English courses at the Middle School level build on the English Language Arts skills from the Elementary program to further develop students’ literacy skills. Students will read a variety of set novels and poetry exploring themes, language and characters that tie each piece together. There is a strong focus on writing skills and grammar and students have the opportunity to plan, draft, create and edit written pieces in a variety of genres.
The Math Program follows the US Common Core standards and uses resources (such as engageNY) to effectively teach these standards. Each course in Grades 6 and 7 explores units of pre-algebra and basic geometry. The grade 8 course is the equivalent of Algebra 1. There is a strong focus on problem-solving, critical thinking and looking at mathematical uses in real world contexts. AISCT also subscribes to Mathletics at the MS level, allowing students to further develop their math literacy skills at their own pace and level.
The Science program is based on the NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards). The MS program is integrated each year so that students study units in earth science, life science, and physical science every year. There is a strong focus on developing students’ understanding of the scientific method and, in addition, student-centered ‘hands on’ investigation or ‘lab’ activities are a regular part of the curriculum.
The C3 standards are the foundation for the MS Social Studies program. Each grade focuses on a different theme that drives the learning units. African history and culture are embedded over the course of the year in each grade. Grade 6 students focus on the theme of “Identity” and how the Ancient Civilizations have helped form our identities. In grade 7, students explore the theme of change through studying medieval history around the globe. “Rights and responsibilities” is the theme for grade 8 and there is an emphasis on human rights, global issues and South African history as students explore how individuals can positively impact the world. Students are asked to think critically and apply skills and tools to demonstrate their learning. All MS students also participate in a Model United Nations unit as part of their Social Studies curriculum. This culminates in the AISCT MiniMUN Day of Debate held annually in December.
At AISCT, we offer courses in French and Spanish as foreign language courses. The primary goal of the FL program is to build on students’ vocabulary knowledge from their Elementary School experiences and places an increased emphasis on developing formal grammar and communication skills. As an international school, the cultural component of our FL courses is highly emphasized as students are exposed to the different elements of culture related to the French and Spanish speaking worlds. We offer MS Levels I, II and III. We attempt to place students in the most appropriate level based on their skill and ability.
The PE program focuses on developing physically literate students. The program develops students’ motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge, and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life. In Middle School PE classes, students are exposed to a variety of sports and physical activities with a strong emphasis on fitness, sport specific skills, and tactical play. One unit per term focuses on a theoretical element of health education such as body systems, healthy living and an introduction to human sexuality.
MS Art courses are designed to provide students with the opportunity to develop artistic perceptions, creative expression and aesthetics of art as well as developing their ability to make the connections between art and other aspects of life. Students will be exposed to a variety of genres and will make use of a variety of media to plan and produce their own pieces of artwork. Units and themes are designed to teach and review art skills and vocabulary and include some exposure to relevant art history. There is a strong emphasis on the process of creative thinking and expression (rather than focusing only on the finished product).
Middle School students in drama class experience a range of theatrical genres including units on Shakespeare, Greek Theatre, Protest Theatre, African Theatre and Improvisation. There is a strong emphasis on building self-confidence and self-image, as well as developing group work and collaboration skills. Students in drama participate in public performances over the course of the year.
The Technology program at the Middle School level focuses on developing an understanding of technical concepts underlying current and future developments in Technology. Students will also gain some hands-on exposure to powerful, high-level tools for making computers do amazing things while using various programming languages. Throughout this course, students will be exposed to various forms of technology, including but not limited to, EV3 Lego Mindstorm Robotics and Arduino Micro Electronics, while learning key concepts such as Design Thinking, Python Programming, HTML5 and CSS Web Design.
The purpose of music at the Middle School level at AISCT is to give students a well-rounded appreciation for music, and to develop a broad knowledge of music history, musical terminology and instruments, as well as a basic idea of musical concepts. There is a large focus on enjoyment in the class room and learning through practice, listening and observation is used extensively.