Middle School General Studies
The Emek math department is designed to produce students with strong higher-order thinking and problem solving skills, who are able to communicate in the language of mathematics, and are willing to take educational risks and try alternative approaches to problems. Our students learn how to work successfully in both individual and cooperative situations.
The math curriculum is aligned with California and Common Core standards. It focuses on teaching concepts, computation, and problem solving with an emphasis on advancing study skills so that students learn how to become effective students of mathematics. The students engage in concept-based learning and utilize manipulatives and coursework to solidify conceptual understanding and master computational skills. Lessons take into consideration students’ learning styles and the instruction is differentiated to provide opportunities for accelerated students who need an extra challenge as well as extra help for those students in need of assistance.
The math department works as a team, providing a department-wide, integrated framework for optimum instruction for all of our students. Teachers plan together and share ideas. Grade level teams agree to the pacing and topics to be covered, projects, assessments, and grading rubrics, thereby aligning the classes.
The Middle School language arts program at Emek is an integrated, literature-based curriculum that is aligned with California state and Common Core standards. It focuses on the development of reading and writing, as well as proper communication skills.
The literature selections in sixth, seventh and eighth grade are organized around different themes that integrate with the history curriculum. The sixth graders at Emek focus on the theme “Tolerance” as they read, among other novels, The Giver, City of Ember, and Black Ships Before Troy. Seventh graders discuss “Power” in the novels The Outsiders, Prince and the Pauper, and Sword of the Rightful King, as well as in the play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and in selected vignettes from House on Mango Street. “Human nature,” “Ethics,” and the “Nature vs. Nurture conflict” are all themes that arise in the eighth grade, as students read Lord of the Flies, The Wave, Fever 1793, and To Kill a Mockingbird. In addition to novels, Middle School students also learn selected pieces of poetry and short stories.
Analysis of literature and writing play a large role in the language arts program. Instruction of reading focuses on the literary elements of plot, setting, theme, purpose, point of view, characterization, and text structure. Figurative language, including simile, metaphor, personification, and onomatopoeia are discussed. Heavy emphasis is placed on different forms of writing in our middle school. Students write narratives, expository essays, research reports, letters, and compare and contrast essays. Structure and content are both explored and taught in depth.
Emek’s Middle School curriculum for Social Studies focuses on critical thinking and analysis. Teachers use the Socratic method, debate, experiential activities, and discussion techniques to extend and reinforce the students’ knowledge of history, culture, geography, politics, and economics.
In the sixth grade, students learn about Ancient Civilizations including, but not limited to, a general background of civilizations, Ancient Egypt, Ancient China, Ancient Persia, The Greeks, and the Roman Empire. Seventh graders study World History, which covers the Fall of Rome through the European Middle Ages. In the eighth grade, the study is on U.S. History, beginning with the Explorers and covering up to, and including, the Civil War and Reconstruction.
At Emek, our science instruction cultivates and builds upon students’ curiosity and sense of wonder. It effectively engages students in enjoyable learning experiences through lab work and demonstrations. In a world of rapidly expanding knowledge and technology, students gain the important scientific and technological skills they will need to understand and function responsibly and successfully in the world.
Our science curriculum is organized into three main courses that align with the California State Standards: Earth Science, Life Science, and Physical Science. The Earth science course covers topics including rocks and minerals, earthquakes, volcanoes, erosion, oceans, weather and climate. The Life science course delves into the areas of cell biology, genetics, and the structure and function of living systems. The Physical science class includes the ideas of physical and chemical changes, mixtures and solutions, states of matter, motion, gravity, energy and heat.
Every science course offered at Emek includes an investigation and experimentation component. Students are encouraged to ask questions and follow the steps of the scientific method in conducting their experiments. They utilize appropriate tools and technology to perform tests, collect data and communicate their results.