# Middle School Course Descriptions

## Math

In sixth grade, the students receive their last concentrated emphasis of basic arithmetic concepts. These concepts include decimals, fractions, ratios, percentages, proportions, and graphs. In addition, the students are introduced to new algebraic concepts, including writing algebraic expressions, writing equations, and solving equations. Geometry basics are also introduced.

PreAlgebra is the transition class from basic arithmetic concepts to basic Algebra concepts. Students will review concepts such as fractions, decimals, integers, ratios, proportions, and percents. In addition, students will be introduced to basic algebra concepts including ordered pairs, graphing, solving one and two step equations, solving one and two step inequalities, and scale drawings.

Algebra can be taken in 7th grade, if a student qualifies (please see the handbook for criteria). Algebra is taken in 8th grade if the student took PreAlgebra in 7th grade. Concepts that are taught in the Algebra course include integers, algebraic expressions and functions, writing equations, solving equations (one, two and multi step), ratios, proportions, percent of change, dimensional analysis, slope, equations of lines, graphing linear equations, solving inequalities (one, two and multi step), graphing inequalities, solving systems of linear equations, properties of exponents, operations with polynomials, and factoring polynomials.

Geometry is taken in 8th grade by those students who qualified for Algebra in 7th grade. Concepts that are taught include geometry basics (points, lines, planes, etc.), inductive and deductive reasoning, logic, algebraic proofs, segment relationships, angle relationships, parallel and perpendicular lines (angles, transversals, etc), triangle classifications, congruent triangles, relationships in triangles, geometric proofs, quadrilaterals, similar figures, proving similarity, Pythagorean theorem, special right triangles, area, volume, transformations, and circles.

### ALEKS Online Math Program

A​ssessment and LE​arning in K​nowledge S​paces is a Web-­based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system. ALEKS uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine exactly what a student knows and doesn't know in a course. ALEKS then instructs the student on the topics he/she is most ready to learn. As a student works through a course, ALEKS periodically reassesses the student to ensure that topics learned are also retained. ALEKS courses are very complete in their topic coverage and ALEKS avoids multiple­ choice questions. A student who shows a high level of mastery of an ALEKS course will be successful in the actual course he/she is taking.

## Social Studies

In World History students will be learning about how humans from 1000 BC to 750 AD interacted with their environment and formed societies in which they could live. Students will be studying their culture, the impact of their technology, important historical events, where they lived, how they provided for themselves and earned a living, and the civic ideals and practices they created in order to govern their communities.

Students will be learning about the geographical make­up of our planet Earth and about the relationships between people and their environments. Students will also study geography in the context of economics, politics, and culture. Students will explore the meaning of geography through an in­-depth exploration of North America, Central America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. The themes of geography will guide the exploration of each region (location, place, human ­environment interaction, movement and region).

This is an American history survey course covering a broad expanse of time. Students will be learning about American history starting with the American Revolution and ideally ending in the present day. Major events are explored, such as the rise of industrial capitalism, immigration, World War I & II and the Civil Rights Movement. Specific content goals of the course include political, economic, and social developments in the United States from the late 18th century until present day.

## Language Arts

Features high­quality, authentic literature organized around units that develop grade­-level science and history/social science concepts. Four reading selections per week in Grade 6 emphasizes comprehension, vocabulary, and writing skills and offer opportunities for cross­-textual reading in content areas. Envision It! and Words! provide additional practice with target skills and strategies in a visual format.

### 7th Grade Prentice Hall Literature

Class is combined with Writer’s Choice, trade novels, and Vocabulary in Action for a comprehensive Language Arts Program that follows all Diocesan standards. Students are introduced to a variety of fiction and nonfiction literary pieces that include: short stories, novels, biographies, poetry, drama and expository essays. Students learn to analyze, make inferences, evaluate, and make predictions based on the readings. Additionally, mechanics of grammar and punctuation are reinforced through the online Criterion Writing program.

### 8th Grade Prentice Hall Literature

Students continue with Prentice Hall Literature (Pearson), Writer’s Choice, trade novels, and Vocabulary in Action in the 8th grade. A strong emphasis is placed upon MLA writing standards through research and writing.

## Science

Students will learn about Cells and Heredity, Plant and Animal Life, and Ecology. For Health, they will learn the Systems of the Human Body.

Students learn about the Earth’s Spheres, Weathering and Erosion, Earth’s History, Minerals and Rocks, and Plate Tectonics. They will also learn about Earth’s Water and Atmosphere, and Space Science.

Students will learn about the States of Matter, Types of Matter, Atoms and the Periodic Table. They will also learn about the Interactions of Matter. Other topics include Motion, Forces, and Energy as well as Sound and Light.

Grades 6­8 grades learn about the Scientific Method by developing a Science Project. In 7th and 8th Grade the students participate in PJAS.