Middle School Curriculum
Friends’ Central’s Middle School curriculum motivates students to think abstractly, question critically, and problem-solve creatively. Students experience exceptional teachers in small classes where learning is both challenging and joyful. Through hands-on learning, we engage students’ natural curiosity while developing essential skills within and across the disciplines.
The Middle School English curriculum is designed to help students increase their awareness of language as a communication tool. As students explore literature, they learn to appreciate effective writing, read for comprehension of plot, themes and symbols, and increase their own analytical writing skills. Grammar and vocabulary development are emphasized through written assignments. Students are guided towards an understanding of the impact of reading and interpreting fiction on interpersonal skills and empathy. Literary selections such as George Orwell’s Animal Farm, William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Lois Lowry’s The Giver, Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird drive the minds of students to confront moral, political, and ethical issues as they develop a deep appreciation for the pleasures of reading.
Students in the Middle School continue to cultivate the basics of mathematical thinking that began in Lower School. While they work on fundamental operations in regard to whole numbers, Middle Schoolers also learn to apply those processes to fractions, decimals, percents, and integers. The foundations of algebra are explored and students learn to make connections between algebra and geometry, between words and mathematical notation, and between theoretical and actual data. Real-life problem solving experiences help students gain confidence in their ability to predict the reasonableness of answers. By the end of Middle School, all students will have completed Algebra I. For those students whose abilities require a faster-paced program, there is the opportunity for an accelerated curriculum.
In Grade 6, the Middle School history curriculum begins with an exploration of the Middle Ages examining the time period in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. As the students move to the European Age of Discovery, they have a chance to discover and explore the many factors that contribute to cultural differences. Through their readings, discussions and activities, students gain an appreciation for the richness of these cultures and an understanding of how these groups have influenced the growth of our own culture. American history, from the beginning of European colonization to the present, is explored in Grades 7 and 8. Through writing, reflecting, and role play, students are able to connect historical events to issues of social justice. Attention is given to a comprehensive look at current events in an effort to better understand events in history.
In Middle School, students hone their observation, prediction, and interpretational skills as they proceed through their studies of life, physical, and earth sciences. The program cultivates our students’ curiosity about the world around them with a hands-on approach to science -- from doing experiments using our campus and nearby park as an outdoor lab. Through readings, demonstrations, field study, laboratory experiments, and reflective and analytical writing, students gain scientific knowledge and begin to understand relationships among disciplines. From astronomy to zoology students become better able to make connections regarding human needs, actions, and environmental systems.
The Middle School curriculum includes classes in art, drama, and music at each grade level. Beyond the curriculum, students can participate in the arts through our multi-grade Chorus, Orchestra, and Jazz Band. The rehearsals are built into the school day. The drama program features two Middle School plays each year, including one musical, and involves after-school rehearsals. These rehearsals are scheduled to not conflict with Middle School athletics, enabling students to fully participate in all of our extracurricular offerings.
For more information about the arts in Middle School, visit The Arts at FCS pages.
Language study in grade 6 is centered on the Prima Lingua program. During this course, students study the evolution of language and culture. In grades 7 and 8, Middle School course offerings include French, Latin and Spanish. Each curriculum provides a multi-media approach to language acquisition. Students gain confidence in their ability to express themselves and think in a foreign language.
Each student in the Middle School receives a School-issued and owned Chromebook. This Chromebook will be used in classes and for school work. It has the most popular iPad features, such as annotating on the touchscreen, various educational apps, and filmmaking capability, but it also has a keyboard and fully functional Chrome browser, enabling students to best leverage Google's cloud-based applications - Google slides, docs, forms, etc.
There is no device use during homeroom, recess, or lunch. We consider these times important for social interaction and essential for a break in students' screen time.
Throughout the three years of Middle School, students rotate through courses in art, computers, drama, health, music, and Quakerism. Each of these courses adds breadth and depth to the Middle School curriculum. Through their exposure to the performing and visual arts, students are encouraged to tap into their creativity, learning to express themselves through the disciplines of art, drama, and music. They are challenged to wrestle with new ideas as they expand their knowledge base and are encouraged to formulate and articulate positions on issues. Students explore the tenets of the Quaker religion, which help them to understand and appreciate the mission of the School.