MALCOLM S. FORBES
“Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.”
MIDDLE SCHOOL PROGRAM
The goal of the literature program is to enable students to interpret a literary work and have the chance to sharpen their skills in close reading by perceiving patterns of language, including motifs, symbols, imagery and figurative language. Students will also discuss theme, character, setting, irony, point of view, the effects of mood and tone, and the contribution of sound and poetic devices. Through the active reading of a rigorous selection of texts, students will deepen their understanding of the ways writers use language to provide both meaning and pleasure for their readers. By providing a challenging and enjoyable environment, our goal is to help students develop these skills and become life-long readers.
The English program offers extensive instruction in basic grammar, usage, mechanics and spelling to develop clear and concise writing (creative, narrative exposition and descriptive), public speaking, listening and reasoning skills.
Writing skills are developed in a comprehensive composition section that stresses the writing process of pre-writing, writing and editing. Training is provided in writing for various purposes, including the short expository paper, the research report, the persuasive speech and creative writing.
Speaking and listening skills are taught, and students gain experience by taking part in small group discussions and by presenting papers and speeches to a larger group.
Spelling is emphasized as part of the English program. The main goal is to develop spelling independence, so that the students are able to spell the majority of words used in everyday writing.
Enrichment activities such as poetry and essay writing, and writing for competitions (including the scary story contest and oratorical contest) provide the students with the opportunity to use the skills they have learned throughout the year.
Our goal in teaching mathematics is to constantly maintain a challenging environment in which a student can achieve. Sixth-grade math develops a strong understanding and fluency in basic operations using whole numbers, fractions, decimals and integers. Students study pre-algebra concepts as well as properties, statistics, probability, proportions, percent and geometry.
Seventh-grade students study pre-algebra with Algebra 1 beginning in the fourth quarter. Concepts include properties and operations of integers, rational and real numbers, solving multistep equations and inequalities, as well as reviewing ratios and proportions, percent and geometry.
The eighth-grade Algebra I program teaches students to solve and graph linear
equations and inequalities as well as systems of equations. Operations with polynomials and factoring polynomials, work with exponents, graphing and solving quadratic equations, and solving rational and radical equations will also be taught. Students can earn high school credit in Algebra I Honors.
Textbooks integrate technology with easy-to-access online sources such as tutorial videos, homework help, and interactive practice quizzes and tests. We encourage participation, and work to create an environment where students can interact, feel challenged and enjoy learning math.
*Geometry is available for qualified, high achieving math students as an additional online, independent study course in eighth grade.
The goal of the science program is to develop independent study habits, with emphasis on skills such as creativity, innovation, critical thinking, problem solving, communication and collaboration. The course is designed to give students a basic understanding of science and its relationship to their lives. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is integrated throughout the science program.
The sixth-grade life science curriculum introduces the world of plants, animals, bacteria, fungi, health, disease and human anatomy. Students learn scientific inquiry and scientific methods to find answers and build knowledge. Scientific models and tools (including microscopes) are used to investigate questions and share answers. Lab work includes dissection of various invertebrates and vertebrates.
The seventh-grade earth science curriculum surveys the processes that formed and continue to shape the Earth. Students examine the fields of cartography, geology, meteorology, oceanography, environmental science and astronomy. The scientific method is applied along with scientific skills and equipment for the observations, collection, organization, interpretation and presentation of data.
The eighth-grade physical science curriculum investigates non-living matter and
energy. Physics topics include motion, forces, matter, energy, waves, electricity and magnetism. Chemistry topics include properties of matter, chemical reactions, chemical mixtures and solutions, acid/base chemistry and organic chemistry. This course is designed to give students a basic understanding of how physical science and basic chemistry relate to the world around them. Students continue to utilize the scientific method and scientific equipment to conduct experiments and share results through a variety of media.
The social studies program provides students with a solid foundation in the areas of history, political systems, geography, research skills and current events. At each grade level, a different area of study is stressed: World history in sixth grade; American history in seventh grade; and World geography and civics in eighth grade.
At each grade level, appropriate geography activities supplement studies. Research and note-taking skills are reinforced. Emphasis is placed on the development of a working knowledge of the various types of reference materials and the ability to efficiently utilize these skills. Current events are examined and evaluated in the general context of class study. Special projects include the state stock market competition, social studies fair, mock trial, and an interview with a prominent Nevadan.
Arts & Humanities
Through the study of art and the humanities, students develop an appreciation and understanding of the world around them, as well as the progression of cultures and the aesthetic movement which incorporates these cultures. Students are exposed to new ways of seeing and explore the process of taking an abstract thought and creating a concrete form from that thought. The goal of the program is to teach students to see and understand the aesthetic elements that give a work of art enduring beauty and meaning.
The sixth graders complete the final phase of the discipline-based art curriculum designed to give repeated, gradually building experiences with a range of media, skills and techniques. Students develop an understanding of the structure and language of art. Each lesson incorporates an important concept of the structure of art, a media skill, information about our cultural heritage, and an opportunity to critique and make aesthetic value judgements. The overriding theme throughout the year is the “World of Art.” This theme is stressed by using an art textbook to provide both cross-cultural and multicultural lessons, which are developed through the students’ use of the elements of art.
The art textbook for seventh and eighth grades is a discipline-based program, which offers a broad range of visual experience based on art works and art styles of various cultures and times in history. The concepts of aesthetics, art criticism, art history and art production are applied and reinforced throughout the program. Students can earn high school credit in Art I.
The study of Spanish exposes students to a different language and thereby
stimulates a desire to continue developing their competence in foreign languages, as well as their own. Sixth-grade students begin with a first-year high school Spanish I textbook and culminate with a Spanish II textbook in eighth grade.
Small group activities, DVDs, and games are used in all grades, along with group participation, to make learning Spanish more fun and interesting. These activities expose the students to practical (day-to-day) vocabulary, while at the same time giving them insight into the culture, geography and history of the Spanish-speaking world. Students can earn high school credit in Spanish I Honors.
Our goal is to provide students with a strong background in computer literacy, while teaching them the skills necessary to be successful in the future. Students will enhance their keyboarding skills, use the internet for research and information, expand multi-media use and become accomplished users of Microsoft Office programs. The course allows for ample discussion and focus on safe and responsible use of the internet.
Basic-to-intermediate computer terms will become a natural part of the students’ vocabulary. Students will work with Microsoft Office programs, incorporating an accelerated, step-by-step, project-based approach to building competency in Word, Excel, Publisher, Access and PowerPoint. These projects will integrate other subjects such as literature, English, science and social studies with daily lessons for cooperative collaboration.
In addition, students will become familiar with exciting, new technology such as coding and the use of multimedia software with video, audio, animation, graphics, photos and music. Basic Internet skills will be expanded upon through various internet browsers where students are taught to practice responsible, moral and ethical internet behavior. Students will become familiar with the Windows Operating System, learning how to use this system in an organized, efficient manner. They will also learn important computer basics such as connecting to various devices, troubleshooting tech issues, and other real-world technology solutions. Students can earn high school credit in computer literacy.
Health and Fitness
The middle school health/fitness program is committed to offering an educational process in which all students are encouraged to reach their highest potential as well as their personal goals. By offering a variety of teaching techniques, students will participate in traditional and non-traditional sports and leisure activities, strength training and aerobic exercise. They will also be introduced to the importance of their own health and well-being through health education topics. Students will be given a strong foundation in the value of lifetime physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle.
Personal and Family Finance
Personal and Family Finance is offered as an online course for one semester in
eighth grade. This course introduces students to setting goals, budgeting and creating financial plans. Students will learn about topics such as taxation, financial institutions, credit and money management. The course is also designed for our eighth-grade students to learn how to take a class entirely online, subsequently preparing them for future online coursework in high school and college. Students can earn high school credit for this course.