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Grade 6

A highlight of 6th grade is the Big Dig, a combined Language Arts/Social Studies project that explores the culture, history, and discovery of ancient cultures. Students learn about ancient cultures and how those cultures came to be the way they are in two different classes. Each class then creates their own culture and makes artifacts for it in art class, which teachers bury. Students from one class dig up the artifacts made by the other and try to piece together what they’ve found and what it teaches them about the created culture.

Open the sliders below for a more detailed look at each discipline.

Writing

The emphasis of this course is on personal experience, persuasion and opinion, compare and contrast, short stories, report writing, drafting and revising, grammar and punctuation, and vocabulary.

Social Studies

Students study archaeology, geography, and the cultures of selected regions, including Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

Science

The main goal of the 6th-grade science program is to lay the foundation for future scientific experiences by developing inquiry skills in the laboratory and inspiring delight in the wonders of science. Because course content is explored mainly through laboratory experiences, the course serves as the vehicle for developing research skills. Students are taught how to answer questions through discovery and how to question their answers. Students realize that skills learned in the science laboratory apply to all areas of their lives and are useful throughout life.

Language Arts

This course seeks to facilitate increased self-awareness and continued evolution of worldview. In social studies, students examine a variety of ancient cultures to compare the similarities and differences. Analysis of cultural universals across a variety of cultures enriches understanding and respect for others. Thematic connections throughout the course allow students to further their understanding of people, relationships, and connections to the past. The language arts curriculum uses literature and writing to enhance students’ understanding of themselves and others. Students also continue to build reading and writing skills. Writers’ workshops are held throughout the year and written short-answer responses in both social studies and language arts are emphasized. Reading comprehension, vocabulary development, grammar and punctuation, and personal reading are also important aspects of the 6th- grade curriculum.

Mathematics

In keeping with the goals identified by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, areas of emphasis in the 6th-grade math curriculum include:

  • problem-solving strategies
  • patterns, relations, and functions
  • geometry
  • algebra
  • numbers and number relationships
  • measurement
  • estimation and mental computation
  • data analysis and probability

In addition to practicing computation, students spend significant time applying math as a real-life skill and on developing thinking and problem-solving skills commensurate with their cognitive levels. A textbook is used and supplemental materials are added in ways that best meet individual needs.

Pre-Algebra

We are proud to offer a class in Pre-Algebra this year. The course is designed to introduce and develop algebraic skills. Reasoning, problem-solving, and mathematical communication are emphasized.

Topics

  • Manipulation of numerical and variable expressions
  • Use of numerical and variable expressions in problem-solving
  • Decimals
  • Integers
  • Rational numbers
  • Equations and inequalities
  • Ratios and proportions
  • Percents
  • Probability

Languages

The Foreign Language Department offers a dynamic program in French and Spanish in grades 6-8. 

The ultimate goals of the Foreign Language Department, as stated below, strongly reflect Lake Ridge Academy’s Mission Statement: “[To] send into a changing world confident young people of integrity who think critically and creatively, while embracing the joy of lifelong learning.” The department adheres to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages’ (ACTFL) five goals in their National Standards for Foreign Language Education: Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities. Furthermore, the Department has collaborated to create additional outcome-based curriculum standards of achievement.

It is widely accepted that the study of foreign languages promotes international peace, human understanding, and business opportunity. However, the advantages to be derived from learning a second language go far beyond this.

Research has shown that students exposed to a second language perform far better with their work in English than those who have not had such an opportunity. Exposure to a foreign language tends to broaden vocabulary and it advances reading and analytical skills in one’s primary language. In addition, foreign language study improves memory, logical reasoning, self-discipline, and it enhances verbal and problem-solving skills. Students can also gain greater insight into their own society and themselves by learning about foreign cultures. Furthermore, the in-depth study of a foreign language fosters various aspects of creativity.


The Department sincerely believes that the study of a foreign language allows one to see and experience the world in a new way, and that it enriches and adds breadth to one’s life. Having benefited from exposure to other languages within and outside the classroom, students will emerge as more enlightened citizens, comfortable and prepared, as they enter a globalized society.

It is with this vision in mind that the Department has developed a series of courses, programs, and special events in which all students participate.

The Department works to ensure that students:

  • acquire the four language skills - listening, speaking, reading, and writing - at various levels of proficiency (Communication)
  • develop the ability to communicate with people of other cultures in the target language (Connections)
  • have the opportunity for direct contact with native speakers and the target language, so that they appreciate the contribution that these cultures have made to history, the arts, literature, and their established institutions. By traveling to other countries, students practice their language skills, develop confidence in their abilities, and engage in a model of lifelong learning (Cultures and Communities)
  • acquire a better understanding of the English language and the U.S. culture through comparisons with other languages and cultures (Comparisons)
  • are curious, imaginative, and motivated to continue the study of languages beyond high school to full proficiency (Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities)

In addition, in the Middle School and the Upper School, the Foreign Language Department adheres to these outcome-based curriculum standards in our classes which assure that students are able to:

  1. Effectively comprehend meaning from oral communication of increasing complexity.
  2. Effectively comprehend meaning from written text of increasing complexity.
  3. Engage in oral communication of increasing complexity.
  4. Create original written work of increasing complexity.
  5. Demonstrate cultural awareness by showing knowledge of the target language cultures.

When students enter sixth grade, they can continue their study of French or Spanish from the Lower School or choose a new language of study.  In the Middle School, grammatical concepts and structures are introduced and play an integral role in developing and advancing students’ overall communication skills.  Successful completion of sixth through eighth grade foreign language classes gives them two Upper School credits.

Highly qualified Middle School students also have the unique opportunity to enroll in honors-option coursework in in Level 2 French or Spanish where they are expected to complete additional class work and assignments throughout the school year.

At the end of eighth grade, students have the opportunity to participate in a five-day trip to Quebec City in Canada. Accompanied by their French, Spanish, and other teachers, they stay at a hotel in the city, visit old Québec, and learn aspects of its history and current events.

Technology

The concept of the 6th-grade technology curriculum is to build a solid foundation of computer skills. Basic mastery is achieved through direct, hands-on learning of computer hardware and software skills. Academic subject- area projects are integrated where feasible.

Instructional Objectives

Students will:

  • Learn to navigate the Lake Ridge Academy computer network
  • Use the Lake Ridge Academy e-mail system responsibly
  • Demonstrate proper keyboarding techniques and speed
  • Apply spreadsheet concepts
  • Understand simple layout techniques
  • Acquire basic library and information literacy skills
  • Understand the basics of an Internet search
  • Develop computer-presentation skills, including Web-page design and the use of multimedia technology

Instructional Activities

Students will:

  • Compose and save documents to his/her directory on the Lake Ridge Academy network
  • Send/receive e-mail with signature files/attachments
  • Use keyboarding software to learn/improve keyboarding accuracy and speed
  • Compose and print word-processing documents
  • Use a drawing program for placing text and graphics
  • Complete a library skills unit research assignment
  • Complete an Internet-research assignment
  • Understand mapping and outlining concepts using a visual learning application
  • Practice basic Web-page authoring skills
  • Create Microsoft PowerPoint presentations

Art, Music & Drama

The fine arts curriculum at the Middle School level builds on the skills and knowledge students acquired in the Lower School. In addition, students are exposed to new fields of study, including drama. The goal throughout is to challenge students artistically and intellectually, help them become critical and creative thinkers, and develop high standards of artistic excellence as well as an appreciation of artistic integrity.

Visual Arts

Middle School art provides a studio/hands-on approach to visual arts learning. Discrete design elements are connected to students’ personal experiences to teach aesthetic perceptions, historical and cultural developments, and visual art knowledge and skills. When appropriate and possible, class work is integrated into other classes to foster a more intense personal connection to learning. Sixth grade visual art experiences introduce students to responsibilities and expectations of their Middle-School experience. Studies and work expectations are developmentally appropriate.

General Music

In Middle School, the approach to music is a balance of general music unit studies and performance-based activities. During this vocally transitional adolescent period, emphasis is placed on the unique qualities of each individual's voice and how it can best be used, while grade-level units offer a wide range of areas to be explored.

General music units are designed to take students’ prior musical knowledge and apply it to cultural, historical, and societal musical topics. Students continue with listening activities and vocabulary expansion as they describe what they hear and think critically about how it fits within the given topic of study. Voices are developed for the purposes of performance. Due to the emphasis on singing and the skills it requires, students spend time practicing instead of always moving on to new information. Concepts must not only be understood but demonstrated, which requires a certain amount of guided practice or rehearsal. 

6th-Grade Strings Program

This is primarily a fourth-year course in string instruction. The emphasis is on learning to play independently as a soloist and cooperatively as an ensemble musician. The group performs a minimum of two times during the year and has numerous other opportunities to play on- and off-campus throughout the year. Practice at home is required. 

6th-Grade Drama

This course seeks to help students explore creative expression in a variety of theatrical experiences. Overall goals include building body awareness, enhancing spatial perception, and using body and voice expressively. Since all work in drama is a collective endeavor, working cooperatively towards a creative production is an essential element of this course. Topics may include pantomime, improvisation, movement, and stage design.