Grade 6 Curriculum

Mathematics
MATHEMATICS 6: In Mathematics 6, students demonstrate an understanding of the real number system by incorporating the four basic arithmetic operations with whole numbers, decimals, and fractions. This includes applying procedures for performing with whole numbers with exponents, integers, fractions, decimals, and percents. Students demonstrate and apply:

  • the algebraic order of operations· an understanding of ratios, proportions, and percents
  • the use of scientific notation· an ability to solve equal fractions and decimals
  • an ability to solve ratio and rate problems
Students recognize, describe, extend, and create patterns involving rational numbers and integers. They understand variables and use them appropriately. They solve, check, and graph one- and two-step equations; solve inequalities; and write function rules (given x and y values); and graph the function. Students apply understanding of the coordinated plane to solve problems, given points within the four quadrants. They evaluate expressions involving square roots and solve equations involving squares. Continuing the study of geometry and measurement, students:


  • understand and apply properties of polygons
  • apply the Pythagorean theorem
  • find the area of parallelograms, triangles, and trapezoids
  • find the circumference and area of circles
  • classify solids
  • find surface area and volume of 3-D shapes
  • measure angles and find both complimentary and supplementary angles

In addition, students continue to review material to develop a solid foundation on which to build more advanced mathematical concepts as they prepare for Algebra 1.
Course text: Math Course 2, McDougal Littell Publishers

PRE-ALGEBRA: Students taking Pre-Algebra (grade six or grade seven) expand their understanding of mathematics as they continue to demonstrate their knowledge of numbers, patterns and functions, measurement and geometry, and fundamental concepts of algebra. Students in this course understand arithmetic operations in relation to all rational numbers. They write absolute value; find the greatest common factor and the least common multiple on numbers and monomials; order rational and irrational numbers; apply negative and zero exponents; and solve linear equations. Students expand and demonstrate their skills in writing, solving, and graphing equations and inequalities. They apply arithmetic and geometric sequences and simplify and perform operations with polynomials. Students understand and apply concepts involving lines, angles, and planes demonstrating their knowledge of:


  • complimentary angles
  • vertical angles
  • bisectors and perpendicular bisectors
  • parallel, perpendicular, and intersecting planes

Students at this level also understand and apply the Pythagorean theorem and the concept of similarity and congruence. They recognize the properties of polygons and they use logic and reasoning to make and support conjectures about geometric objects. Building on their knowledge of measurement, they develop and apply strategies and formulas for finding the surface area and volume of three-dimensional figures. Students also graph systems of linear equations, identify intercepts, find the slope of linear equations, graph quadratic and exponential equations, find distances in a coordinated plane, and find the coordinates of a midpoint. They use data displays, permutations, and the counting principle to organize, analyze, and explain real-life situations. At Far Hills Country Day School, we expect our students at this level to have the solid foundation necessary to be successful in Algebra 1.
Course text: Math Course 3, McDougal Littell Publishers

Science
The sixth-grade science course immerses students in the world of living systems. Representative species from each of the five kingdoms of organisms furnish wider references for understanding and appreciating life processes. The study of the structure and function of organisms begins by focusing on its levels of organization. Cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems are presented and their actual relationships are described and explored in depth.

The interdependence of components within systems as well as among systems is emphasized through cause and effect scenarios. Testable hypotheses and experimental procedures to answer questions are integral parts of this course. Students organize and evaluate data generated during laboratory inquiries so that conclusions can be drawn and new questions can be posed. Throughout these endeavors, strong emphasis is placed on accurate information, teamwork, and articulate descriptions of each phase of the scientific method.
Course Texts: Human Biology and Health, Prentice Hall
Cells and Heredity, Pearson, Prentice Hall
From Bacteria to Plants, Pearson, Prentice Hall

English
The sixth-grade English course has two primary goals: to foster a love of literature and writing and to strengthen students’ confidence in their abilities to read and write effectively. The major aim is to support each child’s reading, writing, thinking, listening, speaking, and research skills. Students develop and sharpen their critical thinking skills and expand upon the ways in which they read, understand, and respond to literature. They learn to look more intently at the world around them and discover how writing and literature reveals other people and communicates certain values and feelings. They use details, examples, and reasons to support central ideas or clarify a point of view, and are expected to support a position with organized, specific, and appropriate details. Students also use graphic organizers to glean meaning from literature and to facilitate literary analysis. In reading, students address the essential themes and questions:


  • What is culture?
  • How does culture shape identity?
  • How does responsibility play a part in growth?
  • How do we ensure we recognize and appreciate differences?
  • How do we overcome obstacles?

Students read a minimum of seven to ten independent books in various genres over the course of the year and demonstrate strategies for reading a textbook and understanding the use of nonfiction text structure. Students write every day and produce longer pieces every week.

As their keyboarding proficiency improves to thirty-five words per minute, they engage in numerous types of writing, including journal/reflective writing, writing to inform, writing to persuade, writing to explain, and short-term writing. Students apply and work toward fluency within all stages of the writing process through publishing a minimum of six to eight individual and/or small group writing projects, and by using a variety of reference materials to revise work, and using literary annotation techniques.

Vocabulary is studied on a weekly basis. In addition to examining stylistic and grammatical issues as they arise in writing, students learn sentence diagramming and explore the parts of the sentence (complex and compound), including phrases and clauses, sentence structure and variations, and punctuation. Students sharpen their skills by solving word analogy problems and maintaining an English binder and writer’s notebook. English binders are an essential component to success in English Six. Students bring their binders to class every day and file assignments, quizzes, and essays in the appropriate sections.

Students understand and use grade-level criteria to improve formal presentations, specifically a formal vignette. They continue to develop speaking techniques to maintain audience interest during formal presentations, incorporating effective word choice, adequate volume, proper pacing, appropriate props, and clear enunciation.
Sample Course Texts: We study a variety of classic and contemporary works in all genres of literature. Our reading lists are dynamic, changing according to student composites, theme relevance, and new interdisciplinary connections.
Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan
Mythology & Folklore Vocabulary from Classical Roots 6
Wordly Wise Book 6
Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis
Students also read a diverse array of independent reading texts, short stories, poems, and articles.

History: American History to 1865The sixth-grade history course is designed as an introduction to American history from the first migrations by the continent’s earliest inhabitants through the Civil War period. We will examine the major political, social, cultural, and economic developments as well as the exploration, settlement, and colonization of the New World.

In addition, the following topics will be covered: the American Revolution, the formation and growth of the early republic, democracy, westward expansion, growing differences between the North and South, and the Civil War. We will also explore the themes of what it means to be an American and how the notions of liberty, equality, freedom, and democracy emerged and evolved throughout this period and affected the lives of all Americans. Consequently, we will examine the differences that resulted in conflict among Americans as well as the ties that bound them together and created cohesion as the new nation developed.

Information Literacy and Technology
The overall goal of this course is to enable students to acquire and hone the skills necessary to harness the vast flow of information and to be agile, lifelong learners, using technology and media as two powerful tools. The sub-goals of this course require upper schoolers at this level to use technology and media to collaborate and communicate as well as to access and evaluate information. We have adapted national and international technology and media standards as part of our performance expectations. Students bolster their skills to use technology and media enhance the following skills:


  • Creativity and innovation
  • Communication and collaboration
  • Research and information fluency
  • Critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making
  • Digital citizenship
  • Technology operations and concepts

Moreover, technology skills are also integrated with subject areas as students use many different software programs and platforms to complete research, class work, and projects. In upper school, there is increased focus on using digital media and environments to communicate, to work collaboratively, to support individual learning, and to contribute to the learning of others. In addition, students focus on ethical digital citizenship, working to demonstrate mature responsibility for handling technology and for respecting individual and group work within shared networks.

World Languages: Chinese (Mandarin), Spanish, French
Goals of the course are to enable students to develop basic communicative skills in listening and speaking on age-appropriate topics, to enable students to recognize and write more new Chinese characters, and to increase students’ awareness and understanding of the Chinese Pinyin pronunciation system and the Chinese culture.
Course Text: Easy Steps to Chinese Volume 1

Students continue to develop the Spanish language proficiency skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. There is an increased emphasis on grammar and writing.

Course Text: ¡Exprésate! Level One

French Students develop the language proficiency skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. There is an increased emphasis on grammar and writing.
Course Text: Allez, viens, Holt Rinehart Winston

Music
In the sixth grade, students continue to build on their note reading skills and are introduced to the bass clef. Using the Midi keyboard lab, students perform simple melodies individually as well as in group settings. Students are also introduced to more complicated rhythms and meters. They study the Romantic Period and create a project based on Edvard Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King.” Students in general music classes perform at the Holiday Concert in December. Sixth graders also explore improvisation and movement through drumming. A variety of repertoire is studied throughout the year and makes cross-curricular connections to their unit on the Jazz Age. Using Lincoln Center’s Jazz for Young People Curriculum, students study, experience, and create jazz.

Fine Arts
Sixth grade students understand and apply the following techniques in their individual creations: line, texture, color, balance, proportion, and shape. They use multimedia to explore printmaking techniques, including mono prints, lino, and relief. They also understand three-dimensional design through clay hand building and are introduced to the pottery wheel. Students also use new materials and techniques associated with three-dimensional work.

Sixth Grade: Learning Skills
Sixth graders participate in this course to bolster key study skills and habits that will enable them to work smarter and with greater efficiency, effectiveness, and independence through their upper school years and beyond. The course includes direct instruction of key academic and organizational skills, such as time management, locker organization, outlining/note-taking, test taking, listening skills, writing, reading, and public speaking skills.