The following courses are available to seventh graders.

English 7

Why are there stories? What makes a story? How are stories told? What is our story? These essential questions guide our reading, writing, and discussion in 7th grade English. Considering the essential elements of a story leads to an exploration of the many different ways stories are told: from spoken word through literature, poetry, drama, art and song, into more modern modes like podcasts, movies, and animation. We investigate the struggle to ensure rights for all citizens by largely focusing on fictional accounts highlighting the time period between 1920 and the present. We study the tactics of great readers, learning to be aware of our thought processes while we read, developing strategies to better understand a given text. We focus on the iterative writing process and supporting our ideas with adequate details while extending the depth and quality of our work. Creative problem solving, empathy, effort and collaboration are our cornerstones and are always honored.

Possible texts: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; Witness by Karen Hesse; The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie; Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck; Fresh Ink: An Anthology.

History 7 - The Birth of U.S. Democracy: Voices of the People, Perspectives, Identity and Struggles

This 7th grade course will focus on examining early American history and the conflicts that arose from a young country’s search for identity and the struggles the country faced in its pursuit of the ideals of justice and equality for all. The objectives of the course are to engage students in critically thinking about the identity of the United States as a nation, to present various perspectives on history, and to highlight the historical struggles for justice that the country has gone through, and continues to today. The perspectives and experiences of enslaved people, women, the poor, the indigenous, immigrants, and workers (groups who traditionally receive little attention in history books) will be brought to the forefront in our studies. We will examine the interactions and roles various groups of people have played in shaping the history and identity of the United States.

Math 7

This course will focus on number sense, proportional reasoning, and linear relationships. Students will extend their understanding of operations and properties of integers and rational numbers. They will also develop and use strategies for solving problems that involve proportional relationships. Students will build algebraic thinking as they learn to recognize various representations of linear relationships and investigate ways to solve equations.

Emphasis is placed on communication in verbal and written form, creative problem-solving, and reasoning skills. Willingness to take risks and persevering through challenges are also major themes of the course. Inquiry-learning through projects, technology, and collaboration support the curriculum.

Music

As part of our Instrumental Music curriculum, all students learn how to play an instrument or hone their skills if they are already accomplished musicians.  Using orchestra and chorus as a model for collaboration, students learn instrument technique and musicianship skills through practicing and rehearsing a range of repertoire. They begin by test driving each instrument (trumpet, trombone, tuba, cello, violin, viola, voice, flute, clarinet) before being matched with an ensemble, taking into consideration the student’s interest, feedback from the teachers, and the needs of the ensemble.  Those with previous experience in percussion can audition to join the percussion section which joins with the brass and woodwind ensembles for their combined rehearsals. The ensembles comprising 6th, 7th, and 8th grades and are highly differentiated, allowing beginners and advanced students to thrive together by learning multiple parts of the same piece of music. Although this is a music program that builds technical skills and artistry, the impact goes far beyond music, focusing on collaboration, creative problem solving, empathy, and leadership skills.

Science 7 - The Science of Self

Science 7 is an exploration of human body systems. Through hands-on labs and engineering design challenges, we study the human musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive, and nervous systems. This course focuses on hands-on science lab skills, including dissection, lab safety, and experimental design as well as design skills like sketching, physical prototyping, precision fabrication, and product testing by utilizing the tools in the R+D Center. Field trips, guest speakers, and design sprints will introduce us to the medical and biotech professions. Ultimately, we aim to gain a deeper understanding of our bodies and minds and test our limitations through physical activity and analysis of the “quantified self.”

Theater Arts 7

In 7th grade, students explore and refine their skills as actors, collaborators, and performers, learning how to create spontaneously, rehearse effectively, and perform with confidence. Students practice and perform improvised scenes, learn and demonstrate a variety of stage combat techniques, develop their ability to create a character with the help of background details and an objective, and explore the role of the designer in the artistic process. Students build relationships with one another and strengthen an ensemble that collaborates effectively, focusing on trust, risk-taking, and listening skills. Students also learn the importance of feedback and reflection in shaping their work and have the opportunity to practice these essential skills through writing and discussion.

Visual Arts 7

In 7th grade, students begin to incorporate themselves into their work. Memories, experiences, and emotions slowly make their way into the art making process. Materials continue to play an important role as we join a personal component to the students’ work. This is the groundwork for helping students develop the skills they need to express themselves effectively through their art. Communicating through visual art is a tool that will continue to be a focus as students move through Middle School and Upper School.