Middle School Curriculum
The AHC Middle School classrooms are challenging and collaboratively rich venues for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders to develop spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Teachers strive to implement best educational practices to maximize learning. A variety of electives complement the core curriculum and allows students exposure to a diverse slate of courses that help them love learning as they deepen a passion for knowledge.
Social studies instruction at AHC unites two important elements: acquiring a solid base of knowledge of historical, social, economic, geographic, human behavior, and governmental concepts; and applying the knowledge to life situations using a global Christian perspective and advanced thinking skills. Christians, as citizens of the kingdom of God, must live out their faith ethically, morally, and wisely in the kingdoms of mankind. To provide instruction to that end, developmentally appropriate concepts will be explored through inquiry learning and direct instruction as teachers guide their students to develop thinking and discernment skills. Instruction often is integrated across curricular lines. Curriculum is based on California’s Social Science Content Standards of 1998.
The 6th Grade Social Studies/History course broadly covers the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, China, Israel, Greece, and Rome. Themes such as government, culture, technology, religion, geography, economics unify the study of civilization in the ancient world. Students learn the historical patterns of civilization’s birth in river valleys, the rise of empires, and cultural exchange through trade and conquest. The course emphasizes geography and provides opportunity for analysis and expository writing through primary source investigations. Students enjoy curriculum-supported field trips to the Asian Art Museum and the Palace of the Legion of Honor where they see artifacts that they have researched and analyzed.
This course teaches students a framework for Medieval and Early Modern world history from AD 0-1800. The course picks up with the Roman Empire and growth of the Byzantine Empire, then takes a regional approach to history in the areas of the Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Americas, and then back to Europe with the Renaissance, Reformation, and Scientific Revolution. Along the way, the curriculum emphasizes certain disciplines within social studies such as the unit on Africa includes an emphasis on geography and the unit on Asia includes an emphasis on world religions.
This course teaches students a framework for understanding civics, government, economics, conflicts, and social responsibility specifically through the examples of the United States. The course focuses on political science issues especially as students learn about the development of British colonial governments, leading to the establishment of the Republic of the United States. The course focuses on key individuals, events, and changes from pre-colonial times to recent history. Emphasis is placed on critical thinking to understand how decisions and policies were made in the past to set up life as we know it now, including the background to today’s current events and challenges.
One unique aspect of the curriculum is that Alma Heights promotes 8th grade students taking a week OUT of school to travel to the East Coast for an educational tour program of Washington, D.C. and other national destinations, as they study US History, to enhance students’ learning of the places, ideas, and history which shaped and continues to influence the United States.
Science Goals for AHC
- To recognize God as the Creator
- To value science as a way of knowing
- To solve problems using the scientific inquiry method
- To become scientifically literate
- To become good stewards of God’s creation
Earth science is a study of the Earth and its processes. Students will become familiar with plate tectonics, the shaping of Earth’s surface, Earth’s structure, energy in the Earth’s system, Earth’s history as well as learn how to function within a science lab. Students will understand essential ideas about the composition and structure of the universe and the Earth’s place within it. Students will also study creation and evolution as it pertains to Earth science.
Life science covers the basic concepts of biology. Class content will give students a broad grasp of the topics of cell biology, genetics, structure and function in living systems, classification, and ecology in preparation for further study in high school science courses. There will also be discussions throughout the course on how creation and evolution connect to the study of life science.
Physical science covers the basic concepts of chemistry and physics. Class content will give students a broad grasp of the topics of matter, reactions, the periodic table, energy, force, and motion in preparation for further study in high school science courses. Students will also participate in a problem solving project as part of this course.
To help today’s students prepare for living responsibly in God’s world, the goals of school mathematics must be appropriate for the demands of a global information age. AHC believes that these four broad goals will meet students’ mathematical needs.
1. Have a Mastery of Mathematical Content and Understanding
Students should be proficient in their computational and procedural math skills and have a conceptual understanding of core mathematics topics of:
- Number and Operations
- Data Analysis and Probability
Students should be able to process mathematically using:
- Reasoning and Proof
- Problem Solving
Students should know that mathematics is an essential component of who they are, and that mathematics is integral in every area of life. These understandings should lead them to have an incentive to continue the pursuit of a better understanding of how mathematics relates to them.
4. Integration with Other Domains
- Connection of God with math and math with God
- Connection with other subjects such as science, history, social studies, etc…
- from accounting and finance to scientific research
- from public policy debates to market research and political polls.
Beginning in middle school mathematics, the focus shifts to rates, ratios, and proportions. In addition, students begin to use the standard algorithm for division exclusively. A strand covering “Expressions and Equations” is introduced, which increases the abstract and algebraic nature of the mathematics. The four critical areas in this course are:
- connecting ratio and rate to whole number multiplication and division and using concepts of ratio and rate to solve problems;
- completing understanding of division of fractions and extending the notion of number to the system of rational numbers, which includes negative numbers;
- writing, interpreting, and using expressions and equations; and
- developing understanding of statistical thinking.
This mathematics course continues to focus on ratios, rates, and proportions, as well as algebraic representations. The critical areas are:
- developing understanding of and applying proportional relationships;
- developing understanding of operations with rational numbers and working with expressions and linear equations;
- solving problems involving scale drawings and informal geometric constructions, and working with two- and three-dimensional shapes to solve problems involving area, surface area, and volume; and
- drawing inferences about populations based on samples.
This mathematics course introduces a strand on Functions, preparing students for entry into high school algebra next year. Instructional time focuses on three critical areas:
- formulating and reasoning about expressions and equations, including modeling an association in bivariate data with a linear equation, and solving linear equations and systems of linear equations;
- grasping the concept of a function and using functions to describe quantitative relationships;
- analyzing two- and three-dimensional space and figures using distance, angle, similarity, and congruence, and understanding and applying the Pythagorean Theorem.
Algebra 1 strengthens the student’s understanding of arithmetic and develops his/her skills of translating verbal expressions into mathematical symbols, numerical expressions and open sentences. Topics of emphasis include solving equations, inequalities, multiplying and factoring polynomials, graphing linear equations and solving radical expressions. (Prerequisites: 90% or higher in seventh grade math, pass the Algebra placement test (85% or greater), and have demonstrated good study habits in grade 7 math.)
Language is a gift from God that sets humans apart from the rest of the creation. The language arts (i.e. reading/literature, writing, and listening/speaking/viewing) are not only the entrée to all other school subjects, but also the vehicles for developing close and ongoing relationships with others and God (Tindell, 2001-02). Therefore, developing proficiency in the language arts is one of the most critical processes in the life of the Christian school. Its importance cannot be overstated. It is our responsibility as Christian educators to teach our students to read with comprehension and discernment, to listen with understanding and compassion, to speak with conviction and effect, and to write with clarity and persuasion (O’Malley 1999).
Literature & Composition
Our curriculum is primarily built around reading, analyzing, and writing about the following novels: The Silver Chair; Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry; and The Bronze Bow. In addition, we will follow the writing process through different types of writing, including narrative, persuasive, and expository. We explore world folktales and the elements and genres of poetry. Students choose books from a recommended reading list of excellent literature for book reports.
Grammar and Vocabulary
Students learn capitalization and punctuation rules, parts of speech, verb-subject agreement, tense, complex and compound sentences, and editing. They employ correct language mechanics in daily assignments and in larger writing projects.
Our approach to vocabulary building is two-fold. We primarily learn new vocabulary as we read the core novels and explore context clues. Additionally, students use Membean, an online vocabulary program.
In this course, students continue to reinforce skills from previous grades, and add several new skills. They read, analyze, summarize, and evaluate non-fiction texts extensively, allowing them to learn more independently in other subject areas. Students’ expository writing skills become well-honed writing the five-paragraph essay. They continue to learn how to research effectively, especially how to use primary sources. Their group skills become more adult-like, for example, learning how to engage in discussions without interrupting.
This courses focuses on students’ skill to be convincing writers of persuasive essays. Their research skills now allow them to formulate a thesis statement, research independently and ethically, and produce a quality product that demonstrates their learning. They become effective listeners, polished presenters, and mature members of group discussions. They learn how to think critically and Biblically about the message and techniques of media.
The AHC Bible Curriculum
- Exposes the student to the breadth of the Bible
- Emphasizes who God is
- Highlights basic doctrines and Biblical character traits* using Scripture memorization among its strategies
- Challenges students to accept Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord
- Encourages students to accept their self-worth as unique creations in God’s image
- Provides instruction in ethical decision-making from a Christian perspective
- Promotes respect for persons regardless of race, culture, faith, and values
- Leads students toward spiritually mature choices in attitude and behavior
- Fosters personal growth
- Encourages students to use their own copy of the Bible daily
Students will know the sweep of the Biblical story from Genesis to Malachi. We recognize that God is Creator, King, and Savior of our world. He does not use his power as the world does, but loves, suffers, and woos his children. From the beginning of the biblical story, we see how God chooses and forms a people to bless the whole world. Students will engage with the biblical story through daily written responses and discussion, skits, songs, and scripture memorization.
The Grade 7 course is designed for students to draw knowledge, wisdom, and understanding for themselves from the Word of God. The course goes beyond doctrinal and factual knowledge and applies guidance to real life scenarios. The hope is for students to wise up under the conviction of the Holy Spirit and to see them conform to the image of Jesus Christ.
The Grade 8 course teaches students a framework for understanding the stories of the early church in Acts and the rest of the New Testament. Attention is given to helping students learn to read the Bible with its connecting themes and literary context in mind so that they can understand it on their own in the future. This course is foundational for students who live in a world with Christian influences and who themselves must choose how they will live.
Students choose two electives to explore each year.
ART - Art is a hands-on, interactive class for those interested in pursuing creativity. Students learn the 7 Elements of Art and explore various techniques.
INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING - Everybody is a storyteller and no one can tell a story quite like you. Using your five senses to inspire you, Interactive Storytelling will help you discover your storytelling voice through art, games, crafts and creative writing.
MS CHOIR - Come join the AHC Middle School Choir for its 6th Season! We sing a diverse repertoire including folk, art, and gospel and enjoy many performance opportunities throughout the year. No prior singing experience is necessary.
From our syllabus:
AHC Middle School Core Values:
- Music is a gift from God; our enjoyment and participation in it are integral to our humanity.
- Music gives us a unique means of communication to God and each other that employs both head and heart.
- Music connects us to diverse cultures across time and space.
- Atmosphere of joy and welcome in the choir: all students are invited, regardless of ability or experience with music.
- Integration of the choir and worship team for the purpose of developing ready and joyful worshipers in our student body.
- The student will understand that music is a unique means of communicating to others and God.
- The student will be open to learning music of varying difficulty and styles.
- The student will learn to read and sing musical notation.
INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC - Students will learn the basic skills of the instruments in a modern musical ensemble - guitar, bass, drums, keyboard and vocals. They will also learn how to run the soundboard and project slides.
The Goals of the AHC Sports Program are
- Always Honor Christ
- Have fun
- Foster the value of participation without overemphasizing the importance of winning
- Develop the whole person: body, spirit, and mind as the athlete develops relationships with others.
Our sports programs promote important life skills and develop good character. AHC athletes learn to be good sports: gracious in victory and accepting defeat with dignity.
They think and play as a team, doing their best as they continually improve through personal effort and discipline.
Middle School PE
As we apply the goals of the AHC Sports Program listed above, the PE classes teach through
- Warmups and drills - performed daily
- Skills challenge - depending on which unit (sport) we’re on, we break down the fundamental skills for each sport and work on them
- Fitness - Performing quarterly tests (mile run, push-ups, sit-ups and shuttle runs)
- Team sports - basketball, soccer, paddle ball, volleyball, nerf hockey, flag football and junior olympics
- Group hikes
Middle School Sports
Middle school sports teams practice during the school day, when the rest of the students are in PE. Our teams play against other schools in the PSAL (Private School Athletic League).
Currently AHC offers the following sports in middle school:
- Flag Football
- Girls basketball
- Boys basketball
- Girls volleyball
- Girls soccer
- Boys soccer
We look forward to having you come and play with us!