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Curriculum

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Social Studies

In grade 7 social studies class, students study history, geography, economics and civics from the origin of civilization through the fall of the Roman empire. Areas of study include Mesopotamia, Egypt, Phoenicia, Ancient Israel, Greece and Rome. A chronological approach using the History Alive program as a basis is used. The main text is A Message of Ancient Days.  The entire grade 7 social studies curriculum can be found at http://www.doe.mass.edu/frameworks/hss/final.doc


In grade 8, the primary focus on student learning is American government and civics.  Key units include the rights and responsibilities of citizens, the U.S. Constitution, the Election Process, and the Foundation of American Government.  Students begin the year
with the study of the concept of identity which leads into learning about their participation as citizens, and how our government works.  The textbook is Civics Today by Glencoe and primary source documents are also extensively used.   Eighth grade social studies addresses the standards of geography, economics, civics and history as included in the Massachusetts Frameworks.  These can be found at http://www.doe.mass.edu/frameworks/hss/final.doc .


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English

The curriculum for grade seven focuses on the steps of the writing process, with an emphasis on essay writing form. Students study novels, short stories, grammar, and vocabulary.In addition, some research and note taking skills are integrated into the curriculum.English classes in grade seven are heterogeneously grouped.

The curriculum for grade eight continues the study of writing process, grammar, vocabulary, and various literary genres including poetry. Grade 8 English classes are divided into two groups: level one and level two. Level one English classes move quickly under the assumption that students placed in this level have a solid foundation in grammar and strong writing skills. Level two is equally challenging and studies the same content as level one, but is more focused on skills and the continued development of grammar and usage.

Click here for Massachusetts English Language Arts Standards for Grades 5 to 8


science

Science

The science program at Gibbons Middle School provides a firm base of skills and content for future studies at the high school. As such, scientific skills are taught in conjunction with content material throughout the year. The students will practice designing and conducting experiments, using appropriate tools such as microscopes and balances, and drawing conclusions based on observations and quantifiable evidence. Both writing and math skills are continually used within the science classes.

The seventh grade curriculum is one of Life Science. The students will investigate the structure and function of cells, systems of living things, heredity, plants, and comparative anatomy.The eighth grade curriculum, Physical Science, covers such topics as energy and motion, the properties of matter, elements, compounds, and mixtures, and astronomy.

For more information on the topics covered go to: www.doe.mass.edu/frameworks .


math

Mathematics

The mathematics department utilizes the Impact math program (a standards based curriculum) in grades 7 and 8.  The program helps set a rigorous course for the students at Gibbons to move beyond arithmetic and have more exposure to algebraic topics through grade 8. A major goal of the program is to enable and ensure that more students will have access to a curriculum that rich in content while stressing real world application and problem solving.  The curriculum at Gibbons also allows for more students to take algebra 1 in grade 8, thus enabling for more advanced opportunities in high school in accordance with the Massachusetts State Frameworks.

Students in 7th grade are recommended for Pre-Algebra or Introduction to Pre-Algebra in accordance with their mastery level of concepts taught in grade 6.  Students in both classes study topics in geometry, algebraic patterns, number theory, data analysis and measurement.  Students will learn to write and work on strategies to solve multi-step equations involving, percents, decimals, fractions, and signed numbers.  Another major focus in grade 7 is the study of ratio, proportion, similarity, congruence and probability.  Students are often flexibly grouped within their classes to allow for additional support and/or more challenging assignments given specific topics.

The 8th grade consists of 3 levels of classes:  Algebra 1, Introduction to Algebra, and Pre-Algebra.  Topics of study are as follows for the given classes:

Algebra 1:  follows curriculum as outlined in Massachusetts State standards (gr. 9-12)

Topics include, linear relationships, systems of equations, algebraic equations, exponential growth and decay, solving quadratics by factoring, completing the square, and the quadratic formula, functions, polynomials, and algebraic fractions.


languages

Foreign Language

The Foreign Language Curriculum we are presently using develops the four skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking with an emphasis on speaking.This is achieved by creating a student-based classroom where students are asked to interact with each other using the target language.This skill is also developed through paired activities, dialogs, recitations, and oral presentations.One learns to speak by speaking as often as possible.The Middle School program is spread over 2 years and upon successful completion of the work, a student is able to go into the second year at the High School.We use Bon Voyage, a Glencoe text in French and Voces Y Vistas, a Scott-Foresman text, in Spanish.A student not taking a Foreign Language at the Middle School has the option of starting at the High School.


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Fine Arts

The Gibbons Middle School has fine arts offerings that include visual arts, general music, and ensemble offerings for band, orchestra, and choral students. In addition, there are numerous after school activities for students including jazz ensemble, string chamber ensembles, school musicals, chamber choirs, and a visual arts club. Click here to visit the district’s web site for schedules and more information. 


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Industrial Technology

The Westborough Industrial Technology Department centers on the Massachusetts Department of Education Frameworks for Technology/Engineering. The activities based curriculum has been developed to allow students to gain knowledge in the following areas: design process, tool use, material use, technical concepts and safety principles. The curriculum is based on the student’s successful completion of the grade-appropriate projects. In each class a safety overview is given and is emphasized on a daily basis.

The seventh grade wood class curriculum emphasizes the technology domain of manufacturing. The class is introduced to the development of a manufactured product with the design of a toy car. Creative thinking is encouraged in the design, however, the car needs to be able to compete on a gravity track at the conclusion of the activity. Next the class engage in the actual manufacture of a product. Students collaborate to choose a product, construct a prototype, fabricate components, and assemble the parts. Each student takes home a finished product.

The eighth grade wood class curriculum emphasizes the technology domain of construction. The class is introduced to the basic principles of construction, such as forces, loads, solar orientation and materials. Students use these principles to design a vacation house to certain parameters. Design is communicated into actual construction to a scale of 1” to 1’. Math and geometry skills come into play as well as manipulation of objects in three dimensions, as they construct a model to national building codes. Additional units deal with power & energy (basic electrical principles), communication (fabrication and use of the telegraph), and transportation.