Academics → Middle School Academics → Grade 6 Academics
STEM electives in middle school are important building blocks in the preparation of all students for demands of college, careers, and the rapidly changing 21st century workforce. STEM courses teach students to apply mathematics, science, and technical knowledge to innovate and solve problems. MCPS is committed to providing a well-rounded education for middle school students that includes an engaging, hands-on experience with computational learning. Middle school STEM electives teach students computational and technological literacy through coding, computer science, engineering, robotics, and other technology and design-related experiences. This program promotes creative problem solving and an exploration of multiple STEM related fields of study and careers.
Grade 6 MS Coding, Engineering, and Robotics Design STEM Electives*
Coding and Game Development (ITC2069)Students will learn the elements of good game design and the different game genres as well as basic video game coding concepts including racing, platform, launching, and more. Students will apply computational thinking to their game designs. Students will be introduced to various programming languages.
Introduction to Technology & Engineering (ENR1022)
Students are introduced to technological systems and learn and apply the Engineering Design Process to a variety of challenges. Students are introduced to Computer Aided Design using TinkerCAD.
Engineering Design & Modeling (ENR1023)
Students utilize the Engineering Design Process and technical skills of isometric sketching, multiview drawing, and Computer Aided Design using TinkerCAD to design solutions to engineering challenges.
Robotic Design 6 (ITC2068)
Students will apply coding and programming skills and problem-solving to make physical models respond to commands. Students will collaborate, communicate, think computationally, program, debug and create models while learning to solve open-ended, real-life problems.
*Schools may offer 1 to 4 of these quarter long courses
Other Grade 6 Electives
Grade 6 Technology and Design (ENR1020)
Information and Communication Technology Grade 6 (ITC1004)
The goal of the Secondary English Language Arts program is to create literate, thoughtful communicators, capable of controlling language effectively as they negotiate an increasingly complex and information-rich world. As students leave elementary school, they encounter new academic expectations such as analyzing varied and complex texts, developing arguments, synthesizing information from multiple sources, examining different perspectives, and engaging in self-reflection. Students work to acquire specific skills and strategies in reading literature, reading informational text, writing, speaking and listening, and language.
This course involves implementation of iLit, a reading intervention program designed to meet the needs of struggling readers through differentiated instruction, computer adaptive instruction, background-knowledge-building videos, high-interest literature, and explicit instruction in reading, writing, and vocabulary skills.
The Digital Literacy 1 curriculum focuses on developing critical and creative thinking through reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing in a 21st-century approach. Working through a problem-based process, students learn to define real-world problems of interest, research the causes of those problems using real-time global texts, and then create solutions to address the problems. Students will advance their understanding of comprehension, analysis, and evaluation of text as well as vocabulary acquisition through reading complex informational and argumentative texts in a technology-rich medium. Students will collaborate regularly through research and solution phases of their investigations. Students' curiosity and motivation will engage them in their investigations while learning and refining the processes that will enrich all other courses and prepare them for college and career projects.
New Course Code #
Notes (i.e. HS credit)
English 6 for English Learners
English 6 for ELs II
English 6 for ELs III
English 7 forELs I
English 7 for ELs II
English 7 for ELs III
English 8 forELs I
English 8 for ELs II
English 8 for ELs III
Multidisciplinary Educational Training and Support Program (METS)
Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) programs focus on
processes and skills that enhance individual, family, and
societal well-being. Programs reflect the National Standards
for FACS Education and integrate math, science, English, and
social studies. A project-based curriculum encourages students
to investigate and solve authentic problems. Students learn
to use communication and critical-thinking skills as well as
current technologies to make informed decisions.
UNIT 1: INDIVIDUAL, FAMILY, AND SOCIETAL NEEDS
UNIT 2: DECISION-MAKING PROCESS
UNIT 3: NUTRITION AND WELLNESS
UNIT 4: PERSONAL FINANCE
UNIT 5: LIVING ENVIRONMENTS
UNIT 6: COLLEGE AND CAREER PLANNING
The fine arts are important to every child’s development and
play a vital role in providing students with a well-rounded,
world class education. Dance, Music, Theatre, and Visual Art
promote academic excellence, creative problem-solving, and
social emotional learning, which are essential components of
college and career readiness. In order to meet the evolving
needs of a 21st century learner, the fine arts focus on developing
artistic literacy by engaging in the artistic processes (creating,
performing/presenting, responding, and connecting) through
authentic materials and techniques. The fine arts introduce
students to new world views and cultures, help students to value
the perspectives of others, and enable students to creatively
express a personal viewpoint. Through artistic experiences,
students become independent and divergent thinkers, selfmotivated workers, and innovators. All students have access to
fine arts programs in middle school. In Grades 6–8, students
may specialize in one or more of the fine art forms.
Students with no previous dance experience should begin at
Level 1 in the dance sequence. This beginning course provides
a survey of dance styles and elements
In this course, students will have the opportunity to learn
about music and instruments from a variety of world cultures.
Students explore various genres of music through singing,
performing on instruments, and creating music. World Beat
Music Grade 6 is open to all sixth grade students interested
in deepening their understanding and application of musical
concepts and historical study.
Students acquire basic piano technique and learn to read written
music notation. Students develop effective practice habits so
they will be able to progress independently. Check with your
child’s counselor to see if this is offered at your school.
Students learn beginning guitar techniques, including selected
major, minor, and seventh chords; basic finger picks and strums;
and tuning technique. Students develop effective practice habits
so they will be able to progress independently. Check with your
child’s counselor to see if this is offered at your school.
Students will create, perform, and respond to music in a
variety of styles/genres. Students will develop the fundamentals
of proper vocal technique and choral singing in relation to
posture, breath control, tone, intonation, diction, blending,
singing in harmony, music literacy, and sight-singing. Students
will primarily sing state level 2 music. There will likely be
a minimum of two school concerts and students are expected
to participate in all performances. This course is open to all
students, regardless of music background.
Students will create, perform, and respond to music in a
variety of styles/genres. Students will continue to develop the
fundamentals of proper vocal technique and choral singing in
relation to posture, breath control, tone, intonation, diction,
blending, singing in harmony, music literacy, and sight-singing.
Students will primarily sing state level 2-3 music. There
will likely be a minimum of two school concerts as well as the
opportunity to participate in other festivals/performances and
students are expected to participate in all performances. An
audition and/or a prerequisite of MS Chorus 1 may be required.
Students will create, perform, and respond to music in a variety
of styles/genres. Students will continue to develop proper vocal
technique and choral singing in relation to posture, breath
control, tone, intonation, diction, blending, singing in harmony,
music literacy, and sight-singing in multiple keys and parts.
Students will primarily sing state level 3 music. There will
likely be a minimum of two school concerts as well as the
opportunity to participate in other festivals/performances and
students are expected to participate in all performances. An
audition and/or a prerequisite of MS Chorus 1 and/or 2 may be
This course is for students with no prior instrumental music
experience. Students prepare for participation in performing
ensembles and develop technical skills necessary to perform
Grade 1 Level music, a performance level established by
the National Association for Music Education and not
a reference to first grade. Basic instrumental skills are
developed by performing a variety of music. Students are
taught the elements of musical form, terms and symbols,
tone production, instrument care and maintenance, and the
importance of consistent practice habits. Cultural context
of the music and its historical significance as they relate to
performance is studied. Students may attend live performances
and perform in public. Students may be concurrently enrolled
with 7892, 6845, 6815, and Middle School Band I (6880) or
Orchestra I (6800) if necessary to run the course.
Students refine skills learned from their elementary Grade
4 and 5 instrumental music programs or in Middle School
Beginning Band, String, or Wind and Percussion, and develop
more advanced performance techniques. The development of
technical skills necessary to perform Grade 1 to Grade 2 Level
music is stressed. Emphasis is placed on developing formal
rehearsal decorum, following a conductor, and developing
pitch and rhythmic security in preparation for performing
an independent part in the traditional band or orchestra
ensemble. Students also learn melodic form and construction
as they examine and perform more complex folk melodies
and melodies from master composers. Students discuss the
social and intellectual influences that affected the creation of
the music they are studying. They begin to develop aesthetic
criteria for measuring the quality of instrumental performance.
Students may attend live performances and perform in public.
Prerequisite: Attainment of outcomes for Beginning Band, String, or
Wind/Percussion Instruments in Grades 4–5 or 6–8.
Students develop and refine their technical skills in order to
perform music at the Grade 2 Level of difficulty. Emphasis is
placed on developing formal rehearsal decorum, following
a conductor and developing pitch and rhythmic security
in preparation for performing an independent part in the
traditional band or orchestra ensemble. Students learn the
social, cultural, and intellectual influences reflected in the
musical works they are studying and discuss performance
styles and musical forms of corresponding historical periods.
The study of music theory includes performance and
recognition of major scales, diatonic and chromatic intervals,
and simple melodic dictation. The critical listening skills
that are developed as a result of preparation for instrumental
performance are used to help the student formulate criteria
for effectively evaluating his/her own performance as well as
the performance of others. This band or orchestra represents
middle schools at public performances.
Prerequisite: Attainment of outcomes for Middle School Band I or
Orchestra I. Students may also audition to qualify for this
course. This course may be taken for more than one year.
Students distinguish between abstract and programmatic
music and learn and discuss the social, intellectual, and
historical influences on each. Students develop and refine their
technical skills in order to perform music at the Grade 2 to
Grade 3 Level of difficulty. In addition, students perform and
historically categorize transcriptions of a variety of composers.
This band or orchestra represents middle schools at public
Prerequisite: Attainment of outcomes for Middle School Band II or
Orchestra II. Students may also audition to qualify for
this course. This course may be taken for multiple years.
Students in Grades 6, 7, or 8 with no previous theatre
experience should begin at Level 1 in the curricular sequence.
In this beginning level course, students will explore how
the theater is a space that both creates and challenges
COMMUNITY. Theatre artists create an ensemble amongst
themselves which functions as a safe space for risk-taking and
creating. A sustained investigation of COMMUNITY in this
intermediate level course engages students to study a variety of
dramatic works, participate in the creation and enhancement
of ensemble, and question the role of theatre within their
Students will be provided multiple and varied opportunities
explore IDENTITY and the many ways this theme can be
represented through visual art. Students will develop a
fundamental understanding of ideation, media techniques,
formal qualities, and compositional devices. Students in Grade
6, Grade 7, and Grade 8 with no previous art experience
in middle school should begin at Level 1 in the visual art
These year-long courses integrate visual art and computational thinking. By the end of the course, students will have mastered both the Maryland Technology Education Standards and the National Visual Art Standards. Students will investigate real-world problems, and then seek to design and create meaningful solutions via computational thinking and the artistic process.
Comprehensive Health Education promotes positive health- related attitudes and behaviors that support self-reliance and self-regulation, while developing health literacy skills and lifelong wellness. The health literacy skills emphasized throughout the program include analyzing influences, accessing information, interpersonal communication, decision making, goal-setting, self-management, and advocacy.Beginning in the 2018-2019 school year, the Family Life and Human Sexuality unit will include age-appropriate instruction on the meaning of “consent” and respect for personal boundaries in every grade in which the curriculum is taught. Health Education aligns with Be Well 365 by emphasizing lifelong positive health-related attitudes and behaviors that promote self-reliance and self-regulation for all students.
extends students’ understanding of whole number and fraction concepts developed
throughout the elementary grades. Instruction at this level will focus on four
areas: (1) connecting ratio and rate to whole number multiplication and
division and using concepts of ratio and rate to solve problems; (2) completing
understanding of division of fractions and extending the notion of number to
the system of rational numbers, which includes negative numbers; (3) writing,
interpreting, and using expressions and equations; and (4) developing
understanding of statistical thinking.
of Math 6 focuses on the Standards for Mathematical Practice to build a climate
that engages students in the exploration of mathematics. The Standards for
Mathematical Practice are habits of mind applied throughout the course so that
students see mathematics as a coherent, useful, and logical subject that makes
use of their ability to make sense of problem situations. Through this course,
students will do the following:
TOPICS OF STUDY:
Investigations into Mathematics (IM) extends students’
understanding of mathematical concepts developed in Mathematics 6 and
accelerates the pace of instruction to prepare for Algebra 1. This course
compacts all of the Grade 7 Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and much of the
Grade 8 CCSS into a single year. Students who successfully complete IM are
prepared for Algebra 1 in Grade 8. The remaining Grade 8 CCSS are compacted
into the Algebra 1 course. Instruction for IM will focus on four critical
areas: (1) developing a unified understanding of number, recognizing fractions,
decimals (including both those that have a finite or a repeating decimal
representation), and percents as different representations of rational numbers;
(2) using linear equations and systems of linear equations to represent,
analyze, and solve a variety of problems; (3) comparing two data distributions
and reasoning about differences between populations; and (4) analyzing
geometric relationships in order to solve real-world mathematical problems.
IM focuses on the Standards for
Mathematical Practice to build a climate that engages students in the
exploration of mathematics. The Standards for Mathematical Practice are habits
of mind applied throughout the course so that students see mathematics as a
coherent, useful, and logical subject that makes use of their ability to make
sense of problem situations. Through this course, students will—
The Accelerated Math 6 Plus (AMP 6+) course begins with a study of area and surface area concepts. This work sets the tone for later units that use area models for arithmetic using rational numbers. Next, students begin study of ratios, rates, and percentages with an introduction using representations such as number line diagrams, tape diagrams, and tables. Student understanding of these concepts expands by exploring fraction and decimal representations of rational numbers. They explore sums, differences, products, and quotients using intuitive methods and efficient algorithms. Next, students are introduced to equations and expressions including finding solutions for linear equations in one variable and basic equations involving exponents. Student understanding of ratios and rates combined with a basic understanding of equations leads students to study proportional relationships with special emphasis on circumference and area of a circle as an example and non-example of proportional relationships. This is followed by looking at percentage concepts and applications such as sales tax, tipping, and markup. They learn about rational numbers less than zero expanding their understanding of arithmetic to negative numbers. A brief study of data and statistics concludes the new concepts in the course. The last unit offers students an optional opportunity to synthesize their learning from the year using a number of different applications.
TOPICS OF STUDY:
o Find areas of polygons by decomposing, rearranging, and composing shapes.
o Understand and use the terms “base” and “height,” and find areas of parallelograms and triangles.
o Approximate areas of non-polygonal regions by polygonal regions.
o Represent polyhedra with nets and find their surface areas.
· Ratios, Rates, and Percentages
o Understand and use the terms related to ratios, rates, and percentages.
o Recognize when two ratios are or are not equivalent and that equivalent ratios have equal unit rates.
o Represent ratios as expressions, and represent equivalent ratios with double number line diagrams, tape diagrams, and tables.
o Represent percentages with tables, tape diagrams, and double number line diagrams, and as expressions.
o Use these terms and representations in reasoning about situations involving unit price, constant speed, measurement conversion, color mixtures, and recipes.
· Fractions and Decimals
o Examine how the relative sizes of numerator and denominator affect the size of their quotient when numerator or denominator (or both) is a fraction.
o Compute quotients of fractions.
o Solve problems involving lengths and areas of figures with fractional side lengths and extend the formula for the volume of a right rectangular prism to prisms with fractional edge lengths and use it to solve problems.
o Describe a situation that a multiplication or division equation or expression with a fraction could represent.
o Compute sums, differences, products, and quotients of multi-digit whole numbers and decimals, using efficient algorithms.
o Use calculations with whole numbers and decimals to solve problems set in real-world contexts.
· Equations and Expressions
o Understand and use the terms “variable,” “coefficient,” “solution,” “equivalent expressions,” “exponent,” “independent variable,” and “dependent variable.”
o Work with expressions that have positive whole-number exponents and whole-number, fraction, or variable bases, using properties of exponents strategically to evaluate these expressions, given a value for the variable.
o Use these terms and representations (including expressions with two variables) in reasoning about real-world and geometrical situations, understanding that some values of variables may not make sense in a given context.
o Represent collections of equivalent ratios as equations and use and make connections between tables, graphs, and linear equations that represent the same relationships.
· Proportional Relationships
o Understand and use the terms “proportional,” “constant of proportionality,” and “proportional relationship,” and recognize when a relationship is or is not proportional.
o Represent proportional relationships with tables, equations, and graphs.
o Use these terms and representations in reasoning about situations that involve constant speed, unit pricing, and measurement conversions.
o Special focus is given to circumference and area of circles as examples of proportional and non-proportional relationships, respectively. Students informally derive the formulas for circumference and area of a circle and are introduced to the value pi.
· Percentage Increase and Decrease
o Use ratios, scale factors, unit rates (also called constants of proportionality), and proportional relationships to solve multi-step, real-world problems that involve fractions and percentages.
o Understand and use the terms “repeating decimal,” “terminating decimal,” “percent increase,” “percent decrease,” “percent error,” and “measurement error.”
o Represent amounts and corresponding percent rates with double number line diagrams and tables.
o Use these terms and representations in reasoning about situations involving sales taxes, tips, markdowns, markups, sales commissions, interest, depreciation, and scaling a picture.
o Use equations to represent proportional relationships in which the constant of proportionality arises from a percentage, for example, the relationship between price paid and amount of sales tax paid.
· Rational Numbers
o Interpret signed numbers in contexts (e.g., temperature, elevation, deposit and withdrawal, position, direction, speed and velocity, percent change) together with their sums, differences, products, and quotients.
o Understand and use the terms “positive number,” “negative number,” “rational number,” “opposite,” “sign,” “absolute value,” “less than,” “greater than,” and the corresponding symbols.
o Plot points with signed rational number coordinates on the number line, and recognize and use the connection between relative position of two points on the number line and inequalities involving the coordinates of the points.
o Understand and use absolute value notation, understanding that the absolute value of a number as its distance from zero on the number line.
o Use tables and number line diagrams to represent sums and differences of signed numbers or changes in quantities represented by signed numbers such as temperature or elevation, becoming more fluent in writing different numerical addition and subtraction equations that express the same relationship.
o Compute sums and differences of signed numbers.
o Plot pairs of signed number coordinates in the plane, understanding the relationship between the signs of a pair of coordinates and the quadrant of the corresponding point, and use coordinates to calculate horizontal and vertical distances between two points.
· Data Sets and Distribution
o Introduced to dot plots and histograms as ways of visualizing data and distributions.
o Informally describe the distributions using center and spread before more formally computing mean, median, mean absolute deviation, and interquartile range as ways of quantifying the center and variability.
o Consider what they can do when they do not have access to all of the necessary data.
o Ways to get samples, why using random processes is important, and how information from samples can be variable are all introduced.
This course increases literacy in both written and visual text, improves collaboration skills, builds confidence and motivation, and provides opportunities for high-level thinking via specific strategies. Students transfer their skills as viewers of film to skills on the written page, as well as learn how to read visual text and create effective visual communications.
The course focuses on all three areas of the MCPS Moving Image Education—integrating, deconstructing, and creating the moving image. Students transfer reading skills.
This course offers a study of film and film history as the core for teaching more advanced literacy skills. Students learn the physics and history of motion pictures, as well as how to apply filmmaking techniques to their own visual communications.
Students read one novel as well as shorter written text selections and screenplays. The eight units include How Movies Got their Start; Silent Narrative Films; Early Talkies; Early Color; Genre Classics: The Golden Age of Hollywood; Classic Adaptations: The Golden Age of Hollywood and Beyond; Documentaries; Animation; and The Business of Film and Film Festivals. (Completion of Lights Camera, Literacy! is not required.)
This course offers a study of media, its history, and basic related physics concepts as the core for teaching even more advanced literacy skills. Lights, Camera, Media Literacy! presents a timeline of media with focus on the history and physics of communication from the earliest times via storytelling by troubadours and griots to today’s mass media world. The units include Storytelling; The Printing Press; Newspapers & Print Advertising; Photography & Film; Radio; Television; Computers and the Internet; and Media & Our World. Students develop related multimedia projects within each of these units. (Completion of Lights Camera, Literacy! or Lights, Camera, Film Literacy! is not required.)
The Grade 6 MCPS Outdoor Environmental Education Program, known as “Outdoor Ed,” provides students with a three-day residential experience focused on the driving question, “How do our actions and choices impact the health of the watershed?” Using relevant, engaging, and interdisciplinary lessons, students explore the local ecosystem and their role in it. The natural world is both classroom and laboratory for teaching and learning at Outdoor Ed - literacy and mathematics are authentically integrated. The core lessons of this Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience include:
At Outdoor Ed, students live in dormitory-style housing at one of three sites, work collaboratively to take care of the dorms, and serve each other at meals. Teachers from each middle school accompany their students and teach several of the lessons at Outdoor Ed along with the Outdoor Ed coordinators. A fee is charged for the residential setting of the program, set by the Board of Education; alternative payment options and waivers are available. Speaking volumes about Outdoor Ed, MCPS high schools seniors cite this unique experience among their three most remembered and cherished learning events in their twelve years of education.
The middle school physical education program focuses on health-related fitness, movement skills and concepts, and personal and social responsibility. Each physical education unit challenges students to better understand the benefits of physical activity toward fitness, fundamentals of efficient movement in physical activity and sport, and the essentials of responsibility in a movement setting. The learning tasks in physical education emphasize and teach problem-solving and decision-making skills. Students participate in games and activities that promote fitness, develop tactical awareness, and build social qualities. Physical Education aligns with Be Well 365 emphasizing lifelong positive health-related attitudes and behaviors that promote self-reliance and self-regulation.
By the end of Grade 6, students should know and be able to
do the following:
MOVEMENT SKILLS AND CONCEPTS
PERSONAL AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
In Montgomery County Public Schools, the goal of the science program is for all students to achieve full scientific literacy through Next Generation Science Standards aligned and phenomenon-based instruction that will prepare them for success in college and career. The MCPS science curriculum was developed as a coherent learning progression from kindergarten through grade 12 where all students experience a rigorous, interdisciplinary approach to science content, exploring science through hands-on explorations, productive discourse, and purposeful reading and writing. Students apply content knowledge through the scientific and engineering practices to solve real world problems and develop the tools that will make them successful lifelong learners.
In Investigations in Science 6, students will experience an interdisciplinary approach to science content, exploring all three domains of science (Earth/Space, Physical, and Life Sciences) through hands-on explorations, productive discourse, and purposeful reading and writing. The curriculum is problem/project-based where students apply their understanding of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to propose solutions to real world phenomenon/problems. Students are awarded 10 SSL hours at the completion of Grade 6 Science for their full participation in SSL activities related to their Outdoor Education experience.
How do particles combine to form the variety of matter one observes and make new substances? What is energy and what is meant by conservation of energy? How is energy transferred between objects or systems? How does one characterize and explain these reactions and make predictions about them?
MS-ETS1-1, MS-ETS1-2, MS PS1-1, MS-PS1-2, MS-PS1-3, MS-PS1-4, MS-PS1-5, MS-PS1-6, MS-PS3-3, MS-PS3-4
The world is composed of matter and matter is made up of atoms and molecules that are attracted to each other and in constant motion. Variations in motion are caused by changes in thermal (heat) energy. Students will discover that the relationship between temperature and thermal energy depends on the types, states, and amounts of matter. Students will explore simple chemical reactions that release and absorb energy and will discover that the breaking of certain bonds between atoms in the reactants create new products that conserve mass. Students will apply their understanding of chemistry to a real-life situation and design a special effects display through the use of chemical properties and reactions.
How do organisms interact with the living and nonliving environments to obtain matter and energy? What happens to ecosystems when the environment changes? How do matter and energy move through an ecosystem? What happens to ecosystems when the environment changes?
MS-LS2-1, MS-LS2-2, MS-LS2-3, MS-LS2-4, MS-LS2-5
Students will explore the biodiversity and essential factors of different ecosystems and learn that a population consists of all species that occur together at a given place and time. Students will investigate populations within food webs and categorize those populations as producers, consumers, and decomposers. Students will learn that organisms compete for limited resources and that the number of organisms an ecosystem can support depends on the resources available. Students will explore how competition may limit or generate the growth of populations in specific niches in the ecosystems. They will use models to demonstrate the flow of matter and energy in an ecosystem. Students will use this information to create and maintain a habitat for a local species.
How do humans depend on Earth’s resources? How do humans depend on Earth’s resources? How do humans change the planet?
MS-ETS1-1, MS-ETS1-2, MS-ESS3-1, MS-ESS3-3, MS-ESS3-4, MS-PS1-2
Students will discover that natural resources are used by living things in a variety of ways, but how much and in what ways we use those resources affects the footprint of our planet. Students will learn that our use of fossil fuels has consequences on the environment. Students will investigate how human activity and use of resources impacts the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere and consider alternative solutions for the products we make and the resources we use. They will model a solution to a variety of environmental problems created from natural resource use.
How is energy transferred and conserved between objects or systems? What are the characteristic properties and behaviors of waves? What is light and how can one explain the varied effects that involve light? What other forms of electromagnetic radiation are there? How are instruments that transmit and detect waves used to extend human senses?
MS-PS2-3, MS-PS2-5, MS-PS3-2, MS-PS3-5, MS-PS4-1, MS-PS4-2, MS-PS4-3, MS-ETS1-1, MS-ETS1-2
Students will discover how alternative energy sources can be used to solve real world problems and design a solution. They must consider the ideas of electricity, magnetism, electrical energy production, and conversions of different types of energy, in order to debate and choose the best source of alternative energy. Students will explore the concepts of electricity and magnetism and the relationship between them. They will also investigate electrical energy and conclude it can be generated from a variety of sources and transferred into almost any form of energy. Students will discover that energy travels in waves and explore how light and sound behave. Students will use their design-folio to design a solution.
In Investigations in Science 7, students will experience an interdisciplinary approach to science content, exploring all two of the three domains of science (Life Sciences & Earth Science) through hands-on explorations, productive discourse, and purposeful reading and writing. The curriculum is problem/project-based where students apply their understanding of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to propose solutions to real world phenomenon/problems.
How do the structures of organisms enable life’s functions? How do organisms grow and develop? How do organisms obtain and use the matter and energy they need to live and grow? How do food and fuel provide energy? If energy is conserved, why do people say it is produced or used?
MS-LS1-1, MS-LS1-2, MS-LS1-4, MS-LS1-5, MS-LS1-6, MS-LS1-7
Students will research a process for growing plants without the use of soil called hydroponics. Students will investigate a variety of different systems and growing mediums for raising plants and will analyze such variables as growth rate and food production. Students will learn that plants grown using this method take in oxygen and nutrients at a quicker pace and use less energy to absorb them. Plants will be used to introduce the structure and function of living organisms, and students will learn about the characteristics of living things, parts of the cell, and cellular processes. Students will also learn what materials are required by living things, how the materials are delivered, and how these materials sustain life.
How do the structures of organisms enable life’s functions? How do organisms obtain and use the matter and energy they need to live and grow? How do the systems of the human body function and perform basic life processes? How do body systems work together as a cohesive unit to make life possible?
MS-ETS1-1, MS-ETS1-2, MS-ETS1-3, MS-LS1-3, MS-LS1-7, MS-LS1-8
Students will study the body systems of organisms and explore how the interactions of those systems affect overall functions. Students will learn about the levels of organization within an organism and the contribution cells provide a system as the basic building blocks of life. Students will explore how matter and energy are processed by organisms to build, maintain, and repair themselves. Students will relate structure and function of body systems to nutritional requirements and disease prevention.
How do organisms grow and develop? How do organisms reproduce, (sexually or asexually) and transfer their genetic information to their offspring? What characteristic behaviors do animals perform that increase the odds of reproduction? How are the characteristics of one generation related to the previous generation? How does genetic variation among organisms affect survival and reproduction? Why do individuals of the same species vary in how they look, function, and behave?
MS-ETS1-1, MS-LS1-4, MS-LS3-1, MS-LS3-2, MS-LS4-5
Students will study the principles of heredity and genetics. They will learn how organisms reproduce and transfer their genetic information to their offspring. Students will study how characteristics get passed on from generation to generation and research several genetic disorders that affect human offspring. Students will use biotechnical processes to explore the genetic characteristics of organisms. Students will conduct a DNA extraction and a microarray will be performed as a way of checking the genotypes of the offspring.
How do people reconstruct and date events in Earth’s planetary history? What evidence shows that different species are related? How do Earth’s major systems interact? How does genetic variation among organisms affect survival and reproduction?
MS-ESS1-4, MS-ESS2-2, MS-LS4-2, MS-LS4-3, MS-LS4-4, MS-LS4-5, MS-LS4-6, MS-ETS1-1, MS-ETS1-2
Students will study Earth’s history, geological time, and explore how organisms have evolved. Students will examine the fossil record and construct explanations from mass extinctions. Students will explore the concepts of natural selection and adaptation and will learn that traits of an organism can change as a result of environmental conditions or a need for survival. Students will explore the similarities between organisms and use biotechnical processes, such as DNA fingerprinting, as means of identification.
In Investigations in Science 8, students will experience an interdisciplinary approach to science content, exploring all two of the three domains of science (Physical & Earth Science) through hands-on explorations, productive discourse, and purposeful reading and writing. The curriculum is problem/project-based where students apply their understanding of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to propose solutions to real world phenomenon/problems. Students will take the Maryland Integrated Science Assessment (MISA) during March to assess their knowledge of the concepts learned throughout the middle school science curricular program.
How do the properties and movements of water shape Earth’s surface and affect its systems? Within a natural or designed system, how does the transfer of energy drive the motion and/or cycling of the air and water? What regulates weather and climate? How do humans change the planet?
MS-ETS1-1, MS-ETS1-2, MS-ESS2-4, MS-ESS2-5, MS-ESS2-6, MS-ESS3-5
Weather and climate are influenced by interactions involving sunlight, the ocean, the atmosphere, ice, landforms, and living things. These interactions vary with latitude, local and regional geography, and affect oceanic and atmospheric flow patterns. The resulting complex patterns are major determinants of local weather patterns. Students will explore the many interactions and patterns of around the globe to better understand their effect on weather and climate. Students will use their knowledge to develop a detailed report that outlines the severe weather risks for a specified location and develop a proposal that details two innovative and sustainable solutions that address the severe weather risks and match the unique needs of the local community.
How and why is Earth constantly changing? How do Earth’s major systems interact? How do the properties and movements of water shape Earth’s surface and affect its systems? How do people reconstruct and date events in Earth’s planetary history? Why do the continents move, and what causes earthquakes and volcanoes? How do natural hazards affect individuals and societies? How do humans depend on Earth’s resources?
MS-ESS2-1, MS-ESS2-2, MS-ESS2-3, MS-ESS3-1, MS-ESS3-2
All Earth processes are the result of energy flowing and matter cycling within and among the planet’s systems. This energy is derived from the Earth’s hot interior. The energy that flows and matter that cycles produce chemical and physical changes in Earth’s materials and living organisms. The planet’s systems interact over scales that range from microscopic to global in size, and they operate over fractions of a second to billions of years. From earthquakes and volcanoes to weathering and erosion, These interactions have shaped Earth’s history and will determine its future. Students will learn concepts that enable them to evaluate the potential causes and effects of human-induced earthquakes and develop a complete public service campaign plan that will help residents and lawmakers understand the best ways to reduce human-induced earthquakes in Maryland and its neighboring states.
How can one predict an object’s continued motion, changes in motion, or stability? What are ways that we can describe an object's motion? What is the law of inertia and how does that apply to the real world? What is meant by for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction? How do mass and velocity affect the momentum and acceleration of an object? What is energy and how is it transferred and conserved?
MS- ETS 1-1, MS-PS2-1, MS-PS2-2, MS-PS3-1, MS-PS3-2, HS-PS2-3
Forces, motion, and interactions encompasses the mechanical branch of physics, studying the nature of forces and its impact on the motion of objects. Students will learn that the motion of an object is determined by the sum of the forces acting on it and that the greater the mass of the object, the greater the force needed to achieve the same change in motion. For any given object, a larger force causes a larger change in motion. Forces on an object can also change its shape or orientation. Using these learned concepts, students will create a design for an advanced rocket capable of launching large payloads and crew to Earth’s orbit.
What is the universe, and what is Earth’s place within it? What is the universe and what goes on in stars? What are the predictable patterns caused by Earth’s movement in the solar system? What makes up our solar system and how can the motion of Earth explain seasons and eclipses?
MS-ESS1-1, MS-ESS1-2, MS-ESS1-3, MS-ESS2-1, MS-PS1-4, MS-PS2-4, MS-PS2-5 MS-ETS1-1, MS-ETS1-2, MS-ETS1-3
Students will learn that the solar system consists of the sun and a collection of objects of varying sizes and conditions including planets and their moons that are held in orbit around the sun by its gravitational pull on them. Much of the unit will focus on how the Earth and the moon, sun, and planets have predictable patterns of movement. These patterns, which are explainable by gravitational forces and conservation laws, in turn explain many large-scale phenomena observed on the Earth, moon, and other planets. Students will be able to explain that patterns of the apparent motion of the sun, the moon, and stars in the sky can be observed, described, predicted, and explained with models. The universe began with a period of extreme and rapid expansion known as the Big Bang. Earth and its solar system are part of the Milky Way galaxy, which is one of many galaxies in the universe. Students will use their learning to design a realistic movie set that would simulate a habitable human settlement on another planet.
The Digital Literacy 1 curriculum focuses on developing
critical and creative thinking through reading, writing,
speaking, listening, and viewing in a 21st-century approach.
Working through a problem-based process, students learn to
define real-world problems of interest, research the causes of
those problems using real-time global texts, and then create
solutions to address the problems. Students will advance their
understanding of comprehension, analysis, and evaluation of
text as well as vocabulary acquisition through reading complex
informational and argumentative texts in a technology-rich
medium. Students will collaborate regularly through research
and solution phases of their investigations. Students’ curiosity
and motivation will engage them in their investigations while
learning and refining the processes that will enrich all other
courses and prepare them for college and career projects.
The Digital Literacy 2 curriculum focuses on increasing critical
and creative thinking through reading, writing, speaking,
listening, and viewing through an integrated approach. By
participating in a problem-based process, students learn to
define, analyze, and evaluate real-world problems of interest
related to standards-based curriculum topics. Students will use
research skills to investigate problems using real-time global
texts and then create solutions to address the problems. Students
will participate in sustained inquiry, analysis, and evaluation of
text through reading complex informational, expository, and
argumentative texts in a technology-rich medium. Students
will hone their communication, collaboration, research, and
problem-solving skills and learn to give, receive, and use
feedback to improve their process and products during complex
tasks. Digital Literacy creates authentic work for students to
engage in by allowing for presentation of their solutions beyond
the walls of the classroom.
Challenging Problem or Question
SEMESTER 1: HUMANITIES
SEMESTER 2: STEM
The Digital Literacy 3 curriculum focuses on increasing critical
and creative thinking through reading, writing, speaking,
listening, and viewing through an integrated approach.
Students will be introduced to a variety of social issues from
various perspectives, examine the history of social movements
and the impact on social and economic justice, explore their
identity, and understand the ways in which communities
can respond to these complex issues. Students will explore
social justice terminology in order to better advocate for a
socially just society. They will have multiple opportunities
to participate in book clubs, where they will interact with
classmates to analyze social justice texts. Students will
participate in sustained inquiry, analysis, and evaluation of
text through reading complex informational, expository, and
argumentative texts in a technology-rich medium. Students
will use research skills to investigate a contemporary social
issue using real-time global texts and then create solutions to
address the issue at the individual and/or systemic level.
READ 180 is an intensive reading intervention program
designed to meet the needs of students whose reading
achievement is below the proficient level. The program
directly addresses individual needs through adaptive and
instructional software, high-interest reading materials, and
direct instruction in reading and writing skills. Students rotate
among a small group, teacher-directed lessons, a computer
station for reinforcement and practice, and an independent
reading center where students read books at their reading
level. The program is designed to rapidly accelerate student
achievement with the goal of bringing students to grade level.
The social studies program in middle school builds
chronological and thematic understanding of world and
United States history, while also developing the social
studies strands of geography, economics, political systems,
and culture. Each social studies unit is organized around a
historical era and a social studies strand. A mix of modern
content and the lessons of history provide the background
knowledge and thinking skills that prepare students for
high school instruction and their responsibilities as citizens,
including meaningfully evaluating financial decisions.
In Grades 6 and 7, the focus of study is on ancient world
history and culture from Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin
America. In Grade 8, students learn about the founding
and early development of our nation, from the Revolution
through Reconstruction. At all grade levels, students build
understanding of the modern world by applying concepts
of geography, economics, political systems, and culture to
Unit 6.1: Patterns of Settlement
Students learn how from hunter-gatherers, established farming communities to the rise of towns and cities, each society throughout time has exhibited different levels of complexity in their political, social and economic systems. Each society has strived to meet the wants and needs of its citizens and their successes and failures have become the building blocks for future societies to learn from to create more complex and sustaining civilizations. Unit Question: How do complex societies develop over time?
Unit 6.2: The Impact of Economies
Building on the idea that societies are complex due to various factors, students explore which factors makes a civilization an empire. From there, students explore the first dynasties of China to modern day China examining the relationship between the economic and political system and the impact the growth and decline of the economic system has on the structure and effectiveness of China's political system. Unit Question: How does economic growth and decline impact society?
Unit 6.3: Citizenship and Governance
Students learn how a political system, such as a democracy, strives to meet the common good of its citizens through shared accountability. Political systems influence how people in power make decisions that then impact the social and economic system of a civilization , including how they operate and who benefits from the choices. Unit Question: How does a government meet the common good of its citizens?
Unit 6.4: Cultural Systems
Students learn how culture is made up of beliefs, values, religion and traditions. Individuals and groups in societies use their cultural identity to influence structures and processes in their political, economic and social system. Culture is ever changing due to the interactions between groups of people from different societies. It is through these interactions facilitated many times both past and present by trade that people either accepted or resisted changes in their beliefs, ideas or traditions. Unit Question: How does culture influence the development of a civilization?
Students are encouraged to pursue World Language offerings
as early as possible in middle school. The world languages
available in middle schools are Chinese, French, Italian,
Japanese, Spanish, and Spanish for Spanish Speakers. Offerings
vary by school. The world language courses are high school
credit-bearing courses. Please see page 4 for more information
about high school credit in middle school. Course numbers
are language and level dependent.
Students begin to learn to communicate orally and in writing
in a culturally appropriate manner about topics related to
daily life. They interpret basic information when listening
and reading. Vocabulary and basic grammatical structures are
taught within the context of these familiar topics. Culture is
embedded throughout the course.
NOTE: Levels 1A and 1B may be offered in middle school as full-year
courses. In that case, students must pass the full year of 1A and the full
year of 1B in order to earn one high school credit.
Students expand their ability to communicate orally and in
writing in a culturally appropriate manner about topics related
to daily life. They interpret information when listening and
reading. Vocabulary and grammatical structures are taught
within the context of these topics. Culture is embedded
throughout the course.
Students continue to expand their ability to communicate
orally and in writing in a culturally appropriate manner about
a variety of familiar topics. They interpret detailed information
when listening and reading. Vocabulary and more complex
grammatical structures are taught within the context of these
topics. Culture is embedded throughout the course.
Spanish for Spanish Speakers 1 A/B and Spanish for Spanish
Speakers 2 A/B are offered at selected middle schools. Spanish
for Spanish Speakers provides language instruction for
students with proficiency in Spanish, either because it is their
first language or it is spoken extensively in their home. Each
course integrates history, culture, language, and connections
related to the Spanish-speaking world.
Students who have completed an MCPS elementary school
immersion program may join the immersion programs at
the middle school level. Students who did not participate
in the elementary program may test into an immersion
program, if there is space available. The following middle
schools offer these courses: Silver Spring International Middle
School (Spanish/French), Westland Middle School (Spanish),
Gaithersburg Middle School (French) and Hoover Middle
The immersion language courses are high school creditbearing courses. Please see page 4 for more information about
high school credit it middle school.
A two-period program of instruction enables students to
enhance their language development through one period of
language class and one period of the MCPS social studies
curriculum in French.
A two-period program of instruction enables students in
Grades 6 and 7 to enhance their language development
through one period of language class and one period of the
MCPS social studies curriculum in Spanish. In Grade 8,
students continue with one period of language instruction.
This one-period course continues to build on the language
skills acquired in the elementary school immersion program.
Students transition into the regular MCPS Chinese 2 course in