The 6th grade Humanities course (Language Arts and Social Studies combined) focuses on the elements of culture by studying societies within the United States and across the globe. We explore the geographic, economic, and cultural influences within a society and the impact of change on a culture. Students first look at themselves to help them identify specific aspects that are common to all cultures before making comparisons between people from different backgrounds. As budding anthropologists, students explore the concept of multiple perspectives as they turn their attention to cultures outside of the United States. Embedded in the curriculum are the five major concepts of geography: location, place, human/environment interactions, movement, and regions. Using a thematic approach, students learn how people’s identities are influenced and challenged by societal norms, religious extremism, war and conflict in a society, colonialism, and government power and oppression.
All the while, students will tend to the mechanics of reading and writing. Students study the tactics of great readers, learning to be aware of their thought process while they read. Students will work hard on sentence structure, grammar, vocabulary, and supporting ideas with adequate details when they write. At the same time, a wide variety of innovative projects that encourage creative problem solving and often use cutting edge applications allow them to demonstrate understanding in unique and exciting ways. Humanities provides a collaborative, challenging, and dynamic introduction to a Beaver education.
In this course, students will focus their mathematical development on three main areas: number sense, proportional relationships, and algebraic reasoning. Students will extend the number system to include the notion of rational numbers plus make sense of algorithms for multiplying and dividing fractions and decimals to explain why they work. They will also use reasoning to solve a wide variety of problems involving ratios and rates. In addition, students will construct, interpret, and use tables, graphs, and equations to describe relationships and solve problems using algebraic reasoning.
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.
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.
What is home? How do I understand my place and impact in a larger system? In Science 6, we get outside and explore our sense of place through several lenses, including Earth science, ecosystems, and engineering. We challenge ourselves to examine systems big and small through field study by strengthening our observation, data collection, and data analysis skills.
In 6th grade, students develop an understanding of theater as a collaborative art form and work to create a supportive, trusting, and cooperative ensemble. Through theater games and activities, students learn the importance of communication and problem-solving and grow more confident as collaborators and performers. Students also explore physicality and vocal expression, combining these skills to create unique characters, and they are introduced to the various jobs and responsibilities in a theater production. Lastly, students develop their listening, critical thinking, and reflection skills by learning to give and receive feedback as an essential part of the artistic process.
Sixth graders are encouraged to begin to value their art making process over their product as they move through projects dealing with ideas around visual mapping and composition, characters, repetition, scale, and perspective. Students are given a lot of freedom to take their work in directions that interest them. This approach is designed to produce engaged young artists who are excited about their work.