The Middle School at The Presentation School offers an exciting, creative and dynamic curriculum, with smaller class sizes so critical to individual learning.
Students are further encouraged to become contributing members of their local and global communities. The Presentation School culture of learning encourages civic responsibility and character development that supports and benefits students in high school, college and beyond.
Language Arts skills are honed in these upper grades. Students read and write in a variety of genres and their critical analysis skills are developed.
An interdisciplinary approach is evident throughout the humanities and allows the students to make key connections, which is an essential component of advanced learning.
As students enter middle school, one of the exciting things they get to experience is middle school science. With many recent upgrades to the lab this 2016/2017 school year, students will get to dive into a hands-on, real world approach to exploring the scientific world. Through field experience, labs, guest speakers, and an enriched curriculum supplemented by not only a great textbook, but also programs like Jason Learning (http://www.jason.org), students are sure to have an unforgettable experience in middle school science.
Some of the main focuses this year will surround:
6th Grade focuses on Earth sciences and get to discover the world around them. We start out by looking at the stars and the solar system. Students get to take a close look at how our solar system came to be, and what the planets are made up of. They will look at specific constellations, and build a 3D model of the solar system. We will also be looking at our oceans, one of the least explored places on Earth. Students will learn about the ecosystems under the water and what it takes to survive in such a harsh environment. We will close out the year by looking at the various types of natural disasters that Earth experiences, and the causes/effects they have on our Earth, and our people.
7th Grade Science is all about Life Science. The 7th grade year has a heavy emphasis on cells and learning how the human body works. This goes as small as cells and progresses into how our bodies work, what kind of diseases are out there, how cells make up the various systems in our body, and more. One of the fun projects we will start the year off with is creating a 3D edible model of a cell. Students will get to learn about the various organelles of an animal cell, and create an edible treat to show what they’ve learned. We also take a close look at how energy flows through ecosystems, and how changes in biodiversity can affect our lives. The year will be rounded out with a unit on inheritance and how traits are passed on from parents.
8th Grade is about the physical sciences. There are two main units for the 8th grade year, they are broken up into Physics and force/motion. We will use Jason learning to guide us through several of our smaller units on force and motion. This includes exciting labs and relevant videos led by scientists specifically chosen for Jason Learning. 8th graders also take a close look at matter and all of it’s property. They will get to know the periodic table and how the elements are placed on it. Students will also get to learn about chemical equations and how to balance them.
In Mathematics each child’s individual needs are taken into account when designing class offerings and placing students. Middle school math classes average 14 students to allow for differentiation. Students are able to accelerate their math experiencing, ending with an Honors Algebra 1 or Algebra 2 class their eighth grade year. Our students perform in the 83% percentile in national testing, and participate in the annual STEM Week - an integration with the science program that allows student to spend a week immersed in a STEM project.
Research shows that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education is essential for our future economy as well as our kids' success. STEM-related occupations are, and will continue to be, the fastest growing and highest paid jobs in the U.S.. For elementary and middle school students, early STEM education reinforces critical thinking and problem solving skills that set the foundation for greater learning in high school and beyond. By teaching our students with STEM, they understand why and how Science, Technology, Engineering and Math are tied together by learning and by hands on experience.
The Presentation School invests in early STEM education. Although STEM is embedded throughout our curriculum, our middle school students all look forward to STEM Week. Regular classes shutdown and students spend 5-10 days immersed in mixed grade team working on a STEM challenge. Our first STEM challenge was in 2015 with a teacher designed Mini Golf project.
In 2016 The Presentation School expanded our STEM project even more as we started a partnership with the San Jose Tech Museum and did a comprehensive study of earthquakes and engineering, culminating in the Great Shake Down.
For the 2017, STEM is now a year long program. This year’s theme is Taking Flight in which some of our lessons will come from our partnership with the San Jose Tech Museum. Our lessons this year will evolve around the Science, Technology and Engineering around understanding how and why and what makes planes and gliders soar through the air. The middle school students will be on two soaring trips this year with the first one in San Mateo’s Hiller Aviation where they will be involved in a two hour Physical Science program to learn about flight and then competing in teams engineer, develop, and construct a soaring glider. This year’s spring STEM week students will be exploring aerodynamics and flight in Soaring over Sonoma. Stay tuned for more highlights!