The middle school program at LFS places student voices at the center of the classroom.
Students engage in a variety of writing projects, including creative writing, journaling, short story workshops, poetry and formal writing pieces. Students write extensively across curricular areas and through that practice they grow as creative and critical writers and thinkers. Thoughtful instruction in spelling, vocabulary, grammar, and mechanics are also part of our program.
As we encourage students to develop their voices, students also work to understand and analyze a diverse group of texts and authors, and students are encouraged to consider and discuss how literature lifts up marginalized voices.
Students read a rich variety of genres, including novels, short stories, poems, essays, and journals. Additionally, students read across the various curricular areas and practice different strategies for reading different types of texts.
History and Social Studies
In middle school social studies and history, students explore who they are, how they are connected to others in history and society, and the value of active and informed citizenship inclusive of multiple viewpoints and cultural practices.
In middle school social studies and history, students explore who they are, how they are connected to others in history and society and the value of active and informed citizenship that includes multiple viewpoints and cultural differences. Building an understanding of current events and the chronology of history, as well as of the cultural, geographical, social and political aspects of societies and cultures is integral to understanding who we are.
Throughout the social studies and history curriculum we integrate and reinforce Quaker values, examining multiple perspectives as we do so. We practice clear communication supported by evidence, and we emphasize the importance of learning from others. Research and analysis skills are embedded in each unit of study. Students read and critically evaluate a variety of sources. They write extensively in a variety of formats and build their research skills.
Our sixth graders travel the globe, from the classroom, to develop a comprehensive understanding of world geography, how physical geography has impacted societies and cultures, and how political geography has changed over time. They examine how human population growth and distribution have changed over time and ask important questions about sustainability. Following the routes of explorers from different time periods, students their land or ocean routes, the societies they encountered, the impact of exploration, and what those routes and places look like now.
Our seventh graders stay close to home, examining Lancaster Country through time, from Indigenous populations through modern times. Students explore the diversity of cultures that make up the societies and fabric of Lancaster County as they study civics and US History through the lens of Lancaster County. Students engage in experiential and project-based learning as well as on-site local visits around Lancaster County. The course includes developing skills in listening, reading, understanding, note taking, outlining, and writing. Students use primary sources, testimonies, interviews, film, music, photographs, newspapers and hands-on experiences to bring past moments to life and examine historical perspectives.
Eighth graders take a global look at the last 120 years as they work to understand the world today. This course includes major world-historical events, as well as global economic, demographic, and geopolitical developments in the twentieth century and early 21stcentury. Students examine world events from multiple perspectives. This course continues to include developing skills in reading, note taking, outlining, and writing. Students use a variety of resources - from the text to primary sources, testimonies, interviews, film, music, photographs, newspapers and hands-on experiences - to bring past moments to life and examine historical perspectives.
Our middle school mathematics program builds on skills built in lower school, meets students where they are, and continues to foster the traits of confidence, enthusiasm, strength, and flexibility around math as students develop their reasoning and communication skills.
Students dive into the language of math and become successful problem-solvers, exploring number operations, probability, geometry, and algebra. The courses described below are a path that many of our students take, but that path can be adjusted based upon a student’s needs.
In first-year middle school math, students improve their numeracy, automaticity, problem-solving skills, building fluidity and ease in preparation for pre-algebra. We examine a wide variety of problems and encourage students to determine which strategies can be used to solve them. We encourage students to explain their thinking and justify their processes. Students connect math with life, practice data collection and analysis skills, and explore different ways of organizing and representing data. We continue to integrate geometry, focusing on informal deduction as we work towards formal proofs.
Students then progress into pre-Algebra. During this course, students move between concrete and algebraic representations of numbers, patterns, and equations. Students explore the relationships between variables and graphing a variety of functions. We tie geometry in again, using simple algebraic concepts to explore geometric ideas. Students learn independently and in groups through practice problems and extended projects.
During Algebra I, students continue to gain proficiency as problem solvers and abstract thinkers. They are encouraged to share and discuss their problem-solving methods and reasoning. Students develop a deep understanding of expressions, linear functions and inequalities, systems of equations, exponents, polynomials, and quadratic equations. We use algebra to model real-world situations as much as possible. Our goal is to support each student’s confidence and understanding so that they feel ready to embrace the challenges of higher levels of mathematics and STEM challenges.
The focus of middle school science is observation, clear analysis, and communication.
Our young scientists become adept at scrutinizing demonstrations, reading from a variety of sources, taking notes in different ways, developing hypotheses, conducting experiments, supporting claims with evidence, solving problems, building models, analyzing data, discussing concepts and ideas, listening to others and writing for a variety of purposes. Each year, students design and carry out individual or group science or engineering projects, and then they share them with the community at the LFS STEAM fair.
Students begin their sixth-grade year studying life's characteristics, moving from cells to body systems to organisms. Students examine the history of life on Earth and biodiversity. In conjunction with the history and social studies curriculum, we study the work of explorers Alfred Russell Wallace and Charles Darwin, including the theory of evolution by natural selection. Along the way, students learn how to create a scientist's notebook, use a microscope, and hone their observation and data analysis skills.
The seventh-grade year is focused on the study of Earth's many cycles and interconnected systems in an earth and environmental science course. As with the history and social studies curriculum, we seek to understand the Earth by starting here in Lancaster County. Students explore geology, rocks, minerals, plate tectonics, watersheds, atmosphere, weather, and various related environmental issues.
In eighth grade, students begin with a comprehensive study of matter and its properties, including an in-depth unit on astronomy and chemistry, then move into an investigation of essential physical science principles. They spend six weeks on a robotics unit, tackling physical challenges with their robots using introductory programming skills.
Middle school students continue to be immersed in Spanish conversation while learning grammar, and improving on reading, writing, and presentation skills.
Continuing on the skills gained in lower school, conversation and immersion continue to be at the center of the middle school Spanish curriculum. Students will be focused on building their vocabulary, and will be reading and writing in Spanish to engage with technical aspects of language. Additionally, students will work on their presentation skills with a research project, oriented towards learning about the culture of Spanish-speaking countries and aimed to build research and speaking skills. Middle school students will have Spanish class 4 times per week for 30-60 minutes as a whole group.
The goal of the middle school Spanish curriculum is to engage students with technical and grammatical language components, but also to improve upon conversational and cultural understandings of the language. We also aim to help students prepare for high school level Spanish courses, should they continue to pursue the language.
We chose to focus on Spanish as a world language to serve the Lancaster community, and to better equip our students to be active and knowledgable global citizens.