Academics & Curriculum
Academics & Curriculum
CDS Middle School provides a bridge for children in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade between the self-contained elementary classroom and departmentalized high school programs. Designed to meet the needs of early adolescence, Middle School helps a student develop skills, independence, and a sense of self.
- Language and Literature
- Language Acquisition
- Fine Arts
- Design Technology
- Health and Physical Education
- IB MYP Year 1 Language and Literature
IB MYP Year 1 Language and Literature is a course of study that involves students conceptually understanding and evaluating: characteristics, process, perspective, meaning, and impact of the written word in multiple forms. Students will actively construct meaning by building connections between their prior understanding and new information and experience they gain through inquiry. Through the structured implementation of scaffolded instruction, along with strategies for learning, students are able to provide in-depth analysis and supporting evidence for that analysis. Students will practice this analysis with fictional, nonfictional, and informational literature, such as short stories, novels, young adult independent reading, plays, poetry, and articles/essays. Students develop collaborative, self-management, and speaking and presentation skills, through class projects. Students learn to plan, organize, write and edit for different purposes, including analytical paragraphs and essays, persuasive letters, narratives, and descriptive and creative writing. Students develop vocabulary, grammar, and language skills in connection with their reading and writing.
- IB MYP Year 2 Language and Literature
IB MYP Year 2 Language and Literature is a course of study for students to further develop their abilities in analyzing different types of literary genres, such as short stories, poetry, plays, novels, and informational texts. Students will pick out various literary devices in context, as well as make connections to our world. Students will develop strategies for reading and writing concurrently by extracting evidence from the text and providing analyses and interpretations through annotations, short responses, essays, and Socratic seminars. Students will practice writing different essay formats, such as analytical, persuasive, and creative writing. Overall, students will grow in their vocabulary, grammar, and presentation skills.
- IB MYP Year 3 Language and LiteratureIB MYP Year 3 Language and Literature is a course of study for students to think critically and creatively about short stories, novels, independent reading, plays, poetry, and films. Students will learn a number of genre characteristics through dystopian, memoir, and historical fiction. Students also develop presentation and oral speaking skills through multiple in-class presentations independently or through discussions. Students will write in a variety of styles, including analytical, film critique, comparative, and persuasive essays. Additionally, students will build on their annotation skills using the dialectical journal to draw meaning from their texts. Students will study vocabulary, grammar, and the writing process to continue to develop their writing skills and their methods of analyzing literature.
The MYP Language Acquisition program is designed to foster students’ ability to use and produce the language. The program focuses on the four fluency areas (listening, speaking, reading, and writing), with an emphasis on communicating in the language. Students explore the language through thematic units with a statement of inquiry that guides the learning and combines vocabulary, grammar, and culture. The learning encourages in the student a respect for and understanding of other cultures and languages. International mindedness is central to the CDS IB mission furthering the students' intercultural awareness.
- IB MYP Year 1 Spanish
IB MYP Spanish Year 1 commences in 6th grade. The main goal of the course is to provide students with a strong foundation of Spanish basics and to build a solid vocabulary. The fluency areas of listening, speaking, reading and writing are developed through a variety of MYP thematic units which include topics such as: calendar, school, family, daily activities, time, weather, all about me, common expressions, and likes/dislikes. The course also explores cultural diversity and makes connections to the Spanish-speaking world.
- IB MYP Year 2 Spanish
IB MYP Spanish Year 2 is a course that continues to build on the skills mastered in Year 1. More emphasis is placed on developing the four core skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students further develop their abilities and skills through a variety of MYP thematic units among which include topics such as: clothing, the body, personal descriptions, the house, foods, and daily routines. The course further explores cultural diversity and makes connections to the Spanish-speaking world.
- IB MYP Year 3 Spanish
IB MYP Spanish Year 3 further develops the skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing by encouraging students to continue to communicate in Spanish on a number of concrete topics. Students will also gain a deeper insight into their own culture and the cultural diversity of the Spanish-speaking countries through the teaching of skills in context. MYP thematic units covered in Year 3 include sports and leisure time, the city, and travel.
- IB MYP Year 1 French
IB MYP French Year 1 commences in 6th grade. The main goal of the course is to provide students with a strong foundation of French basics and to build a solid vocabulary. The fluency areas of listening, speaking, reading, and writing are developed through a variety of MYP thematic units among which include greetings and manners, the classroom, our community, activities, and places and weather. The course also explores cultural diversity and makes connections to the Francophone world.
- IB MYP Year 2 French
IB MYP French Year 2 is a course that continues to build on the skills mastered in Year 1. More emphasis is placed on developing the four core skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students further develop their abilities and skills through a variety of MYP thematic units among which include time and schedules, clothing, homes and the city, food and nutrition, and travel. The course further explores cultural diversity and makes connections to the Francophone world.
- IB MYP Year 3 French
IB MYP French Year 3 further develops the skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing by encouraging students to continue to communicate in French on a number of concrete topics. Students will also gain a deeper insight into their own culture and the cultural diversity of the Francophone countries through the teaching of skills in context. Among the variety of MYP thematic units covered in Year 3 include Preferences and opinions, daily routines, looking back, story time and celebrations.
The primary focus of the middle school course in Humanities is for students to develop investigative and critical thinking skills. Our coursework introduces students to the theories, themes, events, concepts, and characters that have shaped the history of humankind, particularly from prehistory until today, through an examination of social, economic, cultural, and political histories from diverse global perspectives. With an intensive exploration of multiple historical perspectives, students will complete these courses with the depth and breadth of historical understanding required to make sense of our modern, complex world.
- IB MYP Year 1 World History
The purpose of World History is to encourage learners to know, analyze, and communicate their understanding of the complexities of the world around them, thus gaining an appreciation of their role in the world as global citizens. Our focus of study is on human civilizations and their development over time. Our course of study will foster a sense of inquiry into history, contemporary issues, physical and political geography, mythology/religion, government and economics, technology, and culture.
- IB MYP Year 2 Geography
Geography is an integrated study of world geography and American civics through which students will learn to know, understand, analyze, and communicate the complexities of the world around them. Our focus is on the development of research skills and analytical skills. Our course of study will begin with an inquiry into the physical and human geography of each continent and will conclude with an exploration of the nature of America’s representative democracy.
- IB MYP Year 3 American History
The purpose of this course is to develop an understanding of United States history and culture in the context of the United States as an individual country and part of a global community. For example, when studying revolution, students will not only learn about the American Revolution but also about other revolutions throughout time and place. The course will focus on five main units of study including foundations, revolutions, government, conflicts, and social changes. Students also participate in National History Day by participating in the local History Fair with the opportunity to progress to the state and national levels.
Sciences in years 1-3 of the MYP Programme guides students to explore connections between science and everyday life. Students develop critical and creative thinking about research and design to independently and collaboratively investigate issues through research, observation, and experimentation. Students examine real examples of science applications and discover the tensions and dependencies between science and culture, economics, and the environment.
- IB MYP Year 1 Earth Science
IB MYP year 1 science focuses on the study of Earth and space. Students develop reading and writing skills, techniques, and strategies for effective learning. Informational literacy skills are taught and practiced to enable students to access, utilize, and document reliable information. Critical-thinking skills are encouraged as students analyze and evaluate issues and ideas related to the atmosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and space exploration.
- IB MYP Year 2 Life Science
IB MYP year 2 science focuses on the study of living things in the biosphere and their interactions with the environment. Through inquiry, students will discover life on the cellular level and develop an understanding of how structure and function influence the diversity of life. Students investigate systems that ensure species survival as well as ecological interactions. Throughout the course, students develop science process skills that encourage them to be inquirers and observers of the natural world.
- IB MYP Year 3 Physical Science Honors
IB MYP year 3 science is a course of study to introduce students to the physical sciences by providing a foundation in chemistry and physics. Students explore the relationship between matter and energy through topics such as atomic theory, chemical interactions, and forces and motion. The importance of accessing, and communicating scientific knowledge using mathematical and scientific language correctly and confidently is highlighted.
Students will develop a foundation of skills in the various areas of mathematics. The goal of mathematics in the Middle Years Programme is to promote the idea that through the skills taught students are able to construct their own ideas of how to solve problems in real-life situations that are relevant and realistic. A main focus is to become competent users of the universal language of mathematics and begin to use it as a way of thinking, as opposed to seeing mathematics as a series of facts and equations to be memorized. We engage the students to ask questions and explore ideas in familiar and unfamiliar situations and help them to apply mathematical concepts, transfer this meaning to symbols, and apply their understanding in these situations.
- IB MYP Year 1 Mathematics
A course in which students learn mathematics in the context of practical applications organized in four concepts and skills: Number theory, Intro to Pre-Algebra, Rates & Proportions, and Statistics & Probability. The course focus is to build a strong foundation in the four areas of mathematics and allow the students to develop the skills needed for knowledge and conceptual understanding.
- IB MYP Year 2 Pre-Algebra Mathematics
A course in which students learn mathematics in the context of practical applications organized in four concepts and skills: Number theory, Pre-Algebra, Geometry, and Linear relationships. The course focus is to build a strong foundation in the four areas of mathematics and allow the students to start developing the skills needed to critically analyze concepts for Algebra 1.
- IB MYP Year 3 Algebra I
A course in which students learn mathematics in the context of practical applications organized in four concepts and skills: Number systems, Intro to Functions, Linear Functions, Coordinate Geometry, and Quadratics. This course is intended for students who have a sound knowledge of pre-algebra skills while allowing them to develop their abstract capabilities to advance knowledge and understanding. The course focus is to build upon their foundation of the language of mathematics, select and apply appropriate strategies successfully when solving authentic real-life situations in both familiar and unfamiliar situations.
In MYP Visual Arts students will explore the elements of art and the principles of design as the building blocks for creating and evaluating works of art. The subject of art asks students to practice all of the IB learner profile traits. For example, the creation of art involves a great degree of Risk-Taking because we will be asked to try new techniques and explore who we are in a very personal way. We will examine what art is and how it has been used as a form of communication throughout periods of time and a variety of cultures. In this course, the process of creating is as important as the finished product, therefore much time will be spent on planning, practicing, and reflection. The developmental workbook is used for research, as well as, in the creative process and is imperative for formative development.
- IB MYP Year 1 Visual Arts
Rooted in exploratory learning, students will build a foundation of artistic knowledge and skill through engaging in the process of making and journaling. Using a variety of mediums students will discover how the elements of art and principles of design are used in artworks and how to utilize them in their own work while building their creative voice.
- IB MYP Year 2 Visual Arts
Putting purpose to process, students will build on their foundations and continue to build their skills and knowledge to create work. Students will make connections and demonstrate awareness of the links between the knowledge and skill acquired and the artworks they make. During the second semester students will engage in independently guided projects, using mediums of their choice and exercising their creative point of view.
- IB MYP Year 3 Visual Arts
Intentional art making - Through planning and execution, students will work independently on purposefully developed projects, inspired by their voice and vision with global and contemporary connections. Students will demonstrate awareness of art forms studied, including the use of appropriate language, identify artistic intention, and identify connection between art and context from prior learning.
In MYP Theatre, students have opportunities to function as artists, as well as learners of Theatre and the Performing Arts. Theatre students develop through creating, performing, and presenting in ways that engage and convey feelings, experiences, and ideas. Students will be exploring both performance and technical elements during their time in Theatre. The process of creating is as important as the finished product, therefore much time will be spent on planning, rehearsing, and reflection.
MYP Theatre I (6th Grade)
Theatre I focuses on small and large ensemble performances, while exploring character development. Students will learn the basics of blocking, choreography, costume design, and makeup design. Additionally, students will learn puppetry while creating their own scripts for original performances.
MYP Theatre II (7th Grade)
Theatre II encompasses performances for individual events in the District and State Thespian competitions. Students will further their skills from Theatre I in technical Design Elements, storytelling through Shadow Puppetry, Monologues, and Pantomime.
MYP Theatre III (8th Grade)
Theatre III continues building performance skills from Theatre I and II refining them in their last year in middle school. Students will compete again in Performance Individual Events and build technical design. Students will also create scripts for young audiences, and have the opportunity to perform for elementary school students. Finally, students will study the origins of Theatre through a study of Greek Theatre and masks.
Musical Theatre (7th & 8th Grade)
Musical Theatre is a class for students who have a love of musicals. Students will learn about the history of Musical Theatre and participate in performances and projects that explore Musical Theatre from its origins to present day. Students should be comfortable singing and dancing as these will be expected for class performances. They will be asked to compete in Musical Theatre events with the Junior Thespian Troupe in the fall and perform for school events and the Arts showcase in the Spring.
The MYP music program provides the tools for each student to progress towards the goal of musical literacy while becoming productive independent musicians and effective members of collaborative musical ensembles. In every developmental stage of the music learning process, students are encouraged to explore and develop artistic intention. All students build upon previous musical experiences and are challenged with developmentally appropriate music designed to foster an appreciation of the musical world.
IB MYP Band (6th, 7th, & 8th Grade)
No musical experience is required for band class, only the will and desire to play an instrument. Developing good musician habits necessary for instrumental success is the goal of this course. Students will develop the fundamentals skills of music including reading music notation, rhythm, and music theory as they learn to interpret and apply the language of music. All band students are expected to perform at both the Winter and Spring concerts.
IB MYP Concert Band (6th, 7th, & 8th Grade)
This course requires the successful completion of the beginning band and/or the director’s recommendation. Concert band members are expected to strive for the refinement of the instrument tone and technical skills while developing an understanding of the individual’s responsibility for the success of an ensemble. Exposure to a variety of music and methods will assist students in expanding their understanding of music fundamentals including notation, rhythm, articulation, instrument techniques, music theory, listening, and analysis and musical expression. The depth and complexity of musical opportunities will build as students' skills progress allowing the realization that the fundamental elements are evident in all music. Concert band students are expected to perform at both the Winter and Spring concerts.
IB MYP Guitar (6th, 7th, & 8th Grade)
Guitar is open to all students who currently play or are interested in playing guitar. Beginning students will learn the fundamentals of music including reading music notation, rhythm and music theory as they progress through the first-year method book. Experienced players are expected to strive for the refinement of the instrument tone and technical skills. Course of study for non beginners will be determined by previous method book progress. The depth and complexity of musical opportunities will build as students' skills progress allowing the realization that the fundamental elements are evident in all music. Guitar students are expected to perform at both the Winter and Spring concerts.
IB MYP Orchestra (6th 7th & 8th)
Orchestra is open to all students who currently play or are interested in playing an orchestra string instrument. Orchestra strings include the violin, viola, cello, or double bass. Beginning students will learn the fundamentals of music including reading music notation, rhythm and music theory as they progress through the first-year method book. Experienced players are expected to strive for the refinement of the instrument tone and technical skills. Course of study for non beginners will be determined by previous method book progress. The depth and complexity of musical opportunities will build as students' skills progress allowing the realization that the fundamental elements are evident in all music. Orchestra students are expected to perform at both the Winter and Spring concerts.
IB MYP Music Exploration (6th, 7th, & 8th Grade)
This class is designed to empower students to connect with their potential as a musician. No prior experience is necessary. Project-based units will give students the opportunity to explore, create and perform. Students will listen to and learn about different musical styles and composers throughout history. Technology will be used for music creation and as a tool to enhance music theory understanding. Students will engage in individual and group music-making. The range of activities will include a variety of experience options including, instrumental, vocal, percussion, and electronic music explorations. Opportunities to showcase students' projects will be available throughout the course of the year.
MYP Digital Photography and Design
Students will study the basics of digital photography, photo editing, and digital design.
- Digital Photography 1 (7th Grade):
Digital Photography 1 gives students a foundation of the concepts behind what makes a good photo. Students will explore the basic functions of multiple digital cameras as well as the best practices of using the cameras on their phones. Students will develop an understanding of the exposure triangle, composition techniques, experiment with different styles of photography, and explore through imitating the work of others. At the end of the year, students will have a digital portfolio of their best work and the ability to reflect on their progress as a photographer throughout the year.
- Digital Photography 2 (8th Grade):
Digital Photography 2 continues to build on the foundation of photography basics that were learned in Digital Photography 1. Students will use their knowledge of photography to explore more artistic projects and styles of photography. They will also explore different careers that involve photography and learn how to use their photography skills in service to others. Throughout the year, students will add to their digital portfolios of their and will continue to reflect on their progress as a photographer throughout their years in Middle School.
In Middle School Design Technology, students learn to apply design principles to create responsible technological solutions. Students are taught to use the design cycle as a tool to structure their inquiry and analysis, and to guide the development, creation, and evaluation of potential products. They also acquire practical skills and strategies for creative thinking that prepare them for engineering, entrepreneurship, and computer science courses in middle and upper school.
IB MYP Year 1 Design Technology
The main goal of the first year of study in IB MYP Design Technology is to introduce and put into practice the MYP design cycle. The lessons and units are designed to lead the students through each phase of the design cycle which includes digital and product design. The design cycle is the driving force behind all that is planned and taught in the MYP Design Technology course. Units include circuitry, entrepreneurship, gamification, programming, and rocketry.
IB MYP Year 2 Design Technology - Computer Science
IB MYP Year 2 Design Technology - Computer Science builds on the design skills developed in Year 1. Students will start with a Game Design unit that refreshes them with the design cycle. They will then complete an interdisciplinary unit with computer science which gives them a fuller understanding of how computer components work together, binary to ascii conversion, procedures, app design, text based programming, and robotics.
IB MYP Year 3 Design Technology - Digital Art
The third year of IB MYP Design Tech emphasizes digital art concepts through web design, graphic design, interior design, and 3D modeling. Using conceptual thinking and programming skills built from Y1 and Y2, students will also work to create solutions to local and global issues by completing the MYP Community Service Project.
Physical education is a vital component for the development of a student’s physical, mental, and social well-being. It is our mission to provide equal opportunity to our students, through planned activities, for physical development in the areas of strength, flexibility, coordination, endurance, balance, agility, range of motion, and power. Our diverse program will allow students the opportunity to develop individual skills and introduce new, enjoyable experiences for lifelong physical fitness and well-being. We will provide information for knowledge in proper exercise techniques and practices as well as good nutritional habits.
The aim of these courses is to cultivate a healthy and active lifestyle for students. It therefore advocates for activities that are not only enjoyable but also contribute to healthy living. Students are helped to develop the motor skills necessary to enable them to participate successfully in a variety of physical activities and to learn about the nature of physical fitness. This subject area also serves to promote intercultural awareness, since physical education is a reflection of elements of history, culture, and values. It also enables students to establish links between different areas of experience and provides opportunities for different forms of self-reflection, communication, and teamwork.
- IB MYP Year 1 Physical and Health Education
IB MYP Year 1 Physical and Health Education is a course of study that introduces the students to a variety of team sports, games, and health education topics. Students are taken through different team sports and taught the fundamental skills required to be active participants within game situations. In addition, students are assessed in the five components of physical fitness standards. Health education is incorporated into the curriculum which includes topics in nutrition and hydration. The goal in year 1 is for students to develop an understanding of the basics of physical and health education that will continue throughout the middle years programme. Lastly, students are given the option of taking part in a Human Growth and Development session that discusses the development of our bodies throughout the middle school years.
- IB MYP Year 2 Physical and Health Education
IB MYP Year 2 Physical and Health Education is a course that incorporates team sports, games, and health education topics. Students at this level are taken through various team sports and the focus is on the individual positions/roles within a team and the responsibilities of those respective positions. There is also an introduction of the offensive/defensive roles that are relative to each sport. Students are assessed on mastery of foundational skills for team sports and the five components of physical fitness. Lastly, there is a continuation of health education topics taught throughout the year and Human Growth and Development is offered as an option for year 2 students to participate in that builds from year 1.
- IB Year 3 Health and Physical Education
IB MYP Year 3 Physical and Health Education is a course that incorporates team sports, games, and health education topics. Students develop a deeper understanding of offensive and defensive strategies that can be used during various types of game play for team sports. Students build on the offensive and defensive roles taught in year 2 and delve deeper into best practices for running and developing plays. Students are assessed on advanced skills that will carry them through high school and beyond. We focus on the importance of positive choices for our physical, social, and mental well-being, as well as how physical activity and nutrition can lead to a healthy adult lifestyle. Students in year 3 are assessed on the five components of physical fitness and have the opportunity to participate in Human Growth and Development that is a progression from previous years 1 and 2.