Grade 6English

Sixth grade English focuses on reading a variety of literature and on identifying plot, setting, and character.  The students’ writing exercises emphasize strong, interesting sentences, paragraphs, essays, and creative pieces.  A year-long study of grammar and vocabulary complements this emphasis.  During class discussions, students are encouraged to offer insights, to support ideas with specific details, and to ask questions.

Mathematics

In this course, students work on mastering computation with whole numbers, decimals, fractions, and integers.  Simple to complex numerical expressions are evaluated, and algebraic expressions are simplified, all giving students much practice with following the order of operations and applying the basic number properties.  Much time is devoted to critical thinking, problem solving skills, and showing work process in an organized and thorough way.  Students learn to solve problems using ratios, proportions, and percents.  One and two step equations and inequalities are solved, always showing step by step transformations.  There is a study of basic geometry concepts regarding angles, lines, polygons, perimeter, and area.  Finally, students work with positive and negative decimal and fraction forms of numbers, some basic statistical information, and a variety of applications involving graphing on a rectangular coordinate plane.

History and Social Sciences: The Middle Ages and World Religions

Building upon the fundamental  concepts of culture and civilization established  in fifth grade , students in this course continue to explore the central issues of cultural identity and cultural change. Moving chronologically from ancient Rome to the beginnings of the modern world, this course focuses on the beliefs and influences of four main world religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism.  Students explore the historical and environmental factors leading to events that transformed the world from a set of relatively isolated civilizations to a world increasingly connected by trade and technology.  The course ends with the world on the brink of the Renaissance and the age of exploration. Throughout the course, students will consider how religious belief shapes identity and how the world’s religions are both agents for change and for tradition.  Students continue to hone their skills as historians, with a focus on note-taking, active reading of primary and secondary sources, and research techniques including proper citations and essay writing.  Students learn to evaluate multiple historical sources, and generate original conclusions supported by evidence.  

Science

Sixth grade science focuses on three topics in earth science.  Researching the Sun-Earth-Moon System stimulates investigations of the night skies, the Earth’s rotation and the seasons.  The solar system is considered in the Exploring Planetary Systems.  Finally, Exploring Plate Tectonics teaches students about earthquakes, volcanoes, and mountain building.  Students acquire their knowledge through hands-on learning, manipulation of models, computer simulations, map reading, outdoor investigations, class discussions, and reading.

World Languages

Students are introduced to the fundamental grammar and vocabulary of Chinese, French, and Spanish. Students learn the nuances of grammar in each language and continue to build a working vocabulary in Chinese, French, and Spanish.  The focus is on building confident communicative skills while increasing student awareness of and appreciation for Chinese, French, and Spanish cultures in different parts of the world.  At the end of the third quarter, students will choose the world language they will continue in seventh and eighth grades.

Theater

Students began exploring the nature of theater and the impulse to perform in Grade 5. Tertiary background about the history of the discipline was covered in the combined fifth grade Music and Theater class. This course will offer a more comprehensive study of theater with emphasis on the history of the genre, acting, directing, basic production design, Shakespeare, improvisation, establishing a vocabulary associated with theater, and examining what theater is doing in today’s society.

2D Studio Art

The Middle School Studio Art curriculum offers students a means for developing creative thinking, problem solving and technical skills through 2D studio projects.  Projects are designed to reinforcing their knowledge of the elements and principles of art and build on previously learned technical skills.  Additionally, emphasis is placed on students developing project management skills as they work on long-term projects.  Individual and class critique sessions occur at the closure of projects as an opportunity for students to reflect on their own work and to encourage students to vocalize their experiences and opinions. Sixth grade focuses on reviewing the basics through painting, drawing, sculpture and community based projects. Art History units encompass a concise period in Modern painting through slide shows, discussions, and, often, a trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to view works studied in class. Genres studied include: Impressionism, Expressionism, and Pointillism. The elective Studio Arts activity units are an opportunity for students to explore independently directed projects based on their interests and acquired skills.  Art activities are themed over the course of the year for more directed instruction and include: ceramics, glasswork, mural painting, pottery, and other options varying by semester.

3-D Design and Woodworking

In sixth grade 3-D Design and Woodworking, students build a sculptural wooden container of their own design.  

Computers, Coding, and Technology

Sixth graders may bring a personal tech device to school to use for academic purposes only.  Students sign our Acceptable Use Policy, which allows them the privilege of accessing the MFS WI-FI with their personal devices. Students will participate in project-based learning by completing missions that consist of quests.  Badges will be awarded as students complete quests.  Projects blend academic subject content with technology skills.  Students watch short video tutorials, complete assignments and online assessments.  

Music

In Grade 6 Music students build their creativity and critical thinking skills through music composition, listening and performance.  Students will explore music that is both familiar and unfamiliar by analyzing rhythm, melody, harmony, texture and form as well as learn to play instruments, invent instruments, arrange songs, make visual art, and utilize software programs and technology to complete projects both independently and in small groups.

Performing Arts

Students in sixth grade choose between one of the following performing arts electives for the year.

Middle School Ensemble: The Middle School Ensemble is comprised of brass, wind, percussion, and electronic instruments.  The group tackles a diverse range of repertoire and performs at the winter and spring concerts.  Student commitment is for the entire school year.  Students meet twice in the 6-day rotation, once as the full group, and once by sectional, either brass/percussion/rhythm or winds.

Middle School String Ensemble: The Middle School String Ensemble includes violins, violas, and cellos.  Instruction centers around technique, applied theory, and a wide range of performance pieces from classical to popular music.  The string ensemble performs at the winter and spring concerts.  Student commitment is for the entire school year.  Students meet twice in the 6-day rotation, once as the full group, and once by sectional.

Sixth Grade Choir:  These singers delve into a wide variety of musical styles including, contemporary, folk, and gospel music, as well as more complex traditional tunes.  Students will explore singing in harmony, creating dynamic performance skills, and audition and perform in the MS musical.  Singers are also featured in 3 major shows, the Winter Concert, Choir Showcase, and Spring Concert, over a year-long course that meets twice a cycle, once as a unified Sixth Grade Choir and once with the MS Vocal Arts chorus.

Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Grade MS Vocal Arts:  MS Vocal Arts is offered for all 6th, 7th and 8th grade students wanting the opportunity to enhance their vocal ability, gain performance experience, and sing traditional, popular and musical theatre music.  Students in Sixth Grade Choir and Seventh/Eighth Grade Select Choir will also be a part of this MS chorus.  In the fall semester students will practice blending voices as a full group as well and learning concert pieces.  Throughout the spring semester students will audition for and perform in the MS musical. Singers are also featured in three major shows, the Winter Concert, Choir Showcase, and Spring Concert, over a year-long course that meets once per cycle.

Theater:  Students in grades 6-8 may audition for the Middle School musical in the spring.

Physical Education & Health

Physical Education consists of a wide variety of activities that focus on physical fitness, furthering sport skills, cognitive development, and lifetime recreational pursuits.  To gain a broad foundation, students are presented with activities that encompass individual sports, traditional team sports, and lifetime recreational activities.  Of equal importance are the development of sportsmanship, cooperation, self-discipline, self-esteem, and a positive attitude towards physical fitness and physical endeavors.

The Health curriculum is designed to educate students about a broad range of health topics and issues that are age appropriate and pertinent to their current health interests and needs.  Information presented and discussed enables students to make informed decisions relative to their health, lifestyle, and ultimately to the quality of their life.  A holistic approach to health, viewing the influences and substantial relationships among the physical, mental, and social components of health and their impact on the student’s overall level of well-being, is a primary focus.  Specific topics at this grade level include the following:  Drugs, tobacco, alcohol use/ misuse.