Middle School

Core Curriculum

5th Grade

Art
The Fifth Grade art program builds upon the elements of art: line, shape, color, and form, and principles of design: unity, rhythm, proportion, balance, and variety. Students refine their drawing, painting, and sculpting skills to create their own artworks while interpreting artworks made by others and exploring ideas, materials and techniques in this process. They are encouraged to develop ideas for artwork and to use media expressively.

The Fifth Grade units are:
  • People and Their Stories: Students will practice drawing realistic portraits, people in different poses, and create papier-mâché figures of people in motion.
  • Surprises: Materials and Forms: Students experiment with new ideas, materials, and forms. They create photo and paper collages, and imaginative sculpture from found objects.
  • Getting Close to Nature: Students understand that art helps people appreciate nature. They will draw realistic flowers and patterned animals, create an abstract watercolor painting to express nature’s mood, and make an animal sculpture from clay.
  • A World of Wonder: Art and Imagination: Students understand that art helps us to visualize and give form to our imaginations. They create a perspective drawing of outer space, a painting with dreamlike qualities, and a foil relief sculpture of a mythical creature.
  • Sharing: Communication in which students understand that art is a way for people to share their thoughts, feelings, and ideas through a variety of forms and media. They create stories in motion, practice the art of calligraphy, and create a set of symbols to represent different aspects of time spent at school and scroll-like paintings inspired by Asian art.
Bible
The core of the Fifth Grade Bible curriculum is a comprehensive study of the Old Testament. Beginning in Genesis, students will explore Old Testament stories and gain a clear picture of how they fit together and how they direct us towards Jesus Christ. Each lesson includes a principle based on the life of a Bible character. Life application questions at the end of each lesson ask students to analyze information, draw conclusions, and personalize the Biblical principles taught.

One goal of our Bible curriculum is for each student to allow the Holy Spirit to work in his or her life to become more like Jesus Christ. Character trait activities help students relate to people within the Old Testament by showing practical ways of applying Biblical principles to their daily lives. Memorization of scripture verses helps each student internalize God’s Word as they grow in their walk with Him. Students will be challenged to live out their faith by engaging in effective prayer, exhibiting qualities of leadership for others, and by taking part in an annual service projects.

Computer/Technology
Fifth Graders continue to develop their proficiency and their creativity as they use technology. Students create presentations, incorporating a minimum of fifteen slides. Students work collaboratively with one another to share their knowledge and expertise while further honing their keyboarding and research skills. Finally, the Lower School
technology experiences create an appreciation for the virtual possibilities that are becoming the hallmarks of 21st century learning.
Language Arts
Composition writing in Fifth Grade is a process of learning how to construct an organized five paragraph essay. The six components of writing that students develop throughout the year include the following: overall development, organization, support, sentence structure, word choice, and mechanics. Essay types include narrative, expository, descriptive, and persuasive. In addition to constructing essays, students learn to identify and demonstrate an understanding of various forms of poetry during our poetry unit. The celebration of the unit is a “poetry café” where students share their own illustrated poetry books.

The Fifth Grade grammar curriculum is a combination of Shurley English and writing. The purpose is to learn how to apply grammar rules and editing skills to improve their writing. Throughout the year, students learn five patterns of sentence structure. By labeling the various parts of speech and sentence types, students understand how sentences are formed to improve their writing skills. Students also learn additional vocabulary words, punctuation rules, and capitalization rules.

Spelling and vocabulary in Fifth Grade is based off understanding the roots of words. Students learn the meaning and spelling of roots, prefixes, and suffixes. This knowledge is applied and used to encode the spelling of words and decode the spelling of words.
Library
Students are challenged to independently select age-appropriate materials and to read independently during library classes. Fifth Graders are exposed to the Library of Congress organizational structure as an alternative to the Dewey Decimal System. Read-alouds involve more complex themes and promote discussion and debate about plot, characters, and theme. Students select and create a skit based on an easy fiction book and perform the skits for younger students at Whitefield and the Atlanta Youth Academy. The Fifth Grade year culminates in a visit to the Middle/Upper School library for an orientation and discussion about library services in the Middle School.
Math
Fifth Grade math is designed to bridge the transition between lower school and middle school. Students will be challenged while building upon the concrete number skills to a more abstract, symbol-centered math in middle school. The year begins with a review of place value and computational skills. Students will be given opportunities to apply new concepts through homework practice, problem solving, weekly warm-ups, math games, assessments, and real-world projects. Skills throughout the year include vocabulary, estimation, problem solving, communicating mathematical ideas, properties, mathematical/algebraic expressions/equations, divisibility, fractions, ratios, customary/metric measurement conversion, geometry, perimeter/area, coordinate plane, tessellations, and data collection.
Music
In Fifth Grade, students transition from a general music class and each chooses a performing ensemble to join - band, orchestra, or choir. The Fifth Grade is another culmination year, giving students an opportunity to build on all previous skill acquisition by learning to play an instrument or develop vocally. The band is a wind ensemble comprised of the following instruments: flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, and baritone. In the orchestra students may choose from the following string instruments: violin, viola, and cello. The choir is a vocal ensemble of students who learn to effectively use their voice, learning proper breathing technique and tone production. All ensembles rehearse during the school day.
Physical Education
The goal for our Fifth Grade students is to demonstrate competency in locomotor and non-locomotor movements and skills, acquire knowledge of fitness components, be able to demonstrate exercises to increase strength and endurance, while understanding the benefits of regular physical activity. Fifth Grade students are accountable for sportsmanlike conduct through class and competition. The focus on Fifth Grade health is on nutrition, physical fitness, and personal hygiene. The physical education program is designed to develop physically educated individuals who have the knowledge, skills, and confidence to enjoy a lifetime of healthy physical activity.
Reading
The Fifth Grade reading curriculum is ALPHA reading. It is based on teaching the application of reading skills. The students are taught 'how' so they can analyze literature. It is based on teaching the application of reading skills. Students learn reading comprehension skills through reading novels and nonfiction. Students are taught to use visual tools so they are enabled to think more deeply and and expand their analysis of a text. Students learn to identify the main idea and details, summarize, characterization, setting, sequence, fact and opinion, retelling, plot, mood, theme, point of view, in any text. The students are taught how to define words in context and use them in a way that shows understanding of meaning.
Science
Science in fifth grade is a balance between experiential learning and direct instruction as we study five specific units, all with ample Biblical integration. Much of the content is applied to the study of Space Science, leading up to the overnight field trip to Space Camp.

The Physical Science unit involves lab-based learning of energy, light, and the sound. Students will learn about Sir Isaac Newton and how his 3 laws of motion were vital for the creation of rockets. Students will learn about sound and light waves and will apply that knowledge by explaining how the electromagnetic spectrum is used to study the universe. Students will dissect a cow's eye and learn more about how the eye interprets light.

In Space Science, students learn about the Universe and Space Exploration. Students explore the vastness of our universe and analyze its beginning as it relates to the Bible. Planetary knowledge is deepened as students demonstrate their ability to research and collect data about one particular planet and present the project to the class. Study in this unit includes a three day, two night adventure to the Huntsville, Alabama U. S. Space and Rocket Center where students participate in building and launching rockets, as well as take part in a rocket simulation activity.

While students learn the biological make-up and functions of plants, they are able to demonstrate creativity and knowledge of a plant cell by constructing a model to present to the class. Students learn how plants help recycle material, including oxygen and food, and are vital to humans surviving in space, including the growing of plants in micro-gravity on the ISS. The plant unit is concluded with a visit to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens to study biomes and complete a plant scavenger hunt about the Plant Kingdom.

The Earth Science unit, students will study weather including meteorology, highs/lows/Jetstream, weather mapping, and atmosphere. Students will make connections to the study of weather and how the ISS is used to study the Earth and its weather.
Social Studies
The Fifth Grade social studies curriculum focuses on the history of the United States. Students begin the year by exploring the factors that led up to the European settlement of America. Briefly looking at the Reformation and Martin Luther, the stage is set for the Separatists wanting to leave England. This launches the students into studying the settlement of Plymouth. Next the students learn the reasons behind the Revolutionary War and the events that led up to this split from England. Studying the westward expansion of our country teaches the students how the United States grew. The last unit is on the Civil War. The conditions in the North and South prior to the war are studied, along with the strengths and weaknesses of each side. Studying major battles and Sherman's March to the Sea ends the unit.

Heavy emphasis is placed on the Christian foundations of our nation. Students learn about Christian influences through primary resources such as journals and publications from each time period. Additionally, students learn specifically about the Christian faith of the founding fathers, reflected in the creation key of historical documents of our nation such as the Mayflower Compact, Declaration of Independence, and the U.S. Constitution. The Fifth Grade social studies curriculum uses the Pearson Learning Core Knowledge textbook.

The geography portion of the curriculum focuses on having students identify, spell, and locate all of the states and capitals, landforms, the major regions of the U.S., and major national parks.
Spanish
Fifth Grade students continue acquiring new vocabulary with the Total Physical Response Storytelling method. Speaking, reading and writing skills are practiced the first semester with Volume 3 of the Cuentame Gabi Series. In the second semester, verb patterns are studied with the aid of musical verb chants in preparation for the grammar focus of Sixth Grade. The culminating highlight is the preparation for a Spanish/Mexican restaurant outing, where students build confidence and the reward of good Spanish speaking skills is most satisfying.

Biblical and Christian Studies

Bible 6
The 6th grade Bible class is an in-depth study of the Gospel of John. Students will spend time studying the key themes and big ideas of John as well as the historical factors influencing and shaping the presentation and message of John. Students will see how these themes and ideas affect them and will tie the truths of John to their own lives and faith.
Bible 7
In the 7th grade, students will study the character qualities and basic beliefs of a young man or woman of Christ. Topics of discussion will include salvation, the Bible, prayer, witnessing, and daily living in the Spirit. Students will analyze these key truths learned from Scripture, will memorize Scripture connected to these key truths, and will discuss these key truths with peers as led by a teacher.
StoneWorks (8th)
Students learn about specific biblical character attributes and are challenged to make them their own. Unique components of this course include outside activities of fellowship and service, testimonies from parents related to the character traits, and movie clips to reinforce the concepts of the course. Much of the strength of this final Bible class in the Middle School is derived from collaborative efforts among parents and staff members to maintain a vibrant combination of curriculum, lessons, and concurrent activities.

English

Language Arts (6th)
Students grow in breadth and depth of writing through daily practice in grammar and writing. Students explore many types of writing (descriptive, narrative, persuasive, etc.), periodically presenting their work to peers. The course prepares students to communicate their ideas in speaking and in writing more effectively.
English 6
Students are introduced to various types of literature and explore these genres through reading, discussion, and writing. By reading literature, students will be exposed to new horizons and rich experiences. This course serves to encourage students to pursue lifelong passions of reading and learning. A variety of strategies are employed to strengthen student vocabulary, including the study of Greek and Latin prefixes, roots, and suffixes of words.
English 7
Students tackle an in-depth study of both language and literature. Through a variety of methods and means, students not only improve the proficiency of their skills, but also continue to develop their appreciation for the English language. A balanced combination of the study of literature, grammar, vocabulary, and composition achieves these goals.
English 8
Students enhance their basic writing skills with personal insights and connections fostered by identification with literary classics. Students develop awareness that literature offers some insight about the lives they live. Much of the writing engages the literature, and essays of personal insight are a vital component of this course as well. Students continue to study various genres of literature such as poetry, prose, and drama, as well as study the basics of vocabulary and grammar.

Fine Arts

Introduction to Orchestra (6th)
Students in 6th grade will join the Orchestra 1 class for one semester. This is a beginning to intermediate level string class. Students will learn to play violin, viola, cello, harp and bass instruments incorporating note recognition, rhythm, meter, key signatures, ear training and bowing techniques. Students will learn basic music theory and be exposed to many styles of musical repertoire. They will perform in a variety of ensemble settings including several school performances and may play for community events also.
Orchestra 1
This is a beginning to intermediate level string class for grades 7 - 12. Students will learn to play violin, viola, cello, harp and bass instruments incorporating note recognition, rhythm, meter, key signatures, ear training and bowing techniques. Students will learn basic music theory and be exposed to many styles of musical repertoire. They will be required to perform in a variety of ensemble settings including several school performances and may play for community events also.
Orchestra 2
This course is a performance course for intermediate to advanced level string players in grades 7-12. Students will build upon the principles and basic skills from earlier training and they will learn more difficult music theory and more advanced playing techniques. Students will learn music from a wide variety of genres including Classical, Sacred, Irish, Bluegrass, and popular/movie themes. With a focus on building orchestral and string ensemble performance skills, this course gives students several performance opportunities throughout the year including school events as well as events within the community.
Prerequisite: Orchestra 1 and teacher approval
Introduction to Band (6th)
Students in 6th grade will join the Band 1 class for one semester. This course provides an introduction to brass, woodwind, and percussion performance and technique. Students begin by mastering basic rhythm, meter note recognition, and finger placement on their desired instrument through daily exercise and songs from a method book. Playing and written tests measure improvement. Performances include solos, small ensembles, and large group experiences—all of which incorporate varied styles of beginner band literature.
Band 1 (7th - 8th)
This course provides an introduction to brass, woodwind, and percussion performance and technique. Students begin by mastering basic rhythm, meter note recognition, and finger placement on their desired instrument through daily exercise and songs from a method book. Playing and written tests measure improvement. Required performances include solos, small ensembles, and large group experiences—all of which incorporate varied styles of beginner band literature.
Marching/Concert Band (7th - 8th)
This course is a second/third year brass, woodwind, and percussion performance class in a standard high school band style setting. It incorporates one semester of marching band and one semester of concert band. Students will review and build upon basic skills, adding more advanced key signatures, scales, meters, rhythms, note ranges, articulations, and styles. Students will be assessed through required performance and written tests to measure accomplishment of goals. Performances will include varied experiences incorporating method book arrangements, classical and jazz styles, standard band arrangements, and a variety of level 2 - 4 literature.
Prerequisite: Band 1
MS Theater (7th-8th)
MS Theater covers the basics of acting technique, technical theater, and application through an in-class play project. As the middle school years can be a time of extreme change and self-discovery, one of the goals of this class is to help students find and develop the talents that God has given them.
Introduction to Chorus (6th)
6th grade students join the MS Choir class for one semester. As they sing, students will learn the basics of good vocal tone, singing technique, balance and blend and sight-reading skills. They will be required to perform in several school and community performances.
MS Choir (7th - 8th)
In this full year course, students will learn the basics of good vocal tone, singing technique, balance and blend and sight-reading skills. They'll work toward mastery of the discipline of ensemble excellence. They will be required to perform in several school and community performances.
Introduction to Art (6th)
In this 9-week course, students begin to develop an understanding of art through the study of the basic principles of drawing and color, develop confidence and ability to express creativity through different two-dimensional and three-dimensional projects, and develop an “artist's eye” that extends into their viewing and appreciating God’s world around them.
Art 7
Students are provided opportunities that emphasize originality, diversity, and creativity, as well as instruction in the techniques of drawing, elements of art, and the principles of design. Students focus on the creative process as they create two-dimensional and three-dimensional projects in every basic medium. The students explore the creativity of other times and other cultures and how it relates to their own life and artwork. The classroom is set up like a working art studio where each student will have the freedom to pursue projects of their interest.
Art 8
Students create two-dimensional and three-dimensional projects from every basic medium. Projects include critical analysis and discussions on aesthetic value and function. The students will discover how art can affect culture and the environment. Emphasis is on the elements of art and the principles of design, and their relationship to the planning of each project, adding focus on creative thought and processes. The classroom is set up like a working art studio where each student will have the freedom to pursue projects of their interest.


Foreign Language

Spanish 1A
This course emphasizes basic comprehension of this language through reading and translation. Students will develop an understanding of the history of this language and the culture in which it was/is spoken through selected readings. They will acquire a broad working vocabulary with comprehensive derivative and grammatical study. This course is taught in one semester.
Spanish 1B
This course enables students to acquire basic communicative skills in this language while developing an awareness and appreciation of its culture. Because the emphasis of the course will be on language acquisition for communicative purposes, classroom activities are primarily communicative in nature, in order that students have many opportunities to use this language in meaningful contexts. Students receive one unit of Upper School credit in a foreign language upon completion of this course.
French 1A
This course is the first half of French 1 and emphasizes basic conversation skills through fundamental linguistics. The student learns how to greet people, introduce oneself, talk about friends and family, and discuss daily activities and leisure pastimes. The vocabulary and grammatical concepts will be reinforced through listening, speaking, and written activities. French 1A will introduce the student to francophone cultures. This course is taught in one semester.
French 1B
This course is the second half of French 1, the sequel to French 1A. Students will continue to build their vocabulary and will work towards proficiency through listening, speaking, and writing activities. There is an emphasis on proper written and oral expression. Students will continue to learn about various francophone cultures.
Latin 1A
This course emphasizes basic comprehension of this language through reading and translation. Students will develop an understanding of the history of this language and the culture in which it was/is spoken through selected readings. They will acquire a broad working vocabulary with comprehensive derivative and grammatical study. This course is taught in one semester.
Latin 1B
This course enables students to acquire basic communicative skills in this language while developing an awareness and appreciation of its culture. Because the emphasis of the course will be on language acquisition for communicative purposes, classroom activities are primarily communicative in nature, in order that students have many opportunities to use this language in meaningful contexts. Students receive one unit of Upper School credit in a foreign language upon completion of this course.

History

Old Testament Bible (6th)
Students gain a general overview of the Old Testament while learning some of the history and geography of early civilizations that existed in the Old Testament biblical era. During this study of the Old Testament the consistent theme of God’s redemption of humankind is reinforced through in-depth studies of people who are highlighted in the Old Testament. The content is made relevant for students in Middle School by emphasizing applications of the biblical principles found in the Old Testament.
United States History/Civics (7th)
This course is an excursion into the history of the United States of America and into the mechanics of American citizenship. The course focuses on key events, discoveries, people, dates, and places associated with the founding and development of the United States as a nation under God. The primary goal is to cultivate a curiosity and excitement about history in students through numerous and diverse hands-on projects and activities.
World Cultures (8th)
This course is comprehensive and diverse, and circles the globe in an effort to educate students about the many different cultures that inhabit it. Students develop a basic foundation of knowledge for further, deeper study in history. The course surveys geography, history, philosophy, religion, politics, economics, current events, and cultural studies in an attempt to understand why people live the way they do. Assisting students in developing a Christian worldview is emphasized by examining all cultures through a Christian lens.

Math

Math 6
Math 6 is the first step in helping students transition from elementary math to developing pre-algebra skills. Emphasis is on the following concepts: numerical reasoning; computational skills and operations with rational numbers; relationships between decimals; fractions and percents; variables, expressions, and equations; measurement and graphing of data; and an introduction to planar geometry.
Pre-Algebra (7th)
This course is designed to expand on existing knowledge of number sense, number theory, and estimation with rational numbers, including integers. The course will develop the fundamental concepts of algebraic thinking such as patterns and linear relationships while preparing for algebra.
Math 8 (8th)
This course focuses directly on algebraic reasoning. Algebraic language is reinforced through the use of variables, expressions, and equations. Students work with linear functions and graphs as they review basic skills they will need in algebra and geometry.
Algebra 1 (8th)
This course will continue the study of algebraic concepts with a concentration on application. Students engage in the following areas of learning: analyze and model problems using expressions and equations; solve and graph linear, exponential, and quadratic functions; perform operations and factoring with polynomials; and simplify radicals and rational expressions.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of Pre-Algebra with a grade of B or higher, approved standardized test scores, and teacher recommendation.
Honors Algebra 1 (8th)
This advanced course will continue the study of algebraic concepts with a concentration on application. Students engage in the following areas of learning: analyze and model problems using expressions and equations; solve and graph linear, exponential, and quadratic functions; perform operations and factoring with polynomials; and simplify radicals and rational expressions.
Prerequisite: Successful completion of Pre-Algebra with a grade of A, approved standardized test scores, and teacher recommendation.

Physical Education

PE 6
PE is designed to meet the physical, spiritual, mental, and social needs of the whole child. The primary objectives are to improve physical fitness, increase knowledge and skills of lifetime sports, and develop awareness of health practices, all with a Christian perspective. Included in the curriculum each week are topics in health, nutrition, and hygiene. Students undergo fitness testing three times a year. Sports emphasis includes a variety of individual and team sports.
PE 7
This course builds on principles of fitness and health that were learned in PE 6. Fitness testing is included periodically. Sports emphasis includes a variety of individual and team sports. In addition to topics in health, nutrition, and hygiene, students have a three week block covering sex education and sexual purity issues. This same-gender instructional block is age-appropriate and places heavy emphasis on a lifestyle of abstinence.
PE 8
This course continues to build on principles of fitness and health. Sports emphasis during class time is based on student participation in extra-curricular sports activities (if appropriate). Leadership training, including initiative problems and trust games, is heavily emphasized in this course. In addition to topics in health, nutrition, and hygiene, students have a three week block covering sex education and sexual purity issues. This same-gender instructional block is age-appropriate and places heavy emphasis on a lifestyle of abstinence.

Science

Life Science (6th)
This course introduces students to the study of living things and life processes. Students examine how the tools and processes of scientific inquiry impact scientific knowledge and use the tools of investigation safely and effectively. Scientific concepts are explored, such as heredity; the structure and function of cells and organisms; factors that affect the diversity of life; and the relationships among organisms and their physical environment. Students investigate the beauty of God’s creation and understand the dynamic connections and interactions among natural systems.
Earth Science (7th)
Students in this course are introduced to many topics and concepts not found in any other science course. The year is divided into studies of geology, hydrology, meteorology, and astronomy. Lab activities are designed to make topics relevant to the student and to give the student opportunities to collect and analyze raw data. Throughout the year, the order of God’s universe will be highlighted, and students will develop foundational knowledge that will enable them to make decisions regarding the stewardship of natural resources.

Physical Science (8th)
Students are taught the broad, unifying themes that integrate the major concepts of natural systems, with God and Creationism as the foundation. This course explores such concepts as energy, motion, the nature of matter, kinds of substances and how they interact, electricity and magnetism and how they are related, and wave phenomena. Students examine how the tools and processes of scientific inquiry impact scientific knowledge and use the tools of investigation safely and effectively. Using their science knowledge and skills, students demonstrate the ability to use scientific principles to make personal decisions and to take positions on societal issues.

Technology

Research & Technology (6th)
In this 9-week course, 6th grade students will develop Internet awareness skills and hone their computer etiquette. Basic keyboarding skills will be reviewed. Students will be introduced to research applications using the Internet as well as data bases available through the Whitefield Library.
This class will be taught opposite a 9-week art course during either semester. The alternate semester, students will take a performance music class: band, choir, or orchestra.
Computer Science (8th)
The primary objective of this course is to complete a study of basic computer science concepts through the use of Alice, a 3D visual programming tool. Alice allows students to readily learn fundamental programming constructs through the creation and animation of engaging virtual worlds. During the semester students are also given an opportunity to work with Java, a more traditional, object-oriented programming language. The responsible use of computers is stressed throughout the course.
(This spring course is one semester in length and is held during 8th grade PE. Students alternately take PE for one A-G rotation then move to the MS Computer Lab for the next rotation.)

Graduation Requirements

Graduation Requirements Units
English 4
Mathematics 4
Science 4
History and Social Sciences 3
Foreign Language 3
Biblical and Christian Studies 3
Fine Arts 1
Health and Physical Education 1
Electives 2

  • Mathematics credits must include Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2.
  • Science credits must include Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.
  • History and Social Science credits must include European History and US History.
  • Foreign Language credits must all be from the same foreign language.
  • Biblical and Christian Studies graduation requirements can be adjusted for students transferring to Whitefield Academy without any prior Bible courses.
  • The Fine Arts credit must be in addition to the 2 Electives credit requirement.
  • Any overages in core curriculum graduation requirements can count towards the 2 Electives credit requirement.


Suggested Course Plan

Student Course Plan - Middle School