Grade 6 Design classes introduce students to the Design Cycle through a variety of individual and collaborative projects like Rock the Folder, the Cardboard Arcade and the interdisciplinary Rube Goldberg Machine. Students develop skills of problem solving, creative thinking and reflection. Over the course of the year, students also develop familiarity with basic construction, the iterative process and coding. Individuals & Societies
Individuals and Societies is designed to enrich a student’s foundation of conceptual historical knowledge of the world. The overall purpose is to encourage students to create a meaningful connection between what they already know and what they are attempting to learn. Students are introduced to essential geography skills at the start of the year. The relationship between geography and history are an underlying theme throughout. Students begin their study of world history with the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. We also examine the medieval times and the Renaissance. Students focus on reading comprehension, inquiry and note taking skills.Language Acquisition (Chinese or Spanish)
Chinese: In Chinese 6, students learn the basics of Chinese language and explore Chinese culture. By the end of the year, students are able to communicate about themselves and their immediate environment using simple sentences. Students use Pinyin (phonetic symbols) as a supplementary tool to learn the spoken language, but they will also recognize and write simplified Chinese characters. Technology is an important part of this course; students type Chinese characters and complete multi-media projects using laptops and iPads.
Language & Literature
Spanish: Grade 6 Spanish builds foundational awareness of the speaking, reading, writing, and listening components of the language. Students are engaged in a 90% target language environment leaving room for clarification questions. We use Así se Dice, a high school level textbook, and assessments take place often in order to show growth and identify areas for improvement. Topics of interest include: how we see ourselves and others; purposeful shelters; digital life; culinary practices; and team interaction. Grade 6 completes half a year of high school level Spanish.
Grade 6 students focus on interpreting literature, including Greek myths, the play The Miracle Worker
, the novel The Giver
, and selected excerpts from the work of John Steinbeck, as well as learning the mechanics of writing, with a focus on solid paragraph construction and establishing strong proofreading skills. Listening, speaking, note-taking, organizational skills and all learning types of grammar and vocabulary are also integral to this course. Beyond classroom discussion and writing prompts, students engage in novel projects that allow them to choose from selections of literature based on common themes.
Grade 6 Math includes projects, labs, group activities and regular homework assignments to cement and hone skills. Students begin the year with a review of whole number operations and an exploration of numerical expressions and factors. After exploring whole numbers, students work with decimals, fractions, algebraic expressions and properties, ratios and rates, integers, equations, and inequalities. The curriculum is fast paced and builds upon skills learned throughout the year.
Grade 6 Music provides students a chance to learn or to continue playing a stringed instrument. Violins, violas and cellos are provided by the school. With some skills already in place, students prepare music for performances like Lessons & Carols, the All Schools Orchestra Concert, and May Day, explore beginning improvisation, and investigate how music is central to many cultural activities. Science
In each grade level, Middle School Science includes units in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Earth Science. At the start of each year, students explore the process of the Scientific Method to learn about the system scientists use to investigate the universe. Two to three times per year, students design their own laboratory investigations, collect data, process and evaluate their results, and draw conclusions. Highlights for Grade 6 include the Journey to California, where they determine the health of ecosystems in Monterey Bay, and the design and construction of Rube Goldberg Machines in their physics unit.
Grade 6 students investigate Filippo Brunelleschi’s recognition of linear perspective and the impact it has on Western art. They learn about and practice the tenets used to create single point perspective drawings. Time in the pottery studio is dedicated to attributes of ancient architecture and the shrink rate of clay. Finally students take a look at the use of murals and urban art as a way of expressing identity and morals within communities. Students use the design cycle to create a survey and gather information that will inform a community-based mural. Each student designs a mural based on the information they gathered and presents his or her design in a format modeled after the City of Tacoma's proposal protocol.Physical & Health Education
Throughout the year, Middle School students engage in three major components of Physical & Health Education (PHE): Health & Wellness, Social-Emotional Development, and Digital Citizenship. As part of the Health & Wellness component, students focus on learn about muscular strength and endurance, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, and body composition, and they participate in exercises and activities that promote the development of agility, balance, coordination, speed, power, and reaction time. Students also develop a deeper understanding of nutrition, growth, and development. The social-emotional aspect of PHE will allow students to grow and reflect through activities focused in five core competency areas, including self-awareness, self-regulation, social-awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making. Finally, through units focusing on digital citizenship, students develop a broader understanding of their own digital footprints and strategies for self-management and self-care in the digital environment.