Curriculum (7th Grade)
The seventh grade curriculum continues the emphasis of hands-on activities and authentic problem-solving experiences introduced in sixth grade. With the Immersion Method driving as a foundation, students have increased opportunities to learn by doing. Some examples include lab-based science courses, improv comedy class, pop a cappella, modern languages and environmental greenhouse work through human ecology.
- Social Science
- World Language
- Visual Arts
- Music and Performing Arts
- Physical Education
Seventh-grade English introduces studies to the major concepts of literary analysis and lays a strong foundation for their future academic careers. With a focus on four major genres: long fiction, short fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction/memoir, students are exposed to a variety of writing styles. Short stories, poems, and nonfiction pieces are integrated throughout the year when developing writing, grammar and vocabulary skills.
From studying world geography in sixth grade, students focus on ancient cultures in seventh grade, examining the economic and cultural patterns of people who lived in the past, from our earliest ancestors to the Romans. With an emphasis on ancient Greece and Egypt, students gain a strong understanding of past cultural traditions, rituals, civilizations and myths. Regular discussions of current events have a place in this course, along with extensive research projects.
At MVS, we find as many opportunities as possible to differentiate instruction; one of these is through various math courses. In seventh grade, students are placed into pre-algebra, algebra I, linear algebra or quadratic algebra.
In pre-algebra, students are introduced to the language and reasoning of algebra while reinforcing the rational number operations—particularly with decimals and fractions, order of operations, ratios and proportions, percents, number properties, exponents, geometric figures, areas, and volumes. They begin the study of algebra with the following topics:operations with positive and negative numbers, , evaluating and simplification of expressions, multi- step equations, linear equations with coordinate graphing, one and two variable inequalities, and systems of equations. Additional topics include introduction to probability, basic trigonometry, and the introduction to radicals.
Linear algebra, the transition course from pre-algebra, takes students through the exploration of single-variable equations and two-variable equations to systems of equations. Students study how to isolate variables as well as change equations into slope-intercept, standard, and point-slope forms. They will graph equations, inequalities, and systems to discover one solution, no solutions or infinite solutions. Solving systems by substitution and elimination follows. Finally, students work with rational expressions, story/analytical problem solving, and enrichment exercises. Quadratic algebra follows Linear algebra.
Quadratic algebra, the course which follows linear algebra, allows students to explore quadratic functions, radical functions, and statistics. Multiplying and factoring polynomials sets the foundation for quadratic functions. Students first learn to graph quadratic equations using the axis of symmetry, vertex, and a table. Factoring, completing the square, and the quadratic formula methods are examined in-depth as additional options in searching for solutions. Students work simultaneously with story/analytical problem solving and enrichment exercises.
Algebra I is the foundation for all other courses in mathematics. It supplies the language and patterns of reasoning needed for other branches of mathematics. Topics to be studied in depth are the real number system, axioms, equations, inequalities, polynomials, exponents, linear equations with coordinate graphing, systems of linear equalities, rational and radical algebraic expressions, radicals or roots, and quadratic equations.
Once students get to middle school, they participate in daily science labs. In seventh grade, students learn about genetics, respiration, reproduction, photosynthesis and more. They participate in dissections and complete daily lab reports. Advanced science tools and a real lab setting allows our students to apply the Scientific Method.
After having taken French, Mandarin and Spanish in sixth grade, students now choose one language to pursue for the remaining two years of their time in middle school. The seventh and eighth grade language courses is one high school course that is divided into two years: Language 1A (for seventh grade) and Language 1B (for eighth grade). By the time students leave middle school and enter high school, they have completed one full year of a high-school level language course. In Language 1A—during seventh grade—students build a strong knowledge of the target language and are ready to apply it in basic conversational and writing skills. In addition to speaking, reading, writing and listening in the target language, classes include cultural immersion and activities.
Each middle school visual arts course is a three year, semester long journey, with an emphasis on problem solving through the art making process. Students have the opportunity to explore a wide range of two and three-dimensional media. Artists, art in society, and art history are discussed as they relate to what the students are discovering in their personal work. Students are taught to recognize the elements of design, and through both private and group critiques, learn to communicate their ideas successfully.
Choosing from courses in jazz band, choir, strings, instruments, and pop a cappella, middle school students participate in performing arts year-round. In addition to music electives, students have the option to take an improv comedy class. The improv course focuses on the basics of improvisational theatre and comedic acting. Students learn how to create compelling characters and relationships, work as a team to engage the audience, and listen and react in the moment.
Physical education courses are designed to provide students an opportunity to experience a variety of team sports, team building activities and fitness exercises. The following areas are emphasized: developing skills that improve one’s strength, endurance, flexibility, coordination, and speed; understanding the rules and regulations that govern each sport through participation in a variety of modified drills and games; understanding basic forms of team play and strategy; exhibiting sportsmanlike behavior; and developing team skills.