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Middle School Course Descriptions
- MS ELA Course Descriptions
- MS Math Course Descriptions
- MS Science Course Descriptions
- MS Encore Courses
ELA Course Descriptions
Grade 6 ELA
In sixth grade all students engage in meaningful collaborations with peers, read and savor new and exciting literature, and deepen their knowledge of academic English. Sixth grade teachers provide instruction that enables all students to comprehend text, and students read closely to gain understanding and construct meaning from texts. Students learn to monitor their own understanding as they read and use strategies to clarify any confusions that arise. In addition, students determine a central idea of a text, analyze how a key individual or event is introduced, and determine an author’s point of view. A multi-faceted approach is taken to develop vocabulary. In writing, students move from writing opinion pieces to writing arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence. Students analyze text and cite evidence to support their understanding of key ideas and supporting details. In addition students use credible sources in writing arguments and organize their claims and evidence clearly. In grade six students are expected to write summaries that are distinct from personal opinions, judgments, and prior knowledge. For the first time, student writing includes a thesis statement. Students also continue to write narrative texts, containing relevant descriptive details and well-structured event sequences. They also conduct short research projects to answer a question. Students are expected to use multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility of each source, and quote data and conclusions while avoiding plagiarism. Collaborative discussions remain an important element of instruction in grade six. Students now refer to evidence on the topic, text, or issue during discussion. They also demonstrate understanding of multiple perspectives through reflection and paraphrasing during discussions as well. Students in grade six increase their command of conventions of Standard English grammar and usage capitalization, punctuation, and spelling.
Grade 6 PA ELA
In sixth grade Project Arrow, students continue to strengthen the development of readingand writing skills not just in language arts, but across the content areas. Specifically they examine the patterns and elements of a story authors use in text to enhance comprehension and engage readers. Students will analyze text for the interactions of literary elements and point-of-views of characters. Students also analyze word choice, opinions, and claims in fiction and nonfiction text. Students will identify techniques an author uses to create characters and cite evidence to support interpretation. They will determine the theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development. Students will compare and contrast a fictional portrayal of setting with a real historical setting. Students will use purpose, structure, the elements of plot, and figurative language in narrative writing and use tone and pacing in storytelling. They will convey timelines in narrative writing while describing a setting effectively. Students will research articles and create summaries to build arguments using claims. Students will create informative writing using an effective introduction and conclusion, clear and relevant facts, and transitions. Students will incorporate knowledge of specific conventions, parts of speech, punctuation, and grammar in writing to contribute to overall understanding and create style. They will engage in discussions that state and support their claims in literature and other areas. They will engage in collaborative small and large group discussions. Students will use multimedia topresent and demonstrate command of formal English. Students will use strategies and their knowledge of affixes and roots to understand the meaning of words and phrases.
Grade 7 ELA
In seventh grade students continue to engage with ideas, concepts, and knowledge in literature and informational text in what they read in school and independently. Using evidence from texts, students in grade seven read carefully in order to grasp information, ideas, and details to create their own understanding and arguments in writing and discussions. Students work to answer text-dependent questions using evidence they discover and information they infer from paying close attention to the meaning of a text. Using informational texts, students cite not just one (as in grade six) but several pieces of textual evidence to determine more than one main idea in a text and write an objective summary. Students compare and contrast a text to another reading, media item, piece of information, from one author to another, as well as trace the development of an argument in a selection of informational text. A multi-faceted approach advances students vocabulary knowledge in the increasingly complex text that they read. Students continue to write three different text types for particular purposes and to conduct research. They write arguments in which they acknowledge and address alternate or opposing claims; they support claims or counterarguments. They continue to write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events. In addition, seventh graders conduct research and produce written products with increasing independence and attention to audience, purpose, and citation of sources. Students are expected to demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking, and they are expected to demonstrate command of Standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
Grade 7 PA ELA
In seventh grade Project Arrow, students continue to strengthen the development of reading and writing skills not just in language arts, but across the content areas. Specifically they examine fiction and nonfiction text in order to learn how authors structure text differently and what connections text make. Students study text to determine the big picture, to determine the meanings of words and phrases, and to analyze extent in film or live productions compared to written text. Students will examine dialogue, specific incidents, and differences in points of views while responding to text. Students will delineate and evaluate arguments and claims from text and speech to assess reasoning. Students will consider the point of view of authors, characters, and themselves while encountering an interpreting text. They also will work to choose the best medium by evaluation of various factors. Students will write an informative or explanatory text to examine a topic and share their experiences through narrative writing. Students will build an argument using logic, reason, and text support. They will also work to express their own ideas and build on the ideas of others. Students will use technology to produce and publish writing Students will use research and analysis of perspective to write from another point of view. They will practice and use active listening, clear speaking, and mutual respect. Students will use strategies and their knowledge of affixes and roots to understand the meaning of words and phrases. Students will incorporate knowledge of specific conventions, parts of speech, punctuation, and grammar in writing to contribute to overall understanding and to create style.
Grade 8 ELA
In eighth grade, students continue to strengthen the development of reading and writing skills not just in language arts, but across the content areas. Specifically they analyze the relationship of a theme to characters, setting, and plot and analyze how a text makes connections among and distinctions between individuals, ideas, or events. They delineate and evaluate arguments and claims in a text and distinguish the claims they make in their own writing from alternate or opposing claims as they read closely to understand what a text says explicitly and to draw inferences from a text. Developing summaries, students sort through the ideas of a text to identify those that are central. Eighth grade students continue to write three different text types for particular purposes and to conduct research. They write arguments and support claims but now distinguish them from alternate or opposing claims. They continue to write informative/explanatory texts, including career development documents. They also write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events. In addition, eighth graders are expected to conduct research and produce written products with increasing independence and attention to audience, purpose, and citation of sources. Specifically, they are expected to use technology and the Internet to present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently. Students in grade eight are expected to understand and use sentence patterns and verbs in active and passive voice and the conditional and subjunctive mood. They also engage in collaborative discussions with partners and in small group and in teacher-led discussions with the entire class.
Grade 8 PA ELA
In eighth grade Project Arrow, students continue to strengthen the development of reading and writing skills not just in language arts, but across the content areas. Specifically they examine text as the creative expressions of an artist learning that fiction and non-fiction authors use different techniques to craft their works. Students will learn the names and purposes of literary techniques used in both types of communication. In addition, they will create both types of text with deliberate attention to using irony, suspense, diction, and structure. Eighth grade project arrow students will also critically examine fiction and non-fiction texts for evidence of bias or perspective with a focus on diction. Students will craft pieces of text from multiple perspectives. Eighth grade project arrow students will examine fable, allegory, and satire as tools of persuasion along with traditional rhetorical patterns found in many political speeches. Students will write and deliver a classic rhetorical speech. Students will participate in historical conflicts via literature in order to evaluate the effectiveness of selected writings. They will research a modern day controversy and report on the conflicts resulting from the issue. Students will learn that sentences can and should be deliberately varied using various types of phrases and clauses and 4 different sentence structures to convey specific meanings and to add variety and interest to writing or presentations. They will learn that using appropriate verb agreement, appropriate pronoun agreement, and the conventions of capitalization and punctuation results in clear writing and the accurate conveying of meaning in written communication. Students will learn the meaning of Latin bases and how to use strategies to find the meaning of words using Latin base knowledge and the context clues within the sentence to enhance vocabulary development.
Math Course Descriptions
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Grade 6 Math
In 6thgrade mathematics,students will explore ratios and proportional relationships, the number system, expressions, equations, geometry, statistics and probability.Instructional time focuses on four critical areas: (1) connecting ratio, rate, and percentage to whole-number multiplication and division to solve problems; (2) division of fractions and system of rational numbers; (3) writing, interpreting, and using expressions and equations; and (4) developing understanding of statistical thinking.Some examples include: (a) students exploring how to write mathematical expressions as models; (b) students explaining the use of positive and negative numbers as they relate to real-world experiences; (c) students constructing mathematical models used to make comparisons; (d) students explaining how rearranging shapes can assist them when calculating the area of more complex shapes; and (e) students demonstrating different ways to present and manipulate data.
Grade 7 Math
In 7thgrade mathematics, students work toward fluently solving equations and instructional time focuses on the critical areas of: (1) developing understanding of and applying proportional relationships; (2) developing understanding of operations with rational numbers and working with expressions and linear equations; (3) solving problems that involve scale drawings, two- and three-dimensional shapes, area, surface area and volume; and (4) drawing inferences about populations based on samples. Some examples include: (a)students using real-world rates and evaluating proportional relationships; (b) students adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing rational numbers; (c) distinguishing what type of representation is most appropriate when expressing rational numbers; (d) drawing 2D and 3D figures and finding their surface area and volume; and measuring and predicting future events using probability.
Grade 8 Math
Algebra 1 is a one-year course. Students are introduced to concepts covering modeling with mathematics, linear functions, solving equations and inequalities, solving systems of equations, graphing quadratics, operations with polynomials, basic statistics, and quadratic functions. Note-taking and study skills are stressed and formalized. A graphing calculator is required.
Middle School Science Course Descriptions
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Sixth grade Science begins with the teaching of laboratory safety and precautions for students who may be new to lab experiments. Throughout sixth grade, all units are project based with students engaging in several scientific practices including asking questions, designing and carrying out investigations, analyzing data, developing models and constructing models of phenomena. In the first unit, students learn about light. The scientific principles that explain the behavior of light are the same principles that govern much of the behavior of cellular phones, computers, MRI scanners, microwave ovens, nuclear power plants, televisions, satellite communication, GPS, and many other systems. In fact, nearly all of the major scientific discoveries and major technological advances made in the last 100 years are based, directly or indirectly, on principles underlying the behavior of light. It is impossible to make sense scientifically of the world in which we live without understanding how light propagates and how it interacts with matter. The second unit is an introduction to chemistry that focuses on one of the core ideas in physical science—the particle nature of matter. Students experience, model, and explain a variety of laboratory and everyday phenomena related to core ideas about matter and its interactions and, more specifically, the structure and properties of matter. The third unit builds on core science concepts such as the particle nature of matter, and substances and their properties. The fourth unit explores energy transfer (from one object to another, or one place to another within an object); energy transformation (from one type of energy to another); and what it means for energy to be conserved, as students investigate common phenomena.
Seventh grade Science begins the year with a review of lab safety and precautions. The first unit focuses on how the body systems work together and how matter and energy flow through the body. The second unit deepens understanding of the molecular aspects of how food provides organisms with energy. The third unit is an ecosystem unit that focuses on organisms' need for survival and what happens when those needs are not met. The fourth unit is organized around three clusters of ideas: heredity, variation within and between species, and natural selection. The organizing theme is differences between organisms and how differences happen. All units are project based with students engaging in several scientific practices including asking questions, designing and carrying out investigations, analyzing data, developing models and construction models of phenomena.
Grade 8 Science begins with a review of lab safety and precautions. The first unit is a physical science unit that contextualizes concepts with forces and motions in students’ real world experiences. The second unit focuses on plate tectonics and builds on key conceptual understandings including the conservation of matter, convection, and energy transfer. The third unit explores water in the world by leading students to understand how the land is shaped differently, how water moves between reservoirs, how moving water affects land, and the role of rock in creating shapes. The fourth unit is an earth science unit that focuses on what causes variation in local weather events and global climate patterns by developing a model of flow of matter and energy through the atmosphere. All units are project based with students engaging in several scientific practices including asking questions, designing and carrying out investigations, analyzing data, developing models and constructing models of phenomena.