Between the tenth and eleventh years, the imagination-laden world characteristic of early childhood undergoes a cognitive metamorphosis, which grants students the ability to form abstract concepts. Thought, before this time, has had a pictorial rather than a conceptual nature. “Thought” was literally imagination’s child, accounting for the emphasis placed on the cultivation of the child’s imaginative powers in the elementary school curriculum. The thinking that emerges from the matrix of a healthy imagination is a warm and mobile thinking, the fruit of the living pictures, which the world has brought to the child. They have awakened the child’s enthusiasm for, and interest in the world around him. The curricula of the next three years are intended to provide experiences and learning opportunities to support and nurture this new ability.
Mathematics introduces percentage, interest, profit and loss, ration, proportion,estimation and introduction to algebraic equations. The study of economics will begin with basic computation into the beginning of algebra. Geometrical design is now done with the utmost accuracy with instruments. Families of geometric figures are constructed and studied for the numerical laws they embody. Geometry will incorporate geometric drawing, theorems and computation.
The law-abiding, rule-bound culture of Rome offers an instructive backdrop for the sixth grade child in developing his/her English language skills. The Latin roots of common words and expressions are explored. Conventions of composition and research are elaborated upon this year, and the fundamentals of scientific writing are introduced to coincide with the science main lesson units. Formal grammar rules are also dealt with in greater detail. The beauty and order of calligraphy makes it another appropriate skill to be introduced in the sixth grade.
In the 6th grade music, students play violin, viola, or cello. The focus in this class is on forming the group into a string orchestra by building up their music reading skills, ensemble skills and rehearsal skills. Students are taught more advanced music reading skills and playing techniques. Students also develop a recorder ensemble with every student playing soprano, alto or tenor recorder. Students learn about the different time periods in music history and the stories of famous composers. They learn to listen to and appreciate classical music. The 6th grade music class will perform in two formal string orchestra concerts.
Science is taught primarily through blocks. Observational skills are sharpened as students use the inquiry method to explore the curriculum and learn the scientific method. The physical sciences now begin with the study of acoustics, heat, magnetism, and static electricity. Through geology, ecology, physics and astronomy the laws of the earth are studied in the 6th grade. To reinforce their knowledge of geology, students go on a five-day trip to Lassen Volcanic National Park.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE (Spanish)
Students will build on the grammar and vocabulary that they have been introduced to in 5th grade, delving further into verb conjugation, and working consistently with present tense of irregular verbs, as well as some reflexive verbs. Through oral and written expression, students are continually encouraged to apply Spanish language study in a meaningful and relevant way, describing themselves and others or talking about likes and dislikes.
HISTORY and SOCIAL STUDIES
The History curriculum that governs much of the sixth grade language arts work takes as its theme Rome and medieval Christian Europe, and Moslem North Africa. The study of the Roman epoch begins with the mythical account of the travels of Aeneas and his founding of the city; it examines the evolution of Roman government, laws and rights through its successive rulers, the wars it waged, and its great achievements in technology and the arts; and it charts the events leading to its decline and the concomitant rise of Christianity and Islam.
Students study the earth’s configuration and contrasts: distribution of oceans, seas, continents, and mountain masses with introduction of climate studies and first astronomical concepts. All of the major biomes on the earth are studied, with a special focus on latitudinal lines.
Students continue to use computers and the computer lab to write essays and other Main Lesson content. Students use teacherweb to communicate with their teachers, gather details of assignments and find copies of Main Lesson chalkboard drawings. Digital literacy is introduced to prepare the students to understand how to think ethically in cyberspace, how to act responsibly online, and how to avoid cyberbullying.
Most students have mastered gross motor skills. Games and activities offer continued practice to master all developmental motor skills. Students now gain confidence in cross lateral and eye-hand-foot exercises. Games pull the senses together in combination, assisting the child with reading speed, math sequencing, and problem solving skills. Sixth graders play team sports with balls, Frisbees and a variety of other equipment. Lead-up drills introduce less familiar sports in small skill sets to encourage mastery, confidence and enthusiasm. Group problem solving in games helps the group process in the classroom. Students work together to improve games, enhancing group communications skills and leadership qualities. In sixth grade, students participate in a special event called the Medieval Games. Students run races, participate in archery and tug of war events.
Black and white drawing, shadows, landscapes, and color contrasts are taken up in painting.