Grade 7 Curriculum

Mathematics
PRE-ALGEBRA: Students in grade six or grade seven taking pre-algebra 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. They also 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 at this level also understand and apply concepts involving lines, angles, and planes by demonstrating their knowledge of:

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

Upper school students at this level understand and apply the Pythagorean theorem and the concept of similarity and congruence, they know 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 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 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 sixth- or seventh-grade students to have the solid foundation necessary to be successful in Algebra 1.
Course text: Math Course 3, McDougal Littell Publishers

ALGEBRA: Students in grades seven or eight taking algebra use linear functions, linear equations, and systems of linear equations to represent, analyze, and solve a variety of problems. Students also use fundamental facts about distance and angles to describe and analyze figures. They understand that the slope (m) of a line is a constant rate of change, and they apply the Pythagorean theorem to problems involving distance between points and the analysis of polygons.

Seventh- or eighth-grade students translate among verbal, tabular, graphical, and algebraic representations of functions. Secure in these translation skills, they become facile in analyzing situations and are able to discern how to solve problems regardless of the form of presentation. Students apply their understanding about linear relationships and their various forms, including absolute values, factoring polynomials and inequalities to the study of quadratic equations, and exponential relationships. Students continue to use exponents and scientific notation to describe very large and very small numbers. They also use square roots when applying the Pythagorean theorem and they use theoretical probability and proportions to make predictions. They use descriptive statistics, including mean, median, and range, to analyze and summarize data sets in organizing and displaying data in meaningful ways.

Science: Earth and Science
Fundamental science topics for seventh graders include the structure of the earth, forces that shape the earth, and the dynamics of the atmosphere and the oceans as well as tectonic plate theory, geologic time, and the genesis and structure of the solar system. Further, seventh-grade students implement and present a research project during the second trimester that further develops their skills in applying the scientific method to answer questions and experiment.

Broad themes, such as unity and diversity, scale and structure, systems and interactions, energy, and patterns of change, form the context within which specific content is addressed. Conceptual development is fostered by involving students directly in the process of scientific inquiry.

Our laboratory activities emphasize the scientific method by applying it to experimental objectives presented in the classroom. Students generate hypotheses, plan clear and controlled experiments, and collect quantitative and qualitative data. Observations are recorded on student-designed computer spread sheets. Outcomes are also interpreted and conclusions drawn. New or refined hypotheses often emerge and foster broader creative and analytical thinking skills.
Course Texts: Earth's Waters, Pearson/Prentice Hall
Inside Earth, Pearson/Prentice Hall
Astronomy, Pearson/Prentice Hall
Earth’s Changing Surface, Pearson/Prentice Hall

English
The seventh-grade English course continues to foster a love of literature and writing and strengthen our students’ confidence in their abilities to read and write effectively. Seventh-graders develop and sharpen their critical thinking skills through reading, writing, thinking, listening, speaking, and research. As seventh graders, they build upon the skills instilled in English Six, such as note taking and discussion techniques as well as structuring a well-crafted piece of writing. Students understand themselves as readers by continuing to use personal criteria to select books and by reading a minimum of eight to ten independent books per year in different genres.

Seventh-grade students expand their reading vocabulary by identifying idioms and words with literal and figurative meanings in their speaking, writing, and reading experiences. They also learn to look more intently at the world around them as they discover how writing and literature communicates certain values and feelings. The essential thematic reading questions in English Seven are as follows:


  • What is friendship and the responsibilities associated with friendship?
  • What are the consequences associated with friendship, and what does loyalty have to do with friendship?

Students engage in numerous types of writing, including journal/reflective writing, writing to inform, writing to persuade, writing to explain, short-term writing, and writing to publish. Students write every day, tailoring their work for a particular audience and purpose and producing longer pieces every week. They write stories and scripts that demonstrate their understanding of how literary elements, such as characterization, setting, dialog, internal and external conflict, irony, and imagery, function within a story. Additionally, in seventh grade they compose both formal and extemporaneous essays. Students maintain a writer’s notebook, including starter questions, journaling, creative writing, free writing, etc. Vocabulary is studied on a weekly basis. In addition to examining stylistic and grammatical issues as they arise in writing, students continue to practice sentence diagramming and more advanced grammatical concepts, such as combining and manipulating sentences using subordination, coordination, apposition, phrasing, and other devices that indicate relationships among ideas.

An emphasis on oral presentation skills continues in the seventh grade as students ask questions to elicit information, including evidence to support hypotheses and conclusions. Additionally,
students memorize and present a poem of their choice in the annual Seventh Grade Poetry Salon.
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.
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
The Pearl by John Steinbeck
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
Little Worlds: A Collection of Short Stories for the Middle School Vocabulary from Classical Roots Book A, Rules of the Game 2
From There to Here: Immigrant Literature Voices of the Holocaust
Students also read a diverse array of independent reading texts, short stories, poems, and articles.

History: American History from 1865
The seventh-grade history course introduces students to the rich history of the United States—from the foundation of our nation to the modern-day struggles and triumphs of a diverse country. Recognizing that there are many stories to be told, we select themes and time periods that provide a varied and inclusive portrait of our nation as it struggles continually to define itself and its place in the world. We attempt to connect history with current events and trends whenever possible, thus making history come alive for our students. Students study the Constitution and the separation of powers, the age of politics and free enterprise, technology and inventions, the propaganda of WWI, the Jazz Age, the Great Depression and the New Deal, WWII and the Cold War, the New Frontier and the Great Society, the Longest War (1950-1975), and the years of turmoil and change (1969-1980).
Course Text: Call to Freedom: U.S. History 1865-Present

Information Literacy and Technology
The overall goal of the seventh-grade 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 (Mandarins), Spanish, French, Latin
A primary goal of the seventh-grade Chinese course are to enable students to develop basic communication skills in listening and speaking on age-appropriate topics. Others are 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 Chinese culture.
Course Texts: Easy Steps to Chinese Volumes 1 & 2

Spanish 7 is the second half of the level-one Spanish course at Far Hills Country Day School. The goal of the course is to enable each student to reach his/her highest level of competency in the five areas of language instruction: listening, reading, writing, speaking, and culture. The course content is based the course textbook. Along with the student workbook, the course is supplemented with videos, CDs, and a CD-ROM program.
Course Text: ¡Exprésate! Level 1

French 7 is a continuation of the level-one course begun in the second trimester of the sixth grade. The goal of the course is to enable each student to reach his/her highest level of competency in the five areas of language instruction: listening, reading, writing, speaking, and culture. The course content is based on the course textbook. Along with the student text and workbook, the course is supplemented with videos, CDs, and internet projects.
Course Text: Allez, viens by Holt Rinehart Winston

The Latin grade-seven course serves as an introduction to classical Latin and to Ancient Roman culture. The course is offered two days per cycle. Two years of study in seventh and eighth grades, constitute between 3/4 and one year of high school Latin. Through readings in Latin about Pompeii and the Roman civilization, students gain a feel for the language and the culture. Emphasis is placed on grammar and on the connection between Latin and the English language.
Course Text: The Cambridge Latin Course, Unit 1

Music
In their final year of general music, seventh-grade students continue to experience, create, and perform music in a variety of venues. They utilize the Midi keyboard lab to perform and compose music as well as to create orchestrations of poetry in our lyrics unit. They also continue to hone their note reading skills in both the treble and bass clefs and play simple melodies and chordal accompaniments. Students perform in both the Holiday Concert in December and the Grandparents’ Day Concert in May. Students choose a composer from the Romantic Period to study in-depth and create a computer project as their final assessment. Using the HBO special “Stomp Out Loud” as inspiration, students explore creative movement and composition by using ordinary objects to make music. Finally, we look at the components of musical theater through Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story.”

Fine Arts
Grade-seven students explore simple and complex concepts in drawing, understand contour, shading, and perspective, learn about positive and negative space, and practice advanced wheel techniques in ceramics. The students also paint with watercolors, tempera, and acrylics and use principles of design to create original compositions.

Test Preparation
In preparation for standardized tests, seventh-grade students participate in a dedicated test preparation program throughout the year. Students have the opportunity to hone numerous academic skills, including vocabulary, critical reading and thinking, and problem solving.