The theme for 7th Grade is Sense of Place. Students investigate the answers to questions like, what are ways of communicating? What are mechanisms for communication? How do we communicate with/understand/respect people from other cultures than ours? How are borders determined, and how are lines drawn between people and places?
Social Studies focuses on the study of world geography. 7th Graders use problem-solving and decision-making skills to ask and answer geographic questions, and explore physical and cultural perspectives to examine people, places, and environments at local, regional, national, and international levels. Students describe the influence of geography on the events of the past and present. We study the physical processes that shape patterns in the physical environment; the characteristics of major landforms, climates, and ecosystems and interrelationships; the political, economic, and social processes that shape cultural patterns of regions; types and patterns of settlement; the distribution of movement of world population; relationships among people, places, and environments; and the concept of religion.
In English Language Arts, we learn critical reading and writing skills in order to analyze, question, and reconstruct the world around us. 7th Graders read and write poetry, short stories, memoirs, book reviews, essays, and research papers. Some of the novels we read are The Outsiders, Of Mice and Men, and The Graveyard Book. In the spring, we integrate with Social Studies and explore folktales and what they communicate about the culture, geography, history, customs, and beliefs of earlier civilizations, and write our own, presenting them in an evening of dance, music, food and storytelling.
7th Grade mathematics follows the Connected Mathematics Project curriculum. Through units filled with engaging and hands on projects, we explore ratios and proportional relationships, the number system, expressions and equations, geometry and statistics and probability.
Science is an active, experiential curriculum called the Full Option Science System (FOSS). Each unit focuses on a Big Question and a Big Challenge. The fall is dedicated to physical sciences, and the spring to physics, where students explore principles of motion and force, including relative motion, velocity, acceleration, Newton’s laws, friction, gravity, balanced and unbalanced forces, and net force. 7th Graders use these principles to improve their design of two cars, one with, and one without, a propulsion system.
7th Grade Spanish begins a more formal study of the language, with a focus on common vocabulary, and elementary grammar, including verb conjugations in the present tense. Culture and history will focus on Spain and its influence around the world.
For their arts, 7th Graders have the option to choose amongst semester-long electives, two each semester. Choices include Beginning Ensemble, vocal music, media arts, drama, ceramics, studio art, and creative writing. 7th Grade also has a weekly Adolescent Issues class.