Middle School Curriculum - Hancock Day School
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Middle School Curriculum

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6th Grade Curriculum

6th Grade Earth Science

The middle school sixth grade Earth Science course at Hancock Day School in Savannah is designed to help students understand both the characteristics of Science and the study of the Earth's composition, structure, processes, and history. The school places emphasis on historical contributions in the development of scientific thought about the Earth and space. The interpretation of maps, charts, and tables is stressed. The year starts with an introduction to the scientific method, lab skills, and lab safety. Major topics of study will include plate tectonics, earth history, the atmosphere, weather and climate, and the solar system. Students are responsible for current events concerning various aspects of science.

At the sixth grade level, students are introduced to general scientific principles and procedures. This is done through numerous lab activities and student-based research projects. In Earth Science, students make and use models to represent the different structures and systems being studied. The development of critical thinking skills is emphasized in laboratory and cooperative group settings where students are able to share ideas and analyze information, which allows them to acquire the needed education in the most effective way.

6th Grade Pre-Algebra

This course reinforces previously taught mathematical skills with additional advanced computation including an emphasis on Algebraic concepts. As part of the mathematical education provided by Hancock Day School, students study fractions, decimals, percents, positive and negative integers, and rational numbers. They become more proficient in using ratios, proportions, and solving algebraic equations. Students will also develop and expand their problem solving skills as they search for answers to a variety of word problems. This course is offered to accelerated sixth grade and advanced seventh grade middle school students.

6th Grade Ancient Civilizations

The sixth grade Social Studies curriculum at Hancock Day School introduces a thematic approach to the development of civilization and society as it exists today. Students will cover units including early humans, early farmers and city dwellers, Mesopotamia, Egypt, ancient Hebrews, ancient Greeks, Chinese and Indian civilizations, and Rome. In addition, students will be exposed to themes including economics, political systems, religions, and social, and cultural traditions. Focus will be on the concept of development wherein students will be expected to analyze what allows humans to progress to new, more advanced levels of society. Using critical thinking skills to analyze these themes, students will be able to establish cause and effect trends and draw important correlations to our present day society. Students will also be expected to display a working knowledge of geography, which will be highlighted throughout the course of the school year.

6th Grade Foreign Language — Spanish

Students at Hancock Day School begin their study of the Spanish language and culture in elementary school at the Kindergarten level. With this early start, a formal sequential curriculum, and a proficient faculty—all unique attributes of the private school education provided by Hancock Day School—students are well on their way to attaining academic success. Upon entering the middle school Spanish program, students continue their linguistic training to become more proficient. With continued guidance and encouragement, students advance from theme to theme building their second language comprehension every step of the way.

In sixth grade, students are introduced to foreign language through basic conversational skills and then progress towards the foundational grammar functions. Each unit's vocabulary and grammar builds one on top of the other culminating at the end of the school year when students will have mastered the final unit of locations and directions in Spanish.

6th Grade English Language Arts

The sixth grade English Language Arts course at Hancock Day School exposes students to a variety of fiction and nonfiction texts as students learn to identify the author's purpose, theme, elements of a short story, types of conflict, and characterization. Students also read poetry, study the dramatic form, and closely explore several novels. In addition to studying literature, the school year begins with personal writing to help students build fluency and style. From there persuasive and expository writing are introduced, which then lead to research fundamentals and a full-length term paper. Vocabulary and grammar skills are also further developed as part of the language arts education at Hancock Day School through continued use of Worldy Wise and emphasis on parts of speech and sentence parts. Students use the Grammar Usage and Mechanics series to practice correct sentence construction along with frequent editing of written work as additional reinforcement for these skills.

7th Grade Curriculum

7th Grade Life Science

The seventh grade Life Science course taught as part of Hancock Day School's middle school education explores the nature of our living world. Building on the science skills learned in sixth grade, students become more familiar with scientific methods through controlled experiments. The year begins with a review of scientific methods, lab skills and lab safety, covering topics ranging from the cell and its processes to heredity. Students are then introduced to viruses and bacteria, which includes conducting extensive research in order to gather the newest information on topics of interest. At mid-year seventh graders begin the study of various phyla in the animal kingdom, which then leads to lessons on human anatomy and physiology.

At the seventh grade level, students are encouraged and expected to work cooperatively with their peers. They continue to build on their knowledge of scientific procedure through the use of various models constructed to help students visualize the organisms being studied. Preserved specimens and dissection are also used to enhance instruction. The hands-on, inquiry-based approach of Hancock Day School, a signature of independent schools, stimulates intellectual growth by fostering students' curiosity and emphasizing the joy of discovery.

7th Grade Pre-Algebra

Middle school students in the seventh grade at Hancock Day School reinforce previously taught mathematical skills by learning additional advanced computation methods with an emphasis on Algebraic concepts. Students study fractions, decimals, percents, positive and negative integers and rational numbers while also becoming more proficient in using ratios, proportions and solving algebraic equations. Developing and expanding problem-solving skills while uncovering the answers to a variety of word problems is also an integral part of students' mathematical education. This course is offered to accelerated sixth grade and advanced seventh grade students.

7th Grade Algebra I

Studying tables, graphs, and equations, seventh grade middle school students solve linear equations and inequalities as well as systems of linear equations and inequalities as part of this mathematical course. Generation of equivalent expressions, use of formulas, simplification of polynomials and an introduction to quadratic relationships are also included as part of the Algebra 1 education at Hancock Day School. Additionally, students will analyze situations verbally, numerically, graphically, and symbolically. This course is offered to accelerated seventh grade and advanced eighth grade students.

7th Grade American History

The seventh grade Social Studies curriculum at Hancock Day School highlights the entirety of American history—from pre-European settlement of the North American continent through post World War II America. Major units taught as part of this middle school course include America before European settlement occurred, colonial America, American Revolution, Civil War, Reconstruction, WWI, Roaring 20's, Great Depression/New Deal, and World War II. Elective topics that may also be covered include the Cold War, Civil Rights Era, Vietnam, and possibly more current issues facing America today—such as the threat of terrorism. Critical thinking and analytical skills will be emphasized throughout the course of the year. Focus will be on fostering a general knowledge of American historical information while developing the critical thinking, reasoning, and analytical skills necessary for success in later stages of education. Primary sources will also be utilized in the classroom with the goal of allowing students to form their own conclusions about significant events in our history and their effects on our present day society.

7th Grade Spanish

Students at Hancock Day School begin their study of the Spanish language and culture at the Kindergarten level. With this early start, a formal sequential curriculum, and a proficient faculty—all unique attributes of the private school education provided by Hancock Day School—students are well on their way to attaining academic success. Upon entering the middle school Spanish program students continue their linguistic training to become more proficient. With continued guidance and encouragement, students graduate from theme to theme building their second language comprehension every step of the way.

In seventh grade, students continue their foreign language education by becoming more creative with the language. Units begin with daily activities and then progress towards the final unit of celebrations. With each unit, students grow more confident in their conversational skills and use of the language.

7th Grade English Language Arts

Seventh grade English Language Arts challenges students to think critically about literature and its influence on the world in which we live. Frequent writing and editing by students of their own work increases confidence in the writing and editing process. A sampling of seventh grade writing assignments includes writing a full-length creative short story, creating brochures using persuasive techniques, and composing literary analyses with specific textual support. Students are expected to move beyond simply identifying literary elements by exploring the roles that tone, mood, foreshadowing, and point of view can play in a text. Vocabulary education and development continues through the use of Wordly Wise, and the Grammar Usage and Mechanics series as the basis of grammar instruction.

8th Grade Curriculum

8th Grade Physical Science

The eighth grade Physical Science course at Hancock Day School in Savannah continues investigation of the physical sciences that began in lower grades and provides students with the necessary skills to have a richer knowledge base as they prepare to move from middle school into upper school and higher-level sciences. A great deal of emphasis is placed on the scientific method and lab safety education. This course is a survey course of chemistry and physics. It includes the more abstract concepts such as the conceptualization of the structure of atoms, motion and forces, and the conservation of energy and matter.

At the eighth grade level, students work extensively in small groups as they strive to master laboratory protocol, design and reports. Collecting, analyzing, and reporting of data are stressed through various lab activities. This course also puts emphasis on the design and interpretation of graphs and tables. Critical thinking and decision making are a major part of the curriculum and enable students to rely on themselves, analyze situations, evaluate information, and learn in the most effective way.

8th Grade Algebra I

This course develops fluency in working with linear equations through the study of tables, graphs, and equations. Solving linear equations and inequalities as well as systems of linear equations and inequalities are central principles of the Hancock Day School Algebra I education. Students will generate equivalent expressions, use formulas, simplify polynomials, and begin to study quadratic relationships. The ability to analyze situations verbally, numerically, graphically, and symbolically will also be taught. This course is offered to accelerated seventh grade and advanced eighth grade students.

8th Grade Geometry

Introduction to the study of points, segments, triangles, polygons, circles, solid figures, and their associated relationships as a mathematical system are an integral part of the Hancock Day School Geometry education. Students will use inductive, deductive, and intuitive reasoning skills, while also exploring the powers of abstract reasoning, spatial visualization, and logical reasoning patterns. The focus is on comparisons between these figures concerning surface areas, volumes, congruency, similarity, transformations, and coordinate Geometry. This course is offered to accelerated eighth grade.

The mathematics vision is to encourage curiosity and creativity, as well as explore and develop the strengths of each student through a student-centered, hands-on learning environment representative of the private-school environment. At Hancock Day School, students have the right to their own active involvement in learning by interacting with their peers, and teachers. Expectations are high for each middle school student, and the faculty and staff of Hancock Day School are committed to helping all students develop a respect and appreciation for mathematics. Mathematics is needed in the classroom, but more importantly, it is needed beyond the school setting. Therefore, Hancock Day School ensures that mathematics is presented practically and with application to "real-world" situations.

8th Grade United States Government

The eighth grade Social Studies curriculum at Hancock Day School will focus on each branch of the United States government with major projects incorporated into each unit. Middle school students will delve into history to gain an understanding of American political heritage with a goal to foster the critical skills necessary for success in further stages of education. Molding informed, active citizens that are ready to take on civic responsibilities within their communities is the desired outcome of this course. In addition to the general study of the U.S. Government at the national, international, and local levels, students will also be presented with the opportunity to become an active member within their communities, thus establishing a solid foundation for a successful life in middle school, high school and beyond.

8th Grade Spanish

Students at Hancock Day School begin their study of the Spanish language and culture at the Kindergarten level. With this early start, a formal sequential curriculum, and a proficient faculty—all unique attributes of the private-school education provided by Hancock Day School—students have a chance to achieve academic success. Upon entering into the Middle School Spanish program students continue their linguistic training to become more proficient. With continued guidance and encouragement, students graduate from theme to theme building their second language comprehension every step of the way.

Previous foreign-language teaching comes to fruition in eighth grade as students are challenged with their ability to think critically. After a review of all previously learned vocabulary and grammar, students begin to piece all acquired knowledge together to form one cohesive story. In eighth grade, students learn how to speak not only in the present but also in the past and future tenses. These time transitions are the stepping-stones to fluency and offer future opportunities for each student to succeed in their Spanish education beyond middle school and into the high school level.

8th Grade English Language Arts

Eighth grade English is designed around thematically linked texts that provide students an opportunity to learn about literature while also exploring their own values and beliefs. Students sharpen their verbal and written communication skills through engagement in lively class discussions both in person and virtually through the class wiki. Grammar instruction is tailored to the individual needs of each class, and lessons target common errors from writing assignments. Vocabulary development continues through Worldy Wise as well as words pulled from the novels explored. Middle School students at Hancock Day School in Savannah receive an education with strong emphasis on reading and writing in order to prepare them for success at the high school level.

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