Middle School Course Offerings

(001) English 6- Coming of Age
In English 6, students explore the theme of coming of age through classic literature. Through the use of grammar exercises, writing prompts, and course texts, students develop a deeper understanding of how to convey their ideas both orally and through their writing. The course provides students with opportunities to improve their written communication skills, develop critical thinking skills through reading and writing, and learn the proper mechanics for research-based writing.

(002) English 7- World of Fiction
In English 7, students learn to appreciate the roots of English literature. Through the use of various genres, students develop a deeper understanding of the diverse forms fiction can take, from graphic novels to medieval epic poetry. Students explore the effects those different forms have on the reader. The course provides students with opportunities to improve their written communication skills, develop critical thinking skills through reading and writing, and learn the proper mechanics for research-based writing.

(003) English 8- Survey of Fiction and Non-Fiction Texts
English 8 introduces non-fiction literature to the students along with fiction texts. They will be introduced to major authors and various genres to prepare for High School. Non-Fiction texts are consistently connected to other disciplines and will relate to the fiction works. Students will continue working on responding to texts in their writing and answering specific prompts in a 5-paragraph essay format. Included in this writing is creating a strong argument and supporting evidence with citations from texts or research. Additionally, students will continuously work on grade-appropriate grammar and vocabulary skills.


(078) Writing 6
This course focuses on creating the “perfect” paragraph. Students learn how to create a strong topic sentence, locate and provide supporting details and write effective concluding statements. Throughout the term, students develop their well-created paragraphs into short essays, which will help prepare them for other inter-disciplinary writing pieces. (1 term; required).

(079) Writing 7
In Writing 7, students focus on the structure of a well-developed essay. Students learn how to create attention-grabbing introductions (“hooks”) with strong thesis statements. They also work on building transitions between paragraphs to improve the flow of their writing. By the end of the term, students will be able to write a complete, five-paragraph essay with a convincing thesis statement, proper evidence and supporting details. (1 term; required).

(080) Writing 8
This course introduces students to the MLA format required to complete all of their current and future writing assignments. Incorporation of direct quotations from the texts and a completion of a works- cited page are stressed. Students practice and master the art of creating strong introductions and conclusions, and editing and revising their essays. (1 term; required).


(301) History 6: The Eastern Hemisphere
The 6th grade history course unveils the interaction of peoples throughout the ancient and medieval world for our youngest and most curious students. The interdependence of cultures and the significance of cultural diffusion and its impact are at the forefront of the material studied. Individual and group project-based assessment is frequently used to gauge student learning.

(296) History 7: U.S. History (Early Amerindian to 1865) & (303) History 8: U.S. History (1865 to 2001)
History 7 and 8 are designed as introductory courses to United States History broken into two time periods (see above). In accordance with middle school goals, critical thinking and analytical interpretation are useful skills that are mastered during the course of the year. Students begin to explore essential questions about the foundation and growth of the United States on the North American continent, and how this history has influenced life in the United States today. Students explore the music, art, and literature of the eras in their political, social and economic context. Students come to understand and recognize changes and patterns in American culture from the colonial period to the present through readings, classroom discussion, projects and independent research. Students stay abreast of current events and make comparisons between the past and the present.


(491/544/545) Middle School Arts Experience
This course introduces Middle-School students to the crafts of Studio Art, Ceramics, and Dance, through one-term courses. The students are grouped by grade into small, intimate teams of explorers. They learn to take risks and challenge themselves to share their unique perspective through art. All Middle-School students enroll in this course sequence.

(860) Middle School Performing Arts
This full-year course is designed to help Middle School students explore music and theatre, discover where their passion for the arts lies, and develop their skills in each genre. Students learn the fundamentals of vocal production, music theory, and acting, while exploring major periods and artists from classical music, modern theatre, and Broadway. All middle school students enroll in this course.

(101) Math 6
As our 6th grade students arrive excited to start middle school, Math 6 introduces them to middle school math in fun and exciting ways. The purpose of Math 6 is to enhance basic math skills that were taught throughout elementary school and allow students the time to become comfortable with and master these skills. Students explore topics such as number sense and operations, using formulas, problem solving, basic geometry, and interpreting graphs and data.

(104) Pre-Algebra (7)
All units of study for Pre-Algebra coincide with the core content for assessment for middle grade mathematics. The major units of study for this course are: Integers, expressions and operations, factors and fractions, rational numbers, equations and inequalities, ratio, proportion, percent, functions, linear equations, and graphing. Students who excel in Pre-Algebra may be exempted from Math 8 and have the option to enroll in Algebra I. Prerequisite: Math 6.

(099) Math 8
Students are enrolled in Math 8 to solidify the foundation needed to excel in Algebra I. This year-long course focuses on the number system, expressions and equations, functions, geometric principals, and bivariate statistics. Students who excel in Pre-Algebra may be exempted from Math 8 and have the option to enroll in Algebra I. Prerequisite: Pre-Algebra.

(201) 6th Grade - Physical Science
Sixth-grade science students begin their Knox careers as “mini-scientists.” Class time includes instruction, hands-on activities and labs, and group projects that allow students to be introduced to the basics of chemistry and physics. Students also study and experiment with the fundamental laws of motion, allowing them to define the movement of universal forces such as gravity, acceleration, and friction. The successful completion of the course prepares the sixth-grade students for their future science courses.

(199) 7th Grade - Life Science
This fundamental introduction to life sciences increases seventh-grade students’ awareness of the natural world and introduces them to basic principles of scientific inquiry. The course covers a variety of topics, starting with microscopic cells and building to the larger principles of the ecology and natural systems. Throughout the course, students will be utilizing the basic principles of scientific inquiry and lab experiments as a means to prepare them for later courses of study.

(197) 8th Grade - Earth Science
Throughout the year, eighth-grade students engage in a variety of activities designed to introduce them to the larger-than-life processes that influence everything from tides, to the destructive volcanoes of the Ring of Fire. The course covers a wide array of topics, including the geological processes that shaped the world around us, and the astronomical processes of the universe. Upon successful completion of the middle-school science sequence, students are well-prepared to enter the Upper School and succeed in the sciences.

(399) Introduction to World Languages
This survey course is designed for 6th and 7th grade students to explore three languages over the course of the academic year: Spanish, Chinese, and French. Their exposure to each language, though only one trimester long, introduces them to basic linguistic skills such as vocabulary building, pronunciation, forming simple sentences and questions, listening comprehension, and recognizing Chinese characters. Students also develop insight into the cultures of the various countries linked to these languages. This course gives students the opportunity to discover which language they would like to continue studying beginning in 8th grade at level I and continuing throughout their education at Knox.