Grades 7-8: Putting the Pieces Together
Middle school students are naturally inclined towards argumentation, so our seventh and eighth grade programs focus upon developing skills such as reasoning and critical thinking. Students learn to process lower school facts in an ordered and well-reasoned manner, and they more readily see connections between subjects. We teach them to “connect the dots” between learning facts and gaining wisdom. At this level, teachers emphasize and challenge a student’s growing ability to understand the principles behind facts and to organize information in order to maximize learning.
The Mind as a Tool
Through courses in formal and informal logic as well as required application of logical thinking skills in other courses, students learn classic debate concepts and tools, such as formal syllogisms, fallacies, truth tables, and digital logic. This analytical focus is carried into all their studies, from mathematics and science to history and English. Students also find that the skills gained in logic classes are practical for everyday life.
Critical Evaluation Skills
Students interact with primary sources of literature using critical assessment from a biblical perspective. In literature, they examine and evaluate works from a wide range of genres, considering the author’s point of view and the cultural context in which the author wrote. In history, students not only master important events and dates, but they also explore the consequences and meanings of events. The study of Latin continues through the middle school years as students delve deeper into the structure and meaning of language. The emphasis at this level is on translation.
Fundamentals of Mathematics & Science
Students are introduced to conceptual mathematics as they advance into Pre-Algebra and Algebra I. Middle school students consider the nature of the scientific enterprise as they learn the fundamentals of the experimental method by forming hypotheses, collecting data and drawing conclusions from their experiments. In the springtime, teachers, parents and fellow students delight in the ingenious projects on display at our annual Science Fair.
Foundations of Faith & Practice
Study of the Bible and Christian history builds upon the firm foundation received in the lower school. Some of the highlights of the middle school Christian Studies program include seeing Jesus in the Old Testament and an introduction to apologetics by way of C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. The analytical focus of this stage naturally flows into a critical assessment of opposing systems of thought from a biblical worldview. Through analyzing different systems of thought, a student’s faith and way of living are challenged and matured.
Some of Our Favorite Middle School Literature
- The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- Henry V by William Shakespeare
- Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
- Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
- The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
- Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
- The Diary of Anne Frank
- Of Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford
- Essays To Do Good by Cotton Mather
- The Thirteen Original Colonies Confederation Statement
- Poor Richard’s Almanac by Benjamin Franklin
- Common Sense (selections) by Thomas Paine
- An American Patriot (selections) by Thomas Paine
- The United States Constitution
- Washington’s Farewell Address by George Washington
- The Source of Divine Liberty by Samuel Adams
- Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address
- The Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln
- The Emancipation Proclamation
- The Strenuous Life speech by Theodore Roosevelt
- League of Nations Speech by Henry Cabot Lodge
The middle school curriculum is structured to prepare students for our rigorous college-preparatory upper school. Since we “begin with the end in mind,” we also encourage you to click the links along the lefthand side of this page to learn more about the upper school and to peruse the full upper school humanities reading lists, which reflect the scope of what a Dominion education can produce.