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Sixth Grade Program

Sixth grade students study language arts, mathematics, social studies, and healthful living. Each middle school offers a program of electives in addition to the four core courses. Students will participate in an exploratory wheel/directive studies course as part of their elective experience. These classes may include, but not limited to, visual arts, music, band, and STEM.

English/Language Arts

Following the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts, sixth graders develop skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language through experience with print and digital resources. Students read a wide range of text, varying in levels of sophistication and purpose. Through print and non-print text, they develop comprehension strategies, vocabulary, as well as high order thinking skills. They read a balance of short and long fiction, drama, poetry, and informational text such as memoirs, articles, and essays and apply skills such as citing evidence, determining theme, and analyzing how parts of the text affect the whole.

Students learn about the writing-reading connection by drawing upon and writing about evidence from literary and informational texts. Writing skills, such as the ability to plan, revise, edit, and publish, develop as students practice skills of specific writing types such as arguments, informative/explanatory texts, and narratives. Guided by rubrics, students write for a variety of purposes and audiences. Sixth graders also conduct short research projects drawing on and citing several sources appropriately.

They hone skills of flexible communication and collaboration as they learn to work together, express and listen carefully to ideas, integrate information and use media and visual displays to help communicate ideas. Students learn language conventions and vocabulary to help them understand and analyze words and phrases, relationships among words, and shades of meaning that affect the text they read, write, and hear. Students are encouraged to engage in daily independent reading to practice their skills and pursue their interests.

Mathematics

The Common Core State Standards for Mathematics consist of two types of standards-Standards for Mathematical Practice that span K-12 and Standards for Mathematical Content specific to each course. The Standards for Mathematical Practice rest on important “processes and proficiencies” with longstanding importance in mathematics education. They describe the characteristics and habits of mind that all students who are mathematically proficient should be able to exhibit. The eight Standards for Mathematical Practice are:

  1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them
  2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively
  3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
  4. Model with mathematics
  5. Use appropriate tools strategically
  6. Attend to precision
  7. Look for and make use of structure
  8. Look for and express regularity in repeated sessions

The Standards for Mathematical Content in Grades 6-8 are organized under domains: The Number System, Ratios and Proportional Relationships, Functions, Expressions and Equations, Geometry, and Statistics and Probability.

The foci of Common Core Math 6 are outlined below by domain.

  • Ratios and Proportional Relationships: Understand ratio concepts and use ratio reasoning to solve problems.
  • The Number System: Apply and extend previous understandings of multiplication and division to divide fractions by fractions; multiply and divide multi-digit numbers and find common factors and multiples; apply and extend previous understandings of numbers to the system of rational numbers.
  • Expressions and Equations: Apply and extend previous understandings of arithmetic to algebraic expressions; reason about and solve one-variable equations and inequalities; represent and analyze quantitative relationships between dependent and independent variables.
  • Geometry: Solve real-world and mathematical problems involving area, surface area, and volume.
  • Statistics and Probability: Develop understanding of statistical variability; summarize and describe distributions.

Science

The North Carolina Science Essential Standards were developed with the ultimate goal of assisting students in seeing how science directly relates to their lives and the larger human population. There is a shift of emphasis from content specific objective science to science processes, with a great emphasis on the thinking skills used in problem solving. Student engagement in scientific investigation provides background for understanding the nature of scientific inquiry. In addition, the science process skills necessary for inquiry are acquired through active experience. The process skills support development of reasoning and problem-solving ability and the core of scientific methodologies.

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Understand the earth/moon/sun system, and the properties, structures and predictable motions of celestial bodies in the Universe
  • Understand the structure of Earth and how interactions of constructive and destructive forces have resulted in changes in the surface of Earth over time and the effects of the lithosphere on humans.
  • Understand the structures, processes and behaviors of plants that enable them to survive and reproduce.
  • Understand the flow of energy through ecosystems and the responses of populations to the biotic and abiotic factors in their environment.
  • Understand the properties of waves and the wavelike property of energy in earthquakes, light and sound waves.
  • Understand the structure, classifications and physical properties of matter.
  • Understand characteristics of energy transfer and interactions of matter and energy.

Social Studies

Students in sixth grade will continue to expand the knowledge, skills, and understandings acquired in the fourth and fifth grade studies of North Carolina and the United States by connecting those studies to their first formal look at a study of the world. Sixth graders will focus heavily on the discipline of geography by using the themes of location, place, movement, human-environment interaction, and region to understand the emergence, expansion, and decline of civilizations and societies from the beginning of human existence to the Age of Exploration. Students will take a systematic look at the history and culture of various world regions including the development of economic, political and social systems through the lens of change and continuity. As students examine the various factors that shaped the development of civilizations, societies, and regions in the ancient world, they will examine both similarities and differences among these areas. A conscious effort will be made to integrate various civilizations, societies, and regions from every continent (Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas). During this study, students will learn to recognize and interpret the “lessons of history;” those transferable understandings that are supported throughout time by recurring themes and issues.

Healthful Living

Healthful Living is required for all 6th grade students and includes health education and physical education. These two courses complement each other as students learn how to be healthy and physically active for a lifetime. Because our health and physical fitness needs are so different from a generation ago, the nature of healthful living is changing. Poor health choices (i.e., use of alcohol and other drugs, poor nutrition, and physical inactivity) now account for more than 50% of the preventable deaths in the United States.

Through a quality healthful living education program, students will learn the importance of health and physical activity and develop skills to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle creating a heightened quality of life. Students will learn how to apply the concepts of proper exercise in their daily lives, discover ways to handle stress, avoid harmful and illegal drugs, learn about the relationship between nutrition and weight management, develop healthy interpersonal relationships (including conflict resolution skills), develop teamwork and character-building skills, and learn how to achieve positive health and fitness goals.

In sixth grade, students will learn a variety of communication techniques that will allow them to employ critical thinking skills to make positive health decisions. Students will appraise their own health and fitness status, understand sound nutrition principles and develop sensible exercise practices. This knowledge will be applied as they demonstrate the ability to set, pursue and achieve personal health and fitness goals. Students will engage in physical activities that provide opportunities for rhythmic/dance movement, lead-up games enhancing basic sport skills, offensive and defensive game strategies, game rules/etiquette, problem solving, fair play, and sportsmanship.

Because of the nature of health education, discussion may include sensitive topics. By contacting the school’s teacher and principal, parents may request to view taught curriculum. Additionally, parents may request in writing that their child be excluded from certain health topics owing to personal/religious beliefs.

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