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OUR MIDDLE SCHOOL PROGRAM
STARS Academy’s middle school program offers every student intellectual and creative opportunities in an active learning environment, where adolescent development is understood and fully supported.
Middle school academics are increasingly rigorous as students are challenged in an interdisciplinary humanities class— illuminating social studies and language arts— and mathematics, science, and electives. Building on the critical-thinking skills developed in elementary school, STARS Academy middle school students cultivate an ability to examine and understand complex concepts, investigate and build evidence, and present findings. Technology proficiencies mature with instruction using a range of software and emerging tech tools. Classes in the visual and performing arts give every student opportunities to learn and hone technique and experiment widely in the arts and music. P.E. courses help every student sharpen skills and understand the benefits of physical education and health.
Middle School Program
STARS Academy’s middle school curriculum is designed to build skills and invite inquiry across the disciplines. The scope and sequence of the courses is mapped here for easy reference, and to illustrate how the teaching and learning of materials is conceptually related.
Students study social studies and language arts as humanities throughout their middle school experience. It is an interdisciplinary course. Depending on the school theme, students range from exploring ancient civilizations to American history year, and world studies.
All classes include musical theater and literature complementing historic themes that encourage deep engagement through the use of essential questions connecting ideas across language arts and social studies. Students discuss historic and modern events, making connections to literary texts or current topics. Students work individually and in small cooperative groups, learning to closely collaborate, exchange ideas, and peer edit their classmates’ writing.
Reading, writing, and discussion about literature
Research methodology, including citing sources accurately in reporting
Critical thinking about the influence of diversity of culture on perspective and voice
Middle school science is inquiry-based and incorporates investigations, explorations, model creations, and hands-on activities as the basis for all coursework and labs. Influenced by Carl Sagan’s belief that “science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge,” the middle school science curriculum values critical thinking and analysis as much as the content to be mastered.
Students focus first on general science principles, life science, and environmental science. Coursework emphasizes lab safety and writing formal lab reports, all with an emphasis on what it means to think like a scientist, ask incisive questions, generate hypotheses, and observe and analyze data while thinking critically about the world in which we live.
Middle school science curriculum provides the foundation for the following skills. Individual classes support the development of additional skills.
Understands and uses the scientific method to present findings and research
Data collection and graphing
Building on the skills and content mastered during the elementary years, each student progresses through the middle school mathematics curriculum at an individual pace. Students move through foundational material that provides readiness for algebraic thinking to pre-algebra, algebra, and geometry. Math classes emphasize skills ranging from decimals and fractions to the Pythagorean theorem in algebra and two-column proofs in geometry. Experiential activities, using a visual and kinesthetic approach, help students learn the skills essential for algebraic reasoning. Hands-on equations and project-based learning provide real-world connections to abstract concepts, allowing students to learn answers to the perennial question, “When will I ever use this again?”
Direct instruction is paired with cooperative group work in each class that fosters collaboration, creative problem solving and an appreciation of multiple means to solve problems. Students gain confidence as they master concepts through a range of assessments, including peer and teacher feedback, demonstrations of knowledge, and projects.
The middle school math curriculum provides the foundation for the following skills. Individual classes support the development of additional skills depending on the content.
Convert fractions to decimals and percents
Computation with positive and negative numbers
Understand proportions and ratios
Understand a variable in an equation
Write, solve, and graph equations; create algebraic word problems
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