Middle School Curriculum
Middle school is about expanding horizons and developing independence as a learner. Students are challenged to apply the knowledge and skills they have learned to be active, thoughtful, responsible, and intelligent seekers of truth.
Betty Edwards, Ed.D., Executive Director, National Middle School Association recently commented the following, in part, regarding the importance of middle school. December 11, 2008
The Key to Career and College Preparedness is in the Middle
The report, The Forgotten Middle, recently released by ACT, Inc., indicates that students who are not on track for college and career readiness by eighth grade are not likely to attain that level of readiness by high school graduation. The report goes on to state that “Students who leave eighth grade without the essential skills they need to be on target for college and career readiness too often leave high school not ready for any kind of meaningful future.” The research indicates that the level of academic achievement that students attain by eighth grade has a bigger impact on college and career preparedness than any single factor examined, including courses taken, grades earned in high school, or student testing behaviors. Armed with this knowledge, we believe it has never been more critical for our nation to focus on students in the middle grades….”
The AACS middle school is dynamic and interactive. To prepare students for high school’s demands, a team of teachers challenges students to take risks, think critically and use discernment, understand and apply their personal, spiritual, and academic talents, deepen their relationship with Christ, and make service a priority. In addition, middle school focuses on developing Christian leadership in our students, including mentoring younger students in their Chapel Family and challenging students to know what they believe and why.
To help students develop responsibility and independence, we have advisory groups. These small, multi-grade groups of middle schoolers meet with their advisor every day for 25 minutes to foster academic, social, and spiritual growth among students and teachers. These sessions focus on devotion time, teacher/student academic planning, life skill lessons, and community building.
Building on the elementary school curriculum, the sixth-grade curriculum balances basic skill development and problem-solving strategies. Mental math, computation, and critical thinking skills are developed through hands-on activities and small group work. In seventh and eighth grades, students delve into pre-algebra and algebra. Students are expected to become adept at using symbolic operations to prepare them for higher levels of analytical and mathematical thinking. Students will end their 8th grade year with a completion of Algebra 1.
Science is an immensely powerful tool that can be used to learn more about God’s creation and God Himself. The middle school science curriculum encourages students to see scientific inquiry as one way to reveal the amazing complexity and orderliness of God’s world and what it means to be good stewards of God’s creation. Through laboratory and outdoor exploration, the students learn the scientific method and how to responsibly use and apply knowledge.
- In sixth grade, students focus on Life Science. Units include plants, animals, the human body, and ecology.
- In seventh grade, students focus on Earth Science, including landforms, waterways, astronomy, and the atmosphere.
- Eighth graders study Physical Science, focusing on matter, energy, electricity, and magnetism.
All students are invited to participate in the school’s annual Science Fair.
Literature and Writing
Literature offers a window into history and culture and also into human relationships. That’s why we use the language arts curriculum to complement social studies units. Students learn to analyze what literature teaches us about history, God’s world, and each other. They are introduced to a wide variety of literature, including oral traditions, poetry, informational texts, short stories, and historical fiction. Writing assignments are linked to projects in other subject areas, and build a foundation of usage and mechanics.
Our students enter high school with a working knowledge of a world language, with one day of Spanish in sixth grade, two days in seventh grade, and three days in eighth grade. Their experience is equivalent to the first year of high school Spanish. Mandarin Chinese is being considered as an additional language in the near future.
Computers are a fundamental part of the middle school curriculum. In sixth grade, students are required to take a course in computer usage. All middle school students learn how technology can be used to enhance learning in each subject area. Students are taught how to use the Internet for research, how to analyze information, and how to use the Internet in a manner that is safe, edifies their education, and honors God. After learning various computer tools, including Microsoft Office, students apply their skills regularly through such projects as written reports and multi-media presentations. This course meets Michigan’s middle school standards for technology.
Our main Bible curriculum provides a systematic study of the Bible that will lead students to discover that God, who manifested Himself in the Old Testament, is eager to manifest Himself today in the lives of children who will enter into fellowship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ. Students are led through the study of the Bible in a way that encourages them to process Biblical truths and apply Biblical principles to daily living. Students learn to depend on the Bible as perfect, complete, and as relevant today as when it was first written. In middle school, students study how the Bible can deepen their understanding of literature, history, science, and other subjects. They also are challenged to develop an informed Christian worldview, cultivate a personal relationship with Jesus, and rely on the Bible to provide a daily foundation for life.