Grade 7English

Seventh grade English broadens the study of literature to include a sampling of various genres: science fiction, classic fiction, historical fiction, plays, poetry, and short stories.  Through reading, research projects, and presentations, students learn about theme, plot, setting, conflict, mood, and character analysis.  Essay writing tailored to fit each literature unit encourages the development of writing skills.  To further oral presentation skills, a special unit on story telling is included.  In addition, grammar and vocabulary lessons supplement the study of literature.  

History and Social Sciences: The Atlantic World (1300-1800)

This course starts with a hands-on project to develop geographic skills.  Several short quizzes ensure students will become familiar with the countries that will be studied this year.  The confluence of cultures in West Africa, Europe, and the American continent is the primary focus of this course with the events of 1492 as a turning point.  First critically examining the impact of the voyages of Christopher Columbus students will then look at notions of culture by exploring specific indigenous and cultures prior to contact with Europeans.  A study of the social, political and economic climates in Europe that fueled the Age of Discovery will lead us to explore concepts of colonization and conquest.  The class will investigate the role of the trading network that spanned the Atlantic Ocean through economic, cultural, and political lenses.  Later in the year, the focus will return to Europe with an in depth look at the Renaissance, Reformation, and rise of European Absolutism.  Major skill focuses include class discussion, small group work, essay composition, note-taking, annotation, and assessment preparation.

Mathematics: Honors and Regular Introductory Algebra

The honors and regular grade 7 math programs are a comprehensive introduction to algebra, from basic simplifying algebraic expressions to solving and graphing quadratic and linear equations.  Areas of focus include algebraic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, as well as polynomials, factoring, inequalities, systems of equations in two variables, rational and irrational numbers, solving equations (linear, radical, quadratic), and problem solving. Students taking this course at the honors level must have exhibited a high level of competence in their sixth grade math course as they will be introduced to many new concepts at a deep level and will be expected to progress at very rapid pace throughout the school year.

Science

Seventh grade science is a physical science course divided between chemistry and physics.  Matter is explored by studying the effects of temperature on mass, volume and density.  A long-term research project on compounds and their properties is followed by a culminating experiment on separating mixtures.  Forces and motion are studied through the design, construction and testing of three types of cars while electricity is investigated by the building and testing circuits, conducting an inventory of home appliances.

World Languages (Level Ia)

Students begin the equivalent of high school level Chinese, French, or Spanish in seventh grade (Level Ia) and continue through eighth grade (Level Ib) with a progression of skill building activities.  The program in all three languages utilizes text and audiovisual materials to emphasize situational vocabulary and to develop strong communication skills.  Language skills evolve with increased emphasis on character writing, spelling, and grammar.  Through films, singing and listening to music, and reading newspapers and magazines that reflect the way of life in Latin America, Spain, the Francophone world, or Asia, students are exposed to the cultures of those countries.  The World Language program in Middle School encourages not only a proficiency in the language but also an open-minded attitude about other cultures. Upon the particularly strong completion of Chinese or Spanish in seventh grade (A- or better for the year, along with the teacher recommendation), a student can take advanced (Honors) language in eighth grade.  Students who receive a year-end grade of C- or below are strongly encouraged to complete summer work.

2D Studio Art

Seventh grade is introduced to perspective drawings and architectural drafting.  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 are as follows: Fauvism, Cubism, and Pablo Picasso.

3-D Design and Woodworking

As a culmination to the middle school curriculum, seventh and eighth grade 3-D Design and Woodworking students design and build small pieces of furniture.

Computers, Coding and Technology

Seventh 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. This course exposes students to a wide variety of technology skills that are designed to be of both academic and personal use.  Students are encouraged to be strategic, savvy problem solvers who are able to work both independently and in cooperative groups to tackle technological challenges.  The course is mostly project-based so that students can learn in a meaningful context.

Music

This music course focuses on musical form and analysis.  Specifically, we will explore music composition and how pieces are structured, using vernacular music (contemporary songwriting) as the material.  We will also explore the reflection of a society in its art, specifically music.  Students will move from analysis of others’ work to creating their own music using various technologies.

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:  Relationships, reproductive system, sex education.

Elective Performing and Visual Arts Activities

Students in Grade 7 have the options to choose between one of these visual and performing arts offerings for one or two of their activity periods.

Studio Arts: These 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.

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.

Seventh/Eighth Grade Select Choir:  Select Choir is a group for ambitious and advanced singers seeking multiple performance opportunities and a chance to form the core singers for our middle school.  Special performances for this unique group include an appearance with the US Choir, singing for important school events, and traveling for a theme park concert performance! Students will sing a variety of accompanied and acapella music strengthening their vocal technique and harmonizing skills, as well as 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 select 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.