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Our Middle School students at BFS, grades 6-8, are given more independence to demonstrate a comprehensive array of academic skills. The academic transition from elementary to high school is reinforced through our staff personalizing the curriculum within each course based on students’ interests, academic skills, and standardized assessments.

Our core subject areas – Mathematics, English Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies – are designed to engage and challenge all students and promote personal academic confidence as they continue their schooling here or elsewhere.

Within the elective subject areas, the students in the Middle School – for the first time in their BFS experience – can choose classes of interest in the Arts, Physical Education, World Languages and other subjects. Here students sample many disciplines, which may prove to be a passion or interest in the future. In the elective program, we believe that by offering the best courses based on faculty talents and student interest, we best prepare our kids for all future academic challenges.

The course descriptions for the 2017-18 school year can be found here.

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Grade 6 English Language Arts

In 6th grade, students will strengthen their literacy skills through the reading and writing workshop model of instruction over two periods each day. Students will explore many genres and themes across reading workshop. In a writing workshop students will hone their craft and skills by writing extensively in personal narrative, literary essay and research-based information writing units. Students will also have daily opportunities to focus on grammar and vocabulary, deepening their knowledge through the study of roots, prefixes and suffixes. This class will provide students an environment where each student has the opportunity to grow as confident, critical, and independent thinkers and set the stage for the high expectations of middle school and beyond.

Grade 7 English Language Arts

The workshop model continues in 7th Grade English. In the reading workshop, students will increase agency and independence while reading through a variety of genres. In the writing workshop, students will experiment with both narrative and expository writing, increasing their understanding of focus, specific details, and voice.

Grade 8 English Language Arts

In their writing workshop, students can expect to take their writing to a more polished level, both in terms of grammar and style, while they experiment with expressing their perspectives effectively. In their reading workshop, students will practice a deeper level of inferential thinking while supporting claims with relevant evidence.

Mathematics

Three Courses are offered as part of the Middle School Mathematics Block.

Grade 6 Mathematics Course 1

In this enriched class, students will investigate and explore fraction operation, two- and three-dimensional measurement, rational numbers, similarity, proportional reasoning, integers, exponents, variables, equations, linear relationships, and probability. Emphasis will be placed on fully communicating mathematical work, understanding mathematical notation, and multiple representations, i.e., exploring mathematical concepts simultaneously through graphs, tables, equations and written explanations.

Grade 7 Pre-Algebra

In this enriched class, students will investigate and explore rational and real numbers, integer and exponential operations, data analysis and probability, plane geometry, proportional reasoning, equations and inequalities, slope, sequences and functions, polynomials and logic and discrete math. Emphasis will be placed on fully communicating mathematical work, understanding mathematical notation, and  multiple representations, i.e., exploring mathematical concepts simultaneously through graphs, tables, equations and written explanations.

Grade 7, 8, 9 Algebra I

In this enriched class, students will investigate and explore equations, inequalities, functions and linear functions, systems of equations and inequalities, exponents and polynomials, factoring polynomials, quadratic functions and equations, data analysis and probability. For advanced students, some of Algebra II topics will be introduced (exponential, radical and rational functions and equations). Emphasis will be placed on fully communicating mathematical work, understanding mathematical notation, and multiple representations, i.e., exploring mathematical concepts simultaneously through graphs, tables, equations and written explanations.

Social Studies

Different subjects are taught per grade level in the Social Studies block:

Grade 6 Ancient History

The Ancient World History course covers the birth of humanity and growth of civilizations from Mesopotamia and Egypt to Greece and Rome. The course will include a discussion of characteristics of civilizations including the development of agriculture, governments, division of labor, social hierarchies, and culture. Students will focus on causes, effects, and turning points in the rise and fall of various civilizations. They will investigate major religions including Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam and their impact on governments, society, and culture. The course should be rigorous and relevant with instruction that integrates thinking skills, historical processes, and content so that students are able to apply their learning to their own lives. Instruction should include the integration of concepts and principles from history, economics, geography, civics, and the humanities.

Grade 7 Geography A

Geography is the study of the world, its people, and the landscapes they create.  During this year, we will be learning about the people of the world and their interactions with their environment.  We will be examining the physical geography, history and culture of countries and regions throughout the world.  At BFS, World Geography is a two-year course taught in the seventh and eighth grades.  In World Geography 7 we will learn the themes and essential elements of studying geography and cover The Americas, Europe, and Russia.

Grade 8 Geography B

Geography is the study of the world, its people, and the landscapes they create.  During this year, we will be learning about the people of the world and their interactions with their environment.  We will be examining the physical geography, history and culture of countries and regions throughout the world.  At BFS, World Geography is a two-year course taught in the seventh and eighth grades.  In World Geography 8 we will learn about Asia, Africa, and the Pacific.

Science

Depending on the grade level of the student, different subjects are taught to Middle School students.

Grade 6 Earth Science

The primary focus for this course will be on earth sciences; Students will have the opportunity to explore the interesting world of science by participating in a variety of activities and differentiated assessment that cater to the different learning styles of individual students, while still encouraging the development and utilization of new skills and study techniques. There is also a strong emphasis on the scientific method which will be reinforced via laboratory work where students will learn and practice the procedure for conducting experiments. The units of study for this course are Mapping, plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, erosion, weather factors, and astronomy.

Grade 7 Life Science

The primary focus for this course will be on life sciences; however we will cover some earth and physical sciences also. Students will have the opportunity to explore the interesting world of science by participating in a variety of activities and differentiated assessment that cater to the different learning styles of individual students, while still encouraging the development and utilization of new skills and study techniques. There is also a strong emphasis on the scientific method which will be reinforced via laboratory work where students will learn and practice the procedure for conducting experiments.

The units of study for this course are geologic time, evolution, cell processes, genetics, and structure and function in living things.

Grade 8 Physical Science

The primary focus for this course will be on physical sciences, which is composed of chemistry and physics. Students will have the opportunity to explore the interesting world of science by participating in a variety of activities and differentiated assessment that cater to the different learning styles of individual students, while still encouraging the development and utilization of new skills and study techniques. There is also a strong emphasis on the scientific method which will be reinforced via laboratory work where students will learn and practice the procedure for conducting a controlled experiment. The units of study for this course are motion, forces, waves, electricity, magnetism, structure of matter, elements, the periodic table, atoms and bonding, chemical reactions, acids and bases, and carbon chemistry.

Within the elective subject areas, the students in the Middle School can choose classes of interest in the Arts, Physical Education, World Languages and other subjects. Here students sample many disciplines, which may prove to be a passion or interest in the future.

General

Grades 6, 7, 8 Urban Agriculture (Science/Elective)

Learn about plants, and the joys of growing them for beauty and food. Join your classmates in an exploration of local community farming and sustainability practices. Field trips will be a part of this course. Hands-on products and projects will help students to gain knowledge and understanding of topics including basic plant physiology, organic farming and permaculture, tree fruits and pruning, growing vegetables for harvest, organic farming practices, preparation of food stuffs and canning, harvesting of kelp and other seaweeds for food, seed harvest and storage for replanting, composting, mycology, garden planning and other topics.

 

Grades 6,7,8  Physical Education / Health

Physical education for MS students consists of individual activities, group/team activities, and outdoor educational activities. Health-related physical fitness and wellness activities are promoted and supported throughout the curriculum. The health course will be embedded within the Physical Education course including healthy cooking and eating, fitness testing and goal-setting, anatomy and physiology of the human body, disease prevention, safety, and communication and self-esteem unit. Students will be actively engaged in every lesson, and activities will include making meals, assessing their fitness, doing labs, first aid, self-defense, and much more. Applied health will provide the opportunity for students to put what they have previously learned into practice.

Technology Skills

Grades 6,7,8  Maker Space: Design and Engineering

This year long, project-driven course is devoted to solving problems and creativity. Students will analyze problems, create solutions, and test their designs. They will learn to use a variety of materials from paper-craft, traditional wood construction, Lego robotics, and 3D printing as well as others to solve tasks. These tasks will be a combination of practical problems to be solved for the benefit of BFS, problems posed by the teacher, and problems and designs that the students will come up with on their own. Activities will include identifying possible construction projects, determining materials needed, learning the safe and proper use of hand and power tools, working both independently and collaboratively, and the basic use of circuits and programming to accomplish tasks.

Arts

Grades 6 – 12 Visual Arts (Elective/Arts Credit)

Explore visual arts! Using a variety of media (such as pencil, paint, collage and sculpture), students create projects that range from the political to the personal and whimsical—for example, a collage that makes a powerful visual statement about an important issue or a Picasso-like sculpture splashed with color and pattern. A key focus is the language of art, known as the Elements and Principles of Design. Some key art movements are studied as well as the larger question: “What is Art?” Feedback and reflection are other important parts of the learning process, facilitated by our art teacher. This class will open students’ eyes to new ideas about art and creativity.

Grades 6 – 12      Studio Arts (Elective/Arts Credit)

This is a class designed with the serious art student in mind. We will emphasize art as an ongoing process that involves you making informed and critical decisions while working in a number of different artistic realms: painting, drawing, and creating various 3 dimensional pieces. You will add to your technical artistic skills and become more aware of all aspects of visual artistic elements. Original pieces will be created and critiqued by both peers and the instructor.

Grades 6 – 12     Orchestra A/B (Elective/Arts Credit)

This performance based class includes music composed for small instrumental ensembles and performed without a conductor. Traditionally intended for performance in a room or reception hall, often solely for the performers’ own pleasure, chamber music is now often heard in concert halls. Students will hone their musical skills and perform publicly numerous times throughout the year.

Grades 6 – 8  Beginning Band(Elective/Arts Credit)

This class is for any and all beginners wanting to learn how to play a woodwind or brass instrument. You need absolutely no experience on your instrument in order to enroll in this class. Some instruments will be made available to play. This is an ideal class if you wish to pursue performing in concert, wind, or jazz bands.

World Languages

Grade 8-11     Spanish I (Foreign Language Credit)

This first-year Spanish sequence will introduce students to the basics of Spanish and give them confidence to begin to express themselves in a new language. While “traveling” around the Spanish-speaking world, students communicate about their family and friends, likes and dislikes, school, food and healthy lifestyle choices. Lessons focus on specific strategies to help students improve in the four skill areas of listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

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