“The most important thing is a person. A person who incites your curiosity and feeds your curiosity; and machines cannot do that in the same way that people can.”
– Steve Jobs
Along with the changes brought about by puberty, adolescents begin to turn inward to seek themselves. The child at this age experiences a conflict in wanting to be accepted by the group, yet recognized as an individual. New powers of intellect emerge as critical thinking blossoms. The seventh grade curriculum aims to meet these developments through the themes of discovery, exploration, and transformation.
The 7th grade block curriculum studies the Renaissance, the Age of Exploration, the Scientific Revolution and the Reformation in order to activate the students' developing engagement with and questioning in the world. The students study the innovative thinkers of these eras whose thirst for knowledge was coupled with a fearless need to question and defy authority. The class teacher guides the students in projects that enable them to take an active role in the outer world. They respect and nurture the students' inner emotional lives while simultaneously challenging their cognitive and creative skills. Exploration and discovery are key themes in all 7th grade lesson blocks. In History, students study the biographies of key individuals whose changing views of the world profoundly influenced global thinking. In Geography, students learn about the environments, climate and social structure of indigenous cultures in Africa or South America. In The Arts, they paint in the style of the Renaissance masters, learn perspective drawing and explore chiaroscuro (the italian term for how light and shadow affect the laws of graphic and spatial construction and representation).
In Language Arts, students write personal, as well as expository essays on course topics. The Creative Writing block explores poetry to engage students in bringing expression to their inner feelings.
In Geometry, students study planar forms, including: triangle constructions, angle theorems and proofs, the golden ratio, and an introductory exploration of the Pythagorean Theorem. Students begin Algebra and are introduced to computational and symbolic mathematics integrated with conceptual thinking. In the Sciences and Mathematics, where students had previously been calculating and observing processes, they now apply phenomenological observations to the conjecture and discovery of general relationships. They apply simple logic structures to more complex problem solving and abstract thinking including mathematical and geometrical relationships.
In Physics, the students study processes and phenomena involving mechanical force and simple machines. The study of Chemistry is introduced. Students explore the chemical process of combustion, then they investigate and analyze the lime cycle, and study salts, acids and bases.
The seventh graders also study Human Physiology. They focus on health issues that are grounded in the practical and personal experiences of the students themselves. They learn about the essential body systems including: digestion, respiration, circulation and reproduction. In examining themselves as growing, changing and maturing individuals, the students develop a sense of responsibility for the choices they make.
Main Learning Objectives
- Main Lesson Skills: Applying phenomenological observations to deductive reasoning; Developing self-expression through creative independent authorship
- Language Arts & History: Essay writing, poetry, grammar, expository writing, research papers
- Mathematics: Geometry, Algebra
- Sciences: Physics, Chemistry, Human Physiology
- Geography: Africa, South America
- Art: Painting, Drawing, Modeling
- Foreign Language: Spanish
- Practical Arts: Woodwork, Hand Sewing
- Music: Chorus, Orchestra
- Gym: Team games and sports continue in seventh grade. Organized activities hone the development of manual dexterity, hand-eye coordination and other social and integrated learning skills.
- Write independently in creative forms (poetry & essays) and in research papers.
- Study and prepare for weekly spelling, math, vocabulary and subject-based quizzes
- Prepare their Main Lesson block books for periodic assessment & feedback
- Perform and interpret characters with motivations in actions and words in the grade play & in other public performances
- Practice for orchestra or band with string (Violin, Viola, Cello or Bass), wind (Horns, Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon) or percussion instruments