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Grade 7

In 7th grade, students learn more about themselves as individuals. This theme is emphasized throughout the curriculum and ranges from giving students choice in their reading to the individual research they pursue in the Model United Nations projects.

The curriculum is also designed to bring students together with peers and teachers as a community of writers, researchers, and learners. The classroom is considered a workshop, conference room, or "think tank.” Students learn from one another and the masters as they strive for personal excellence. Approaches to work are individual as well as collective, and much of the learning and discovery occurs through collaboration and integration.

The curriculum gives students the opportunity to broaden their understanding of culture as presented in 6th grade. It further explores the concept of culture and what it means to be a citizen of the world through an in-depth study of historic and current global issues and conflicts, and the creation of a model United Nations.

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

Reading

Reading includes historical fiction, expository material, elements of literature, and comprehension and responding.

Writing

Writing activities include compare and contrast, opinion supported by fact, report writing, research writing, a five-paragraph essay, memoirs, drafting and revising, grammar and punctuation, and vocabulary.

Social Studies

Activities include Model United Nations, world governments, world economic systems, world religions, historic global conflicts, current global conflicts, global trends, and expectations.

Science

In this class, students explore characteristics of life and its origin, and demonstrate an understanding of how organisms function and interact with the environment. As part of ongoing scientific inquiry, students discover many of the chemical and physical processes that occur within a cell – such as respiration, photosynthesis, active transport, and cell cycle. Students also express an understanding of different historical perspectives and emerging scientific issues associated with the life sciences.

As part of an ongoing process, students continue to develop laboratory and data-collecting skills. They are able to reflect on scientific practices to evaluate and create a variety of conclusions. They also demonstrate the ability to communicate their findings to others.

Mathematics

Pre-Algebra

This course is designed to introduce and develop algebraic skills. Reasoning, problem-solving, and mathematical communication are emphasized.

Topics include:

  • 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

Algebra I

The Algebra I course is designed to enhance problem-solving skills and further develop mathematical reasoning. It also provides a solid foundation for upper-level mathematics courses. Students will be asked to apply concepts and to analyze, interpret, and create original problems. A basic text and a variety of supplementary materials will provide maximum exposure to and practice with different concepts. The course builds on the skills presented in Pre-Algebra and extends them into higher levels of mathematical sophistication.

Topics include:

  • Expressions and equations (linear and quadratic)
  • Operations with integers
  • Algebraic properties
  • Polynomials
  • Radicals
  • Exponents
  • Graphing and solving systems of equations
  • Inequalities

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 starting point of the 7th-grade technology curriculum is to review and reinforce the foundation of computer skills established in 6th grade. Additional computer-application skills are introduced in the 7th grade, as are introductory troubleshooting strategies. These goals are achieved through direct, hands-on learning of computer hardware and software skills. Academic subject-area projects are integrated where feasible.

Instructional Activities

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
  • Review the basic techniques of word processing
  • Apply spreadsheet concepts
  • Create effective multimedia presentations
  • Understand simple layout techniques
  • Practice basic Web-page authoring skills
  • Learn and apply basic principles of digital-imaging software
  • Develop successful search strategies
  • Conduct themselves in an appropriate manner on the Internet

Art, Music & Drama

In 7th grade, work expectations are more demanding than earlier in Middle School. There is increased independence in choices and subject content. Group work is used to strengthen peer communication and interactions. Integrated language arts/social studies/visual art experiences are a significant component of the program.

General Music

The approach to music in the Middle School consists 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.

Students will sing songs in various styles, listen to recordings from various places and in various styles, do vocal and physical exercises, sing in two- and three-part harmony, perform as a choir at Winter Concert, and connect music with the history of the times. Topics include singing and choral technique, music history and theory, multicultural music, and music in today’s society.

7th-Grade Strings Program

This is primarily a fourth-year course in string instruction. The emphasis is in learning to play independently as a soloist and cooperatively as an ensemble musician. The group is also open to those playing piano and keyboard on a limited basis. Students playing wind and percussion instruments and wishing to perform in a group are invited to do so. The group performs a minimum of three times during the year and has numerous other opportunities to play on and off campus throughout the year. Practice at home is required. Private lessons reinforce and further what is taught in class and are encouraged.

Topics include review of notes on all strings, including naturals, sharps, flats, and extensions. Shifting into higher positions is introduced. Music is in simple meters. Music in compound meters is introduced along with syncopation and more complex rhythmic combinations.

Jazz Band

Jazz Band is a new offering starting in the 08-09 school year. This ensemble, which includes both instrumentalists and vocalists, is open to any student who plays an instrument not included in the strings program, including trumpet, trombone, saxophone, clarinet, flute, piano, percussion, guitar, or bass. In addition to rehearsals, the class will take trips to hear and work with other jazz bands, and guest clinicians will be invited to work with the group. This group will also have an exciting opportunity to participate in an artist-in-residence program this year. This will include a week-long residence with a jazz performer who will work with students and participate in the Lake Ridge Academy Jazz Festival in April.

7th-Grade Drama / 8th-Grade Drama

Three basic strands—perception, creative expression/performance, and critical evaluation—provide broad, unifying structures for organizing knowledge and dramatic skills that students are expected to acquire in 7th and 8th grades. Perceptual studies help students increase their understanding of self and others and develop clear ideas about the world. A variety of theatrical experiences enable students to communicate in a dramatic form, make artistic choices, solve problems, build positive self-concepts, and relate interpersonally. Student response and evaluation promote thinking and further discriminating judgment, helping students become appreciative and evaluative consumers of live theatre, film, television, and other technologies. Topics may include: Reader’s Theatre pieces, play production, scene study, and monologue work.