focus on making art with intention. Students use a self-evaluation process and final critique method to enhance their ability to speak publicly and confidently about the work they are developing. Students’ time is split between taking digital art courses and continuing to learn traditional methods of art making.
The digital art course is designed to complement the hands-on studio experience, facilitating the integration of new media and artistic self-expression. Using a variety of software, students learn the basic tools and techniques for creating and manipulating images and transforming ideas into artwork, along with overall concepts of scanning and digitizing images. Painting and drawing software are utilized and classes stress individual growth. Throughout these classes the computer acts as a tool to create multiple forms of art.
The 3D and 2D classes’ primary goal is the development of an awareness and appreciation of the arts. Students are introduced to the materials, techniques, concepts, and processes essential to understanding the visual arts and the role of the artist, through a series of projects, class critiques, videos, slide presentations, and various kinds of method studies.
“It is a happy talent to know how to play.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
The middle school physical education program gives our students a physical outlet during the school day and teaches them foundational skills for participation in competitive and recreational athletics including soccer. Classes are held in and out the school gym. The goal of the middle school PE program is to create an inclusive atmosphere where students can participate in new sports and build the confidence at a competitive level.