Middle School, Grades 6-8
Berkshire and Derby middle schools offer exemplary programs for students in grades 6-8. There are many opportunities for young teens to explore their skills and talents through academic competitions, mentorships, musical groups, dramatic productions, intramural and interscholastic athletics, clubs and activities, and enrichment programs such as the A & E program at Berkshire (Activities & Enrichment) and the Explore program at Derby. At the same time, middle school students receive individualized attention from teams of teachers dedicated to their success and guidance counselors who remain with each class through its three years. The counselors also facilitate support groups for students, sponsor parent education programs and help introduce new families to the school community.
Technology is infused in the middle school curriculum. Students use technology daily in the classroom and in their school media center to seek answers to questions, connect with experts and peers throughout the world, and explore answers to questions in every subject.
Grade 6 Curriculum
Required Core Courses:
Sixth Grade English Language Arts is the integrated study of reading, writing, speaking, listening and following direction skills. Students will increase their ability to analyze and synthesize information, increase their independent reading and become more proficient at writing independently. There will be writing pieces and reading selections in a variety of genres. Resources: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Collections.
This program is a broad, concept-driven curriculum that reflects the full breadth of relevant mathematics in our society with connections to real life and its interrelationships with technology. The sixth grade curriculum will expand students' knowledge of numbers, computation, estimation, measurement, geometry, fractions, patterns and functions, and the fundamental concepts of algebra. The program is built on five overall goals for students: Learning to value mathematics, becoming confident in their ability, becoming a mathematical problem solver, learning to communicate mathematically, and learning to reason mathematically.
Sixth Grade Science includes units in earth science, life science, and physical science. Science will be taught and reinforced with hands-on and minds-on projects and activities. Topics include: Scientific method, human impact; living resources; ecosystems and populations; geologic time; weathering and soil formation; erosion deposition mapping; plate tectonics; rocks; minerals; earthquakes and volcanoes.
Social Studies is the integrated study of the social sciences (geography; history; civics; economics). Current events will be incorporated naturally as a way to connect present issues to the past. Topics of study include: The Ancient World, World Religions, The Middle East, Africa, Asia, Mayans and Aztecs.
Required Rotation Courses
A ten week class designed as an exploration of art technologies, skills, artists, and careers. Two and three-dimensional art will be studied throughout this rotation.
Skills for Living:
This popular course features lessons in food preparation, food safety, nutrition, and basic sewing skills.
Students will participate in seasonal team and individual sports as well as curriculum-related games and team building activities. Swimming and physical fitness will also be covered.
A ten week course which introduces students to engineering in a fun and engaging manner. Using a hands-on approach, students are taught the fundamentals of design and manufacturing.
Elective courses (may vary by school):
Grade 7 Curriculum
Required Core Courses:
Develops strength in reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. Course units of study: research, mythology, mystery, memoirs, literary analysis, and various genres of study. High interest literature and informational selections are provided, as is systematic instruction in writing, grammar, usage, and vocabulary. Writings will include narratives, informational essays, and argumentative essays. Resources: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Collections.
This program is a broad, concept-driven curriculum that reflects the full breadth of relevant mathematics in our society with connections to real life and its interrelationships with technology. The program is built on five overall goals for the students: learning to value mathematics, becoming confident in their ability, becoming a mathematical problem solver, learning to communicate mathematically, and learning to reason mathematically. The seventh grade curriculum concentrates on proportional reasoning, including: integers, ratios, mastery of fractions, applying algebraic properties, recognizing and representing linear relationships in a variety of forms, and the fundamentals of algebraic and geometric concepts.
Physical Education (semester or all year every other day if student has a Vocal/Instrumental Course):
Students will experience a higher level of skill development and play in lifetime sports such as football, basketball, volleyball, swimming, soccer, and softball. These skills will be used in both competitive activities and non-competitive task related challenges. Physical fitness activities will also be incorporated into all units, as well as personal/social skills needed to be active for a lifetime. Health curriculum components that focus on decision-making skills, substance use/abuse and reproductive health will be taught in a classroom environment during this course as well.
The seventh grade science curriculum is aligned with the Michigan Curriculum Framework Science Content Benchmarks and includes units in earth, life, and physical sciences. Major topics include: Chemistry, weather factors and patterns, light and sound, elements and the periodic table, and basic biology discovering cells and cell processes.... and more. Science will be taught and reinforced with an emphasis in many hands-on and minds-on labs/projects/activities.
Social Studies is the integrated study of the social sciences (geography, history, civics, and economics) to prepare students to become responsible citizens. Course studies include: The Core Democratic Values, Basic Economic Reasoning and Principals, South America, Europe, Russia, Canada, the United States, Oceania, Australia, and Career Planning.
Elective Courses (may vary by school):
Choose from world languages (Spanish, French, Japanese (at Berkshire), or Chinese (at Derby), forensics, skills for living and for success, fashion, art, engineering, Strategies, newspaper, theatre arts, and music (band, orchestra, and choir).
Grade 8 Curriculum
Required Core Courses:
Develops strength in reading, writing, speaking, listening and viewing skills. With a focus in Science Fiction, Realistic Fiction, and Historical Friction genres, students will increase their ability to analyze and synthesize information, increase their reading ability, and become more proficient writers. Study of the short story as a literary genre, written responses to books, various expository writing skills, as well as lessons on grammar, usage, spelling and vocabulary (as needed) will also be covered. Resources: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Collections.
This program is a broad, concept-driven curriculum that reflects the full breadth of relevant mathematics in our society with connections to real life and its interrelationships with technology. The program is built on four overall goals for the students: learning to value mathematics, increasing confidence in their ability, developing as a mathematical problem solver, learning to communicate and reason mathematically. The 8th grade math curriculum concentrates on a variety of algebraic functions recognizing and using multiple representations (tables, graphs, equations), with an emphasis on linear relations; applying algebraic properties to expressions and equations; and continuing the development of geometric concepts.
Eighth grade follows the State of Michigan Earth Science high school objectives which focuses on Earth Systems Science. Major topics include the universe, weather, oceans, climate, natural resources, energy, earthquakes, volcanoes, and more. We focus a great deal on how a change in one of Earth's systems can affect other areas as well. It is a comprehensive course that expands beyond the 6th and 7th grade content with lots of inquiry, technology, and in-depth investigations.
American History will incorporate the study of geography, civics, current events and economics using figures, events in history. This class will prepare students to become responsible, active citizens in today's world. Course studies include: Core Democratic Values, 19th Century American History, creation and implementation of the Constitution, Growth of the New Nation, The Jacksonian Era, Western Expansion, Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Industrial Era.
Elective Courses (may vary by school):
Choose from world languages (Spanish, French, Japanese (at Berkshire), or Chinese (at Derby), physical education/lifetime activities, Strategies, forensics, skills for living and for success, fashion, art, engineering, yearbook, newspaper, and music (band, orchestra, or choir).