Seventh Grade

Curriculum Update :: January, 2014

Debate & Public Speaking

We have a lot to accomplish in the weeks that remain. This week, students will explore the official topics used this year and in previous years by middle school debate teams. This process will yield a student- driven selection of 10 – 12 topics that require research; students will debate in two person teams on these topics. We finish off the quarter with our debate tournament using topics suggested by Upper School teachers that are either relevant to their teaching area of expertise and/or a subject they are interested in. The tournament will be organized in such a way that the debate to determine tournament champion will take place during Upper School assembly.

Design Studio

Design Studio students are wrapping up their work in industrial and furniture design and are now looking in on the world of advertising. After becoming more familiar with the work of world renowned designer Milton Glaser and logo design students will choose which area of advertising they are going to focus on and create a multi medium design. Before our elective ends we will dive into the the world of fashion., use technology to create creatures for sci-fi film and present our designs to various "clients".


Seventh grade English students are now well into the engaging plot of the novel Surviving Antarctica, and they are bursting with questions: Which of the five contestants will be MVP of Historical Survivor? Will they all truly survive Antarctica? and predictions: After a lifetime of being a passive viewer, Steve will take action! Andrew’s true talents are as yet undiscovered. Discussing the text as a class has provided all readers opportunity to dive into the exploration of character, conflict, point-of-view, and other key literary elements that guide our reading of the novel. Students have steadily improved their ability to work together to ask effective questions and provide meaningful answers while balancing the level of participation to allow everyone’s voice to be heard. As the book comes to a close, students will begin work on their second formal essay of the year. While structure remains paramount, writers will also work to develop nuanced analysis of cause and effect within the text. The skills emphasized in this writing assignment will become the standard for future work, including formal writing conventions like third person voice and the literary present, and references to specific diction within textual evidence. Vocabulary study is ongoing, with students working as a team to teach each other the words and to support long-term recall by associating words with striking images.


This month the 7th grade Latin students will wrap up Lesson 10, completing our study of 2nd conjugation verbs. We will then move on to Lesson 11, which features the ablative of place where. This is a way to use noun endings, in combination with certain prepositions, to express where an object is located or where an event is taking place. At the end of this lesson, students will demonstrate their understanding of this construction through a composition project. Students will use the program Comic Life to create Latin travel logs, documenting the activities of a fictional character on vacation.


Students will begin the inequalities unit where relationships between quantities are not equal graphically and algebraically. This includes figuring out the maximum or minimum value, called the boundary point, for various situations. For instance, students can figure out the minimum number of people that have to come to the fundraising event in order to break even with the associated costs to run the event or the lowest score they can get on the next assessment to still maintain an A average. Toward the end of January, 7-3 will examine how personal choices can impact the climate change and work with inequalities to stay within a limited carbon budget. 7-4 will research the environmental impact and costs of using cups made out of various materials such as paper, plastic, Styrofoam, or ceramic.

Math app of the month: Sector 33 by NASA

Become an air traffic controller and as the planes merge into the same traffic stream, you have to adjust the speeds of the planes and routes to make sure the planes are spaced appropriately from each other and land on time. Each minute one plane is late all of the other planes flying behind it are also affected. Logic and reasoning are used to play this and the best part is, the app is free!


In Upper School PE we will continue to develop our physical fitness and work on muscular strength with a focus on core. PE continues with our basketball unit, as students will participate in a 3 on 3 basketball tournament. Each student was placed on a team based on skill level and teams will compete against the other teams in the class, standings will be kept as well as playoffs and a championship game. We will also begin to focus on jump rope in class as we prepare for the 3rd annual Jump Rope for Heart event in February.


The seventh grade will enter “Middle School Medical School” in January. While attending MSMS, each student is assigned a lab partner who will help complete projects and labs. To begin their medical careers, the students will study the body systems, beginning with the skeletal system. Ultimately, the students will “create” their own two dimensional “cadavers”, beginning with bones, then various other systems working to constructing (and understanding) an entire human body.

Social Studies

This month, in seventh grade social studies, we will explore the American Revolution and the foundation of the United States of America. We will also explore the economic, political, and philosophical beliefs that inspired American Colonists to take up arms against the powerful British Empire. We will also research the war itself as well as its effects. We will also begin to discuss the organization of the American government and the reasons behind. We will continue to explore primary source comprehension, annotation, and summarizing. We will begin writing DBQ essays using primary sources.


Seventh grade Spanish students continue to practice and improve their command of the preterit tense. To practice these skills further, students will read two Latin-American legends, one from Costa Rica, La cascada de la novia, and El mone de nuestro alimento, an Aztec legend. The class will identify and analyze the oral folkloric traditions of each legend. After students identify the essential qualities of a legend, students will create their own legend digitally. To accomplish this, students will utilize graphic organizers, and participate in other activities to support language acquisition and learning.

Theater Design

Happy New Year! Students in theatre design did a great job with their sewing projects and we have moved on to painting! I am having a wonderful time with them.