Middle School

Math

Our mathematics program is designed to encourage curiosity and creativity, as well as to develop the strengths of each student using a student-centered, hands-on learning environment. Expectations are high for each middle school student, and the faculty 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 applied to “real-world” situations.

  • Accelerated Math 6/7
    This course is offered to sixth grade students.
    Students in this seventh grade equivalent course will build the foundation needed to further develop their mathematical skills and prepare them for a Pre-Algebra course the following year.
  • Pre-Algebra
    In this eighth grade equivalent course, students will become proficient in solving linear equations and other skills to prepare them for a high school equivalent Algebra I course the following year. Pre-Algebra is offered to honors sixth grade students and accelerated seventh grade students who have successfully completed Accelerated Math 7.
  • Algebra I
    In this ninth grade equivalent course, students develop fluency in solving different types of equations. Students will become proficient in analyzing situations verbally, numerically, graphically, and symbolically. Algebra I is offered to honors seventh grade and accelerated eighth grade students who have successfully completed Pre-Algebra. Students may be able to earn high school credit for this course.
  • Advanced Algebra
    Students in this course continue the study of algebra by deeply exploring algebraic concepts and applications. Students will also learn a variety of concepts from high school Geometry such as right-triangle trigonometry. This course focuses strongly on critical thinking and creative problem solving to “real-world” situations, and it is offered to honors eighth grade students who have successfully completed Algebra I.
  • Geometry
    In this tenth grade equivalent course, students will deeply explore fundamental Euclidean geometric concepts and progress to more advanced topics such as right-triangle trigonometry. Students will also learn reasoning skills and apply them by constructing logical proofs. This course is offered to honors eighth grade students who have already completed Algebra I. Students may be able to earn high school credit for this course.

Language Arts

At Hancock Day School we believe in the importance of fostering a love of reading and writing from an early age. All of our English language arts courses are designed with elements of student choice, creative assignments that give students an opportunity to express themselves, and a focus on fundamental reading strategies that build comprehension. Grammar and mechanics are developed through the context of reading and writing, and students expand their vocabularies by studying challenging words in context through the Sadlier Enrichment text.

  • Sixth Grade English Language Arts
    This course 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. 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 research-based project. Vocabulary and grammar skills are also further developed through a study of Greek and Latin roots and SAT words as well as an emphasis on parts of speech and sentence parts.
  • Seventh Grade English Language Arts
    This course challenges students to think critically about literature and its influence on the world in which we live. Students grow more confident with the writing process through frequent writing and editing of their own work. A sampling of seventh grade writing assignments includes a full-length creative short story, brochures using persuasive techniques, and 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.
  • Eighth Grade English Language Arts
    This English Language Arts course is designed around thematically-linked texts that provide students with 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. Grammar instruction is tailored to the individual needs of each class, and lessons target common errors from writing assignments. By focusing on sharpening reading and writing skills, students are prepared for success at the high school of their choice. 

Science

Across all grade levels, a strong emphasis is placed on scientific principles and procedures. Students often 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.

  • Earth Science
    The study of earth science is intended to help students understand the study of the earth’s composition, structure, processes, and history. Hancock Day School focuses on historical contributions in the development of scientific thought about the earth and space. Major topics of study include introduction to the scientific method, lab skills, and lab safety, plate tectonics, earth history, the atmosphere, weather and climate, and the solar system. This course is offered to sixth grade students.
  • Life Science
    This course explores the nature of our living world through building on the science skills learned in previous years. Students explore the classification of organisms through the use of dichotomous keys. They also study viruses and bacteria, genetics, various phyla in the plant and animal kingdom, biomes and ecosystems, and incorporate lessons on human anatomy and physiology. They participate in engaging labs and projects while conducting extensive research on these topics. This course is offered to seventh grade students.
  • Physical Science
    Physical Science continues the investigation of scientific principles that began in the lower grades, and strengthens students’ knowledge base as they prepare to move from middle school into higher-level science courses. This course is broken into two core topics: chemistry and physics. This includes more abstract concepts such as the structure of atoms, chemical reactions, forces and motion, and the conservation of energy and matter. This course is offered to eighth grade students.

Social Studies

Hancock’s courses are designed to help students become informed, active participants in our democratic society. By examining primary sources, students are encouraged to think critically and form their own conclusions about important events in history. Geography is explored throughout all three years of middle school, and our studies culminate with the eighth grade trip to Washington, D.C.

  • World History
    This course introduces a thematic approach to the development of civilization and society as it exists today. Students examine units including early humans, early farmers and city dwellers, Mesopotamia, Egypt, ancient Hebrews, ancient Greeks, Chinese and Indian civilizations, and the Roman Empire. In addition, students are exposed to themes including economics, political systems, religions, and social, and cultural traditions. This course is offered to our sixth grade students.
    This course introduces a thematic approach to the development of civilization and society as it exists today. A critical goal of the History and Geography curriculum is to ensure that students acquire the foundational knowledge needed to become informed citizens who can contribute to a democratic society. Students examine topics like Ancient Greece and Rome, The Enlightenment, The French Revolution, and Romanticism, The Industrial Revolution, and The Making of America: Immigration, Industrialization, and Reform. In addition, students are exposed to themes including economics, political systems, religions, and social, and cultural traditions. This course is offered to 6th grade students
  • American History & Government – Part 1
    This course takes a thematic approach to American History allowing students to make connections across time and place as well as develop their critical thinking skills. The course covers major units starting with Community & Civilization, and building through Religion, Expansion, Revolution and concludes with an in depth study of Government. Through the two year course students will touch on all the major events in American History and understand how it affects the world we live in today. The thematic approach allows students to participate in learning through lecture, discovery activities, projects and discussions.
  • American History & Government – Part 2
    This course continues to build on the concepts and skills learned in American History & Government Part I. Students will continue to make connections across time and enhance their critical thinking skills with a thematic approach to American History. Part II will cover themes such as conflict, discrimination, immigration and press & propaganda as well as contain an in depth study of some of the nations Presidents to date. Students will build on discussion skills introduced in Part I, as well as learn through lecture, individual discovery and project based learning.

Spanish

Because we know that early exposure to language is key to developing competency, Hancock students begin their study of the Spanish language and culture at the pre-kindergarten level. With this early start, a formal sequential curriculum, and a proficient faculty, all of our students enter high school with at least one Spanish credit. Our middle school Spanish program is designed to help students continue their linguistic training while also giving them an opportunity to increase their global awareness and explore the rich culture of Spanish speaking countries.

  • Sixth Grade Spanish
    In this course students will continue building their foreign language skills in basic conversation and progress towards the foundational grammar functions. Each unit’s vocabulary and grammar are designed sequentially to build on each other. By the end of sixth grade, students engage in basic conversations, provide and obtain general information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions.
  • Seventh Grade Spanish
    This course focuses on the continued development of communicative competence and cultural understanding. Students become creative with the Spanish language as they grow more confident in their conversational skills. By the end of seventh grade, students engage in more sophisticated conversations, provide and obtain information, express an array of feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions.
  • Eighth Grade Spanish
    Previous foreign-language instruction comes to fruition in eighth grade as students are challenged to think critically and engage in substantive conversations. By the end of eighth grade, students engage in meaningful conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and discuss opinions. Students also understand and interpret written information, concepts, and ideas to an audience of listeners or readers on a variety of topics.

National Junior Honor Society

High-achieving students are invited to participate in our chapter of the National Junior Honor Society, which recognizes students who excel in academics, character, service, citizenship, and leadership. Members must attend all published meetings unless excused by the chapter advisor, must participate in the chapter service project, must perform at least 10 hours of community service devoted to a single cause, and must maintain the minimum required GPA.

Community Service

In light of our goal to educate students to become world citizens, community service is a vital component of the middle school experience. Students are required to complete a minimum of 10 hours of community service each year (this is also one of the requirements for membership in the National Junior Honor Society). Community service opportunities are posted in the Middle School Blog, and those students who go over and above are recognized with a Presidential Volunteer Service Award.

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