Grade 7 Curriculum
In Grade 7, increasingly complex techniques for active reading, effective discussion, and creative and formal writing are introduced. Students read literature, develop creative expression, and build their vocabularies and knowledge of standard English grammar. Students study analytical essay structure throughout the year and consistently write in their in-class journals. The goal of Grade 7 is to give students the skills to write and read analytically and to examine literature from a figurative perspective. Works may include: “The Bound Man,” “Harrison Bergeron,” The Pearl, The Giver, To Kill a Mockingbird, and selected poems by Frost, Hughes, and Shakespeare.
In Grade 7, students delve into the power of the solo voice in drama. Through poetry, monologue and soliloquy, the students explore the art of painting with language using modern and classical texts.
Through a wide range of activities, including extensive use of primary and secondary sources, writing activities, and creative projects, students are challenged to deepen their attitudes and skills as historians. Students examine the ways the global power balance has shifted since the 14th century: from the Middle East to Europe, from indigenous cultures to global empires, and finally to post-colonial nation-states. Topics include the Renaissance, exploration, colonization, independence movements, and 20th Century conflicts. In addition, the themes of human rights and social justice are woven into the curriculum.
Right triangles in algebra, data analysis and probability as well as polynomials are a significant focus for students. Students have an opportunity to use logical reasoning skills and improve their number sense. In the spring, students begin an Algebra I course. Students continue to maintain a math notebook and work on several mathematics-based projects that allow them to practice both their written and oral presentation skills. Students continue to work with the supplementary Math's Mate program, and they are also introduced to the nationally administered American Math Competition.
The Introductory Biology unit includes the following topics: 1) the study of cells; 2) microscopy; 3) cell membrane; 4) DNA and protein synthesis; 5) cell reproduction; 6) introduction to genetics; 7) bacteria and bacterial control; 8) dental hygiene; 9) plant structure and classification; and 10) HIV/AIDS.
The sub-topics within cell, cell membrane and microscopy include cell structure and classification, cellular organelles and functions, cell membrane structure, cell membrane functions, diffusion, osmosis, tonicity, facilitated diffusion, active transport, simple and compound microscope, parts of the microscope, magnification and the handling of the microscope.
In the section on DNA and protein synthesis, students learn the structure of DNA, nucleotides, human DNA, DNA replication, and the synthesis of proteins in the cell.
In cell reproduction, students are introduced to concepts of asexual and sexual cell reproduction, mitosis and meiosis.
In genetics the sub-topics include Mendelian genetics, non-Mendelian genetics, multiple alleles, codominance, incomplete dominance and sex-linked inheritance.
The sub-topics within bacteria and bacterial control include bacterial structure and classification, the importance of bacteria, bacterial growth, and bacterial control.
In the section on dental hygiene the structure and function of tooth, gingivitis and periodontal disease are covered.
The sub-topics within plants structure and classification include flower, pollination and fertilization, seed and fruit, germination, structure and function of root, stem and leaf, modification and photosynthesis.
In AIDS/HIV, the sub-topics include the history and politics of AIDS, the HIV virus and its life cycle, pathogenesis, the spread of AIDS, diagnosis, and HIV testing, treatment, and prevention.
Students integrate and apply their knowledge of the concepts they have learned throughout the year in a project on the tissue culture of African violet and Boston fern.
The third-year modern language course is a continuation of the proficiency-based curriculum. Students learn how to express themselves in real-life situations while increasing their knowledge of language structures. The definite past is introduced as are object pronouns. Communicative competence in the target language is expanded through individual and group projects. Students also learn about the cultures where French and Spanish are spoken.
Students engage in assignments over the course of the year that are suitable to use in a portfolio for high school admission. They undertake work in painting, drawing, collage, clay, and pen and ink. Each student produces a limited edition of linoleum block prints on paper and on fabric. Students draw in one-point and two-point perspective in conjunction with their study of the Renaissance, and they make tessellations when they study Islam. An emphasis in Grade 7 art is the use of pattern.
Band members continue or begin to sharpen instrumental music skills. Students play from ear as well as notated music. Basic music theory is taught for reading key signatures and understanding the rhythmic meter. Attention is placed on articulation and breath support as well as the fundamental skills of producing a good tone. Chorus members sing in unison and harmonies, while expanding their vocal range and technique. Students are taught healthy singing habits in the various registers of the voice. They learn traditional choral styles to reinforce healthy singing. Students explore pop songs, foreign language pieces, jazz, and classical repertoire, and they adapt their technique to suit the specific musical style. Chorus students develop sight-singing skills using solfege.
Students work on developing and improving physical skills related to specific sports. They also increase their own personal levels of fitness. Through the program, students gain a better understanding of sport strategies and philosophies. They work on functioning as a cohesive, supportive group and on organizing themselves fairly in game situations. Units include soccer, team handball, basketball, floor hockey, and volleyball. The climbing wall presents opportunities that allow students to take responsible risks and attempt personal challenges that enhance confidence and self-esteem.
Students in Grade 7 use the library for independent study, research, and reading. Students have access to a wealth of databases and other electronic resources.
Students study the history, terminology, and basic workings of the personal computer. We take apart computers and examine the major components in depth. Students learn about microprocessors, transistors, binary code and file size. They follow this with an independent technology research project. During the second trimester, Grade 7 students code a website in HTML. Students begin the assignment by analyzing website design elements. This is followed by choosing a topic and researching and writing copy for their site. Buttons are created in Photoshop, and images are collected from different sources. Students spend several weeks compiling this information and coding their pages. In the third trimester, they learn how to use DSLR cameras. Exercises focus on camera elements such as f-stop, shutter speed, ISO, composition and analysis. The final project requires Grade 7 students to consider and compose a pictorial story using the camera techniques they learned about in class.
In Grade 7, students receive effective and responsible guidance in the area of self-identity, especially with regard to academic life. Additionally, a great deal of clinical, accurate information in the areas of nutrition, comprehensive sex education, and drug education is given. Topics may vary according to the group's particular needs as well as current events.
The spring outdoor education program is a three-day residential experience. Activities include science study, high ropes courses, rock climbing, hiking, environmental and ecology study, and a service project.
Students begin a two-year course of study that explores America’s contemporary religious pluralism. The course uses Diana Eck’s On Common Ground, a CD-ROM developed by the Pluralism Project at Harvard University. The Grade 7 course explores the basic tenets and practices of particular communities within the Hindu, Muslim, and Buddhist traditions in the United States. Students look at how the American experience has shaped each faith and how each faith has contributed to America’s contemporary religious landscape. Through biography, research, film, and guest speakers, students explore what it means to be a spiritual person, how people make decisions about their lives in the context of faith, and the ways in which people/communities are transformed by their beliefs and practices. Students identify religious pluralism in our own neighborhoods, look critically at the blessings and challenges inherent in America’s religious landscape, and develop research skills. Learning to engage conflicting views respectfully; to discern and articulate our own view; and to listen to, acknowledge, and understand views and practices different from our own are major goals of the course.
The Book of Common Prayer provides the base of Chapel services. The aim is to affirm and nurture all students in their spiritual life, and to strengthen their connection to their own religious tradition. Thursday Eucharist includes non-sectarian prayers and birthday blessings in the context of Episcopal ritual. In all, the Episcopal concept of “common prayer” celebrates the diversity of religious tradition and experiences among faculty, students, and staff.
Convocation takes place each Friday morning. Led by Upper School class representatives, Convocation is a time for students and teachers to share talents and interests, perform for one another, present curriculum projects, and share community announcements.
At St. Luke’s School our service to school, neighborhood, and world is based in direct participation and active involvement. Students choose from a variety of venues to complete their community service outside of the classroom. These may include volunteering at a food pantry or working as a tutor for young children.
Grade 7 students have an expanded array of extracurricular activities.
- Fall Sports: Coed volleyball, coed soccer
- Winter Sports: Grades 7 and 8 girls' and boys' varsity basketball
- Spring Sports: Coed softball
- Literary Magazine: Libellus
- Student Council: Participation as a class representative rotates among class members. Students meet each week with the Upper School head to discuss issues; they are responsible for running weekly Convocation.
- Canteen: Students are invited to return to school on a Friday evening for a social evening of a light dinner and play in the gym, supervised by faculty members.
- DISC Dance: Students are invited to attend a supervised dance organized by the Downtown Independent Schools Consortium (DISC) that includes Grace Church School, Village Community School, Little Red and Elisabeth Irwin, Friends Seminary, City and Country, and St. Luke’s School.