Seventh Grade Curriculum

English
Students in seventh-grade English further develop skills in reading comprehension, communication, and writing. The seventh-grade course emphasizes revision, genre writing, poetry, critical thinking, public speaking, and collaboration. Units of study may include the examination of and response to short stories, poetry, historical fiction novels, and primary sources. Students also participate in interdisciplinary projects, write for and perform in presentations, and explore real-world connections in person via field trips.

Math
Seventh-grade math has two sections: Pre-Algebra and Algebra 1. Appropriate placement for these classes will be decided upon review of the student’s academic success in previous math courses.

Pre-Algebra introduces students to explorations in algebraic thinking and concepts, and working with algebraic symbols. These early experiences are foundational for their later formal studies in algebra. Students study topics including proportions, rational number relationships, probability, topics in geometry, and learn to use functions, sequences, graphs and tables to represent linear relationships. They learn to appreciate math both as a collection of skills and as a field of discovery and invention, and they explore the connections between the procedures and the concepts. Experiential programs in Pre-Algebra include a celebration on Pi Day, linear function labs predicting the rebound of golf balls and the height of stacked cups, predicting the population of fish in a lake, and gumdrop geometry.

Algebra 1 introduces topics including properties of real-number arithmetic; linear and absolute-value equations and inequalities; quadratic, rational, and radical equations; the Pythagorean Theorem; and graphing on the coordinate plane. Students learn to use functions to model real-world mathematical relationships; they also learn to solve word problems involving rates, projectile motion, and weighted averages. Experiential projects include interactive computer games and simulations as well as outdoor activities involving measurement, motion, and graphing.

Science and Design & Engineering
Seventh grade students split their year between the science lab and the design and engineering center.

Science curriculum focuses on two major units: nutrition and food science, and earth science and astronomy. Food science activities and labs are performed to further investigate and understand water and the macromolecules needed in metabolism and growth. Economic and cultural aspects of food are also included in what has become a fun and well received collection of activities that include reading excerpts from authors like Eric Schlosser and Michael Pollan, taste tests, field trips to local farmer’s markets and grocery stores, and labs that include measuring caloric intake, colligative properties of water, and identification of sugars, starch and electrolytes in commercial drinks.

Seventh-grade design and engineering iterates safety and tool use in the design & engineering center. Students are introduced to 2D and 3D computer-based design, which will be used in projects on the laser cutter and 3D printers. The engineering design process is used in a group project to design, craft and improve a small device with a purpose. This process is then revisited in a larger team project to design and fabricate an interactive game. Students are introduced to technical drawing for industrial design that includes delineating plans, and elevations of objects as well as demonstrating linear and isometric perspective. Electronics and programming are reviewed and a capstone project is introduced which incorporates the engineering design process, electronics, fabrication, and programming.

World History
In seventh-grade world history, students will become familiar with how events unfolded on a global scale in a way that still affect the modern world. Students will proceed chronologically and topically from prehistory to the modern era. They will be introduced to critical analytical concepts. These include the distinction between primary and secondary sources, the ability to perceive past events from multiple perspectives, the limits of what we can know about the past, and a basic understanding of how (and how not) to interpret key ideas in light of historical evidence. While much of what the students will learn comes from texts and images, students will also learn through experiential simulations of the past. Some of this involves extensions into the realm of art, when the students recreate cuneiform writing, to less formal recreations of revolutionary moments like the French Revolution, to more empathetic understandings of how soldiers conducted trench warfare in World War I. The aim of this course is to instill historical curiosity by teaching students how to do history, rather than merely having them study it.

Library
Building on skills learned in previous years, students make full use of all library materials for information and enjoyment. Units in advanced digital and media literacy instruction are taught to help students responsibly navigate the challenges of the digital world. Students are also taught advanced research and works cited instruction using print and digital materials.

Performing Arts
Students develop theater arts skills, as well as explore their musical and vocal abilities. Students will utilize their skills during in-class performances that include scene work, monologue work, mock audition technique, dance, band, and singer-song writer work. In addition, students participate in improvisational performance, develop blocking for comedic scenes that include an understanding of stage picture and character motivation, as well as develop and deliver constructive performance critique.  Students are also encouraged to participate in the Music Hour, the Upper School Musical, and Vibes (marimba & percussion musical club), as well as join the year-round Technical Theater Crew. Tech theater is a great opportunity for students to learn about the behind-the-scenes world of theater as they help run daily Assemblies, as well as several full-scale productions for the Lower and Upper School students.

Physical Education
The seventh-grade physical education program aims to contribute to the preparation of the student for a life of physical wellbeing. The program will enhance the student’s sense of self, and develop their personal and social skills, as well as developing a broader understanding of many sports. Students will gain competency in many movement forms and apply movement concepts to develop their success in many arenas. They will learn to demonstrate responsible personal and social behaviors in an active environment. They will develop competency in various sports including, but not limited to, volleyball, soccer, flag football, basketball, hockey, ultimate frisbee, track and field, and they will participate in the Presidential Fitness testing. Through this program they will develop the ability to get along with others in a movement environment while further developing their skills in game situations. 

QED Project
Seventh-grade students find their voice and pursue their passions through Crane’s QED (Quests, Explorations, Discoveries) Project. QED is a chance to explore an interest, pursue a dream, embark on a quest into a future career, or discover a new hobby. Through QED, students identify an area of study in which they are interested and are then paired with a mentor in the community who is an expert in that field. The student and the mentor work together outside of school for sixteen weeks and then students present their results, discoveries, and final projects to parents and students. Past QED topics have included journalism, radiology, sushi making, ukulele construction, computer coding, and theater make-up.

Seminar: Character Education
Seventh grade is a major entry point for admissions; thus, Seminar initially focuses on welcoming and supporting newcomers, and preparing the class socially and emotionally for their adventures to Yosemite. Later activities include: participating in drug education programming, developing media literacy, learning about body image issues and appropriate responses, and working toward tolerance through empathy by examining stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination.

Service Learning
Students explore community needs, learn about young people who are making a difference in their communities, and visit organizations that are addressing these needs locally. Through research and discussion, students develop collaborative service projects that tackle topics including poverty, food scarcity, and literacy. In the second half of the semester, students work both on and off campus to carry out these projects.

Spanish
The goals of the Spanish program are to provide opportunities to listen, read, write, and speak in the target language and to foster an appreciation of Spanish-speaking communities, locally and globally. We use the Five C’s of the National Standards for Foreign Language Education as guiding principles at all levels of the program: communication, cultures, connections, comparisons and communities. A few major grammar concepts introduced in seventh grade Spanish are the preterit tense, verbs like gustar, and reflexive verbs. Experiential opportunities in this grade include a study of the Aztecs, various cooking activities, dancing, and an interdisciplinary quinceñera project, among others.

Studio Art
Student experiences in the seventh grade are framed by the concept of “Careers in the Arts.” Students learn about a variety of careers that utilize design and the artistic process such as landscape, fashion, package, and graphic design as well as architecture, photography, illustration, and fine arts. Guest speakers from a variety of creative fields visit throughout the year. Students are challenged to solve real-world problems using the design thinking process. Continued refinement of studio skills in drawing, painting, 3D, and graphic design are used with an emphasis on discerning the appropriate media to solve the problem. Student-led critique, development of artist’s statements, and a growing independence in the art studio are encouraged and nurtured.