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Junior HIgh School Curriculum

Introduction:

At the present time, we have combined seventh and eighth grades. We alternate the curriculum so that students who are here for two years will cover all the junior high material.

We alternate:

  • Science – Biology or Chemistry/Physics
  • Social Studies – World Geography or American History
  • Novels studied each year in English vary
  • Electives of Home Etc., Art Appreciation, Health and PE are also varied from one year to another

Students are divided by ability for Math and Spanish.

English:

A thorough survey of elementary grammar and composition. Students diagram sentences, review the parts of speech and the structure of sentences, learn the active and passive voices, and study verbals (infinitives, participles, and gerunds), independent clauses, and subordinate clauses. Readings in literature serve as models of good writing and as subjects for students’ own frequent writing exercises, including short essays, book reviews, and a research paper. Instruction in composition covers topic sentences, supporting ideas, transitions, varied sentence structure, conclusions, and the development of individual style. Students are given continued experience in classroom speaking and use of the library.

Mathematics:

Pre-algebra: Students learn rational and negative exponents, scientific notation, Euclid’s algorithm, factorization of linear expressions, and basic principles of formal logic. Story problems involve fractions and decimals; ratio, proportion, and percentage; the order of operations; and linear equations and inequalities. The Cartesian plane is introduced and used to solve problems of location and distance.

Algebra I: Students solve quadratic equations by factoring, completing the square, and applying the quadratic formula, and they use substitution and matrices to solve systems of linear equations. Algebraic modeling is used to explore problems of exponential growth and decay. In context of the Cartesian plane, students learn ideas about functions, absolute value, range, and domain. They interpret graphs and their relations to corresponding equations and analyze the effects of parameter changes on graphs of functions. Story problems relate quadratic and linear equations to geometric concepts. Problems in logic are solved using Venn diagrams.

Plane and Solid Geometry: An introduction to geometry which includes treatment of basic geometric theorems, with emphases on writing proofs; calculation of area for regular polygons, and of surface area and volume for simple solids; and introduction to conic sections (analytic geometry).

Spanish I:

An introduction to Spanish, with strong initial emphasis on pronunciation, intonation, conversation and dialogue, and vocabulary building. Grammar begins with simple verbs and sentence structure. Students read and write short passages. Attention is paid to elementary cultural material from countries in which Spanish is national or widespread, including children’s games, folksongs for choral singing, fairy tales, legends, and simple arts and crafts.

Spanish II:

Formal language instruction, building on previously acquired skills. Attention to more advanced vocabulary, grammar, syntax, and constructions; extended conversation; selections of foreign literature; writing assignments; elementary translations; and frequent cultural lessons.

Physical Education and Health:

Physical education activities refine strategy, skills, and understanding of rules in selected team and individual sports; introduce further dance and gymnastic exercises for coordination and aerobics; and continue to emphasize fitness, respect for rules, sportsmanship, safety, and use and care of sports equipment. Sports include volleyball, basketball, football, soccer, and Presidential Physical Fitness. Topics in health include hygiene; nutrition; identification and prevention of common, chronic, and communicable diseases; first aid, safety, and emergency medical care; the dangers of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs to individuals and society; rest and exercise; and self-assessment of weight, blood pressure, and other indicators of general health.

Home Economics:

Students learn interpersonal skills for successful interactions with persons of different ages, genders, and ethnic/cultural origins. Proper manners are taught and practiced. Home and money management techniques are introduced and students learn a variety of domestic skills, including cooking, laundry, cleaning, and gardening.

Art Appreciation:

An introduction to major developments in the Western visual arts, from prehistoric drawings to the present day. Classroom activities include short readings which expand the vocabulary of art history, biography, and criticism; examinations of a small number of works in detail through film, slide, and museum trips; and instruction in techniques of drawing, color-mixing, and painting.

Computer:

Computing involves keyboarding using the Mavis Beacon typing program. WordPerfect 6.0 is taught involving features used to produce research papers and printed documents.

Social Studies:

Major topics in world history and geography from the Industrial Revolution to modern day. Through the use of text books, historical fiction, primary documents and simulation students will study the scientific revolution, exploration and colonialism, the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, and the emergence of modern European, Asian, African, and South American countries. Map work, charts and the study of geographical features are basic elements of these studies along with an exploration of political thought and its contemporary application to American government.

American Constitutional Government: Study of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights and discussions of the political structures and principles they established: separation of powers, checks and balances, state powers, freedoms and responsibilities. In-depth studies are done on each of the three branches (legislative, executive, and judicial) along with each of the amendments, giving students a firm understanding of the legislative and political process. Students study the actual text and participate in mock trial and simulations to have a practical understanding of the Constitution’s application.

American History: Beginning with colonization, students follow the development of the United States from its beginning through modern day. Attention is given to the Revolutionary period, westward expansion, Civil War, growth into the twentieth century, World Wars and Depression, and modern day challenges.

Economics: The year is concluded with a study of economics and current world affairs. Students explore concepts such as supply and demand, unemployment, taxation, inflation, and international relations to gain a greater understanding of America’s economic functioning and relations in the world.

Science:

Biology: A broad study of biology and life science as it applies to cells, organisms, and large life systems. Students explore characteristics of living things from simple organisms, such as viruses and bacteria, to complex systems, such as mammals. Each of these systems is studied in the context of its habitat and ecological system. Curriculum also includes studies of plants, genetics, heredity, and earth’s natural resources. Hands-on experience with laboratory exercises involving microscopes, animal dissections, observations and the scientific method are included.

Chemistry/Physics: A broad study of chemistry and physics designed to familiarize students with further atomic and macroscopic properties of matter. Topics include scientific method, states of matter, atomic structure, the periodic table, structure of molecules, compounds, solutions, mixtures, chemical reactions, energy and energy resources, electricity and magnets, sound and light waves, motion, and forces. Hands-on experimentation and laboratory work is included with each topic to solidify the concepts of the scientific method and procedure.

Note: Much of the outline of curriculum appears in James Madison Elementary School: A Curriculum for American Students (1988), authored by William J. Bennett when he was U.S. Secretary of Education.