Seventh grade mathematics is a course designed to build on the concepts discovered in sixth grade math and prepare students for the mathematics studied in eighth grade. Throughout the course, basic mathematical and problem-solving skills are emphasized while preparing for the skills needed in algebra. Probability, data analysis and statistics concepts are explored through discussions and activities. Students begin to investigate the elements of algebra as they examine operations with signed numbers and linear relationships through graphs and tables. While studying linear relationships, students sketch and interpret graphs that describe real-world situations. They also write and evaluate variable expressions, leading to the solving of simple equations. A look at geometric concepts allows students to experience visualizing three-dimensional structures while they explore the concepts of surface area and volume.
Our science program is an integrated program for a whole year. We use themes to create a framework for understanding the connections between science disciplines. In this way, students learn that seemingly different processes, structures, or systems can be shown to have underlying similarities. Students are asked to learn science by engaging their hands and their minds. By doing science activities and analyzing their results, students learn the whys and the hows, not just the whats and whens. Ultimately, they learn to see science as a system for making sense of the world. At all times, concepts and skill development are emphasized over memorization of facts.
- Organisms: Emphasis on Plants
- Engineering: Air Powered Dragster
The seventh grade curriculum is set to develop the reading and writing skills of adolescent girls, at an age where critical thinking skills are emerging and maturing. To achieve this, girls read classic literature and more contemporary works centered on the themes of courage, Agape Love and standing up for what is right and true. In addition, poetry, pertaining to the curricular theme, is explored. Students produce their own writings in many genres, including a monologue, short story, creative essay and poetry. The writing process also focuses on analytical writing, honing skills such as thesis writing and quote integration for support. Students also work on vocabulary and grammar skills to enhance the fluency of their reading and writing.
U.S. History and Government
The seventh grade U.S. History and Government course begins with a unit reviewing the geography of the United States. An examination of what history is and why we study it is followed by an in-depth look at European explorers and their interactions with various Native tribes. Students debate what role guns, germs and steel had in the extermination, as well as pacification, of the Native Americans. They also explore the important social, economic, religious, and political issues of the Thirteen Colonies with a focus on slavery and the triangle trade. Students examine all three branches of the federal government, focusing on presidential power, influential Supreme Court cases and how a bill makes its way through Congress. They also analyze the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and how various groups can and still do interpret them. The class then explores westward expansion and the major events that helped tear the country apart from 1820-1860 leading to the Civil War. We look at the pros and cons of Reconstruction and what it meant for different social groups. Jim Crow laws and the eventual Civil Rights movement are analyzed during this section as well. Students then debate captains of industry vs. robber barons as we analyze the Gilded Age and the gap between the rich and the poor. This leads us into the 20th century and a detailed exploration of progressivism. We then explore the causes of World War I, how it led to World War II and the crippling Great Depression and Dust Bowl that occurred in between. Finally, we look at World War II from the view of five different countries to better understand the massive impact it had on not just the United States, but the entire world.
The study of foreign language is a key component of the Middle School curriculum. All students can continue studying their chosen foreign language or begin a new language. In addition, all eighth grade students undertake a year of Latin while continuing their study of Spanish, French or Chinese. New students entering RPCS during Middle School are placed in foreign language according to their experience, ability and interest. Four languages are offered to Middle School students: French, Spanish, Chinese, and Latin. For students new to RPCS without prior experience studying French or Spanish, preparation may take the form of summer study or work with a tutor followed by a placement test.
French, Grades 6 – 8:
For students who began the study of French prior to entering Middle School, French IB (sixth grade), IIA (seventh grade), and IIB (eighth grade) continue the presentation of the fundamentals of the French language in a highly structured program. French vocabulary and idioms are presented with emphasis on developing conversational skills. The goal is to for students to be able to function comfortably in a French-speaking environment. Students will also learn how to write strong, grammatically correct sentences and paragraphs. These courses also seek to broaden the students’ cultural awareness of French-speaking nations around the world by using multiple forms of technology. Upon successful completion of this Middle School sequence, students may advance to French III at the start of ninth grade.
Spanish, Grades 6 – 8:
For students who began the study of Spanish prior to entering Middle School, Spanish IB (sixth grade), IIA (seventh grade), and IIB (eighth grade) continue the fundamentals of the Spanish language in a highly structured program. Spanish vocabulary and idioms are presented with an emphasis on developing conversational skills. The goal is for students to develop the skills to function comfortably in a Spanish-speaking environment. Students will learn how to write strong, grammatically correct sentences and paragraphs. These courses also seek to broaden students’ cultural awareness of various Spanish-speaking countries around the world. The texts are supplemented with technology to introduce students to the various Hispanic cultures. Students are also expected to research and create multimedia projects reflecting different aspects of learning another language and culture. Upon successful completion of this sequence, students may advance to Spanish III at the start of ninth grade.
Chinese, Grades 6 – 8:
A three-year sequence in Chinese is offered to students in the Middle School. In this course, students will learn the structures and vocabulary necessary to communicate in Mandarin Chinese about aspects of daily life. Students will also study the customs, life, and historical geography of China. This course is available to students who are not taking French or Spanish. Beginning Chinese may be offered in the sixth grade in years of sufficient demand. Students who successfully complete three years of Chinese in the Middle School may be eligible to enter Chinese 2 in Upper School.
Introduction to Latin, Grade 7:
Intro to Latin is a course for students who have not yet studied foreign language in depth. It is designed to prepare students for their study of Latin I in eighth grade by introducing fundamental concepts of the language. In addition, the course builds foreign language study skills needed for success in any language, and it strengthens vocabulary development through a study of key Latin and Greek word roots. Intro to Latin meets four days out of the 10 day cycle in alternation with LSL 7.