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
- The 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 to introduce students to analysis for fictional and nonfictional literature, such as short stories, novels, plays, and articles/essays. Students also develop collaborative and self-management skills, as well as speaking and presentation skills, through class projects. Students learn to organize and write for different purposes, including analytical paragraphs and essays, persuasive letters, narratives, and descriptive and creative writing. Students develop vocabulary 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 continue to develop their abilities and to analyze all types of literary genres, such as short stories, poetry, plays, novels, and independent reading. Also, they learn to pick out literary devices in context and learn to make connections in our world. The students develop strategies for reading and writing concurrently by extracting information from the text and constructing meanings through written language in journal format, essay format and class discussions. They will develop their skills with decoding of vocabulary, and reading with fluency, while developing a higher level of vocabulary. Also, students will develop their writing skills by practicing different formats such as expository, narrative, persuasive, and creative writing. Students will continue to study vocabulary, grammar, and presentation skills.
- IB MYP Year 3 Language and Literature
IB MYP Year 3 Language and Literature is a course of study for students to think critically and creatively about short stories, novels, plays, and films. Students also develop presentation and oral speaking skills through multiple in-class presentations as a group or independently. As writers, students will write in a variety of styles, including analytical essays, memoirs, opinion essays, and creative stories. 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 explores 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. Central to the CDS IB mission is to further in the students intercultural awareness and international-mindedness.
- IB MYP Year 1 Spanish
IB MYP Spanish Year 1 commences in 6th grade. The course is offered as the first year of Spanish 1, which completes in 8th 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 course focuses on the four fluency areas (listening, speaking, reading, and writing), with an emphasis on communicating in the language. These skills are developed through a variety of MYP units among which include calendar, school, family, daily activities, time, weather, all about me, common expressions, and likes/dislikes. The course also explores the cultural diversity of 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 clothing, the body, personal descriptions, the house, foods, and daily routines.
- IB MYP Year 3 Spanish
IB MYP Spanish Year 3 completes the Spanish 1 course. This course will allow students to continue to communicate in Spanish on a number of concrete topics by further developing the skills of speaking, listening, writing, and reading. Students will also continue to gain a deeper insight into their own culture and the cultural diversity of the Spanish-speaking countries through the teaching of skills in context. Among the variety of MYP thematic units covered in Year 3 include sports and leisure time, the city, and travel.
- IB MYP Year 1 French
This class is an introduction to the French language. Students will listen, speak, read and write, using basic vocabulary and sentence structures. Students will explore French traditions and cultures around the world. This course will prepare students to continue through the phases of language learning in the MYP. Thematic units include the classroom, the family, clothing, and weather.
- IB MYP Year 2 French
This course builds on the skills mastered in Year 1. Emphasis is placed on developing the four core skills of listening, reading, speaking and writing. Students will explore French traditions and cultures around the world. This course will prepare students to continue through the phases of language learning in the MYP. Thematic units include food, leisure time, and travel.
- IB MYP Year 3 French This course builds on the skills mastered in Year 2. Emphasis is placed on developing the four core skills of listening, reading, speaking and writing. Students will explore French traditions and cultures around the world. This course will prepare students to continue through the phases of language learning in the MYP. Thematic units include daily routines, stories, 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 geography, civics, and history 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 develop inquiry into physical and human geography and government.
- IB MYP Year 3 American History The purpose of this course is to develop an understanding of United States history in the context of the United States as an individual country and part of a global community. Students do this by studying parallel and corresponding events. For example, when studying revolution, students will not only learn about the American Revolution but also other revolutions throughout time and place. The course will focus on five main units of study including foundations, revolutions, conflicts, economics, and social changes. The units will be studied through global contexts.
With inquiry at the core, the MYP sciences framework aims to guide students to independently and collaboratively investigate issues through research, observation and experimentation. The MYP sciences curriculum must explore the connections between science and everyday life. As they investigate real examples of science applications, students will discover the tensions and dependencies between science and morality, ethics, culture, economics, politics, and the environment.
Scientific inquiry also fosters critical and creative thinking about research and design, as well as the identification of assumptions and alternative explanations. Students should learn to appreciate and respect the ideas of others, gain good ethical-reasoning skills and further develop their sense of responsibility as members of local and global communities.
- IB MYP Year 1 Earth Science
Earth and Space Science is the focus of Year 1 in MYP. Students develop reading, writing, and speaking skills that deal specifically with the language of science. The interdependence of humans and the various parts of the Earth system is explored through a variety of demonstrations and hands on activities. Observation and inquiry skills are developed as students consider the sustainability of resources, the processes that shape earth, space exploration, and the factors that affect climate change.
- IB MYP Year 2 Life Science
Life Science is the study of organisms. Students will consider intracellular structures and functions of organisms as well as ecological relationships and various species’ impacts on the environment. Throughout the course students will focus on the similarity as well as diversity of organisms. Classroom assignments and assessments will include cooperative group activities, collecting trips on campus, research opportunities using a variety of sources including the Internet, web quests, laboratory experiments (both student and instructor designed), and traditional assessments (tests, quizzes).
- IB MYP Year 3 Physical Science Honors
Science in MYP Year 3 focuses on concepts in chemistry and physics. Creative and critical thinking skills are emphasized as students develop the skills to design, process, and evaluate lab investigations. The relevance of science to everyday life is explored through the study of the properties and changes in matter, chemical interactions, forces and motion, wave energy, and electricity and magnetism. The importance of accessing, using, and communicating scientific knowledge 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, Algebra, Geometry, and Statistics. 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, Algebra, Geometry, and Probability. 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 five concepts and skills: Number theory, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Statistics and Probability. 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
Art History including Renaissance, Gothic, impressionism, and pop art will be the main focus. The course is based on the elements and principles of art. Students will create a variety of smaller artworks, focusing on line, color, shape, and symmetry. These lessons are designed to give students strategies for creativity. We will practice watercolor, colored pencil, and crayon technique.
- IB MYP Year 2 Visual Arts
Students will focus on artists, including Klimt,Picasso, Monet, Kandinsky, and Dali. The mediums used will be gel pens, flair pens, tube watercolors, and acrylic paints. They will demonstrate awareness of the links between the knowledge acquired and artwork created. During the second semester students will work independently with the medium they prefer focusing on six artists of their choice.
- IB MYP Year 3 Visual Arts
Advanced Art. Students will work independently on projects with mediums that interest them. Six artists of their choice will be the main focus of advanced art. They will demonstrate awareness of the art form studied, including the use of appropriate language, identify artistic intention, and identify connection between art and context from prior learning.
In MYP Theater, students have opportunities to function as artists, as well as learners of Theater and the Performing Arts. Theater 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 Theater. In this course, the process of creating is as important as the finished product, therefore much time will be spent on planning, rehearsing, and reflection.
- IB MYP Year 1 Theater
6th grade students will get an introduction to the basics of theater. They will work in small groups to create choreography pieces. They will also learn about costume design and create a design for their character. Students will also work in a large ensemble and develop skills of characterization, active listening, and knowledge of stage directions. Along with this performance they will learn about makeup design and plan a design appropriate for their character in this performance.
- IB MYP Year 2 Theater
7th grade students will continue to build on their basic knowledge of theater from Year 1 They will learn to read and analyze plays and begin to work with more technical elements, including lighting, sound, set design, and publicity. In addition to more knowledge of technical elements, students will learn about writing a script and creating a performance from a story. We will also explore the origins of Theater through mask work and studying Greek Theater. Students will have a chance to build on their work with Hamlet in Language and Literature by performing scenes and monologues from the original text.
- IB MYP Year 3 Theater
8th grade students will incorporate more advanced theater techniques and allow for more independence in performance pieces. These students will continue to work with technical elements and script writing. They will also perform scenes and monologues from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, in conjunction with their Language and Literature studies. In year 3, students will collaborate together to create and devise more advanced performances, attempting to address issues and problems that they feel strongly about in the world around them.
The CDS middle school instrumental music program fosters the goal of musical literacy encouraging students to become productive independent musicians and effective members of collaborative music ensembles. In every developmental stage of the music learning process, students are encouraged to explore and develop artistic intention. Technical skill development combined with the understanding of the language of music gives students the necessary foundation to effectively participate in musical opportunities that lead to deeper connections to our musical world.
- IB MYP Year 1 Music
Understanding the fundamentals of music and instrument systems are the focus of MYP 1 music. Students are expected o learn and apply beginning musical concepts. Lessons focus on developing perseverance and good beginning musician habits that can lead to individual musical progress. Emphasis is placed on instrumental experiences including beginning tone production, introductory music theory and vocabulary, reading musical notation, personal and group rhythmic development, and the appropriate way to critique the performance of oneself and others. Instruments are provided for the music portion of 6th grade Integrated Arts.
- IB MYP Year 2 Music
Instrumental skill development and the application of the language of music is the focus of the MYP 2 full year course. Students will gain knowledge of the musical language and develop skills on a primary string or wind instrument. Emphasis is placed on producing a characteristic tone, understanding and interpreting musical notation, and rhythmic development both individually and in a group. Students must learn to organize and foster an effective independent practice habit. A variety of music and methods will be used prompting students to explore different musical styles.
- IB MYP Year 3 Music
Instrumental skills, application, and interpretation of the language of music are the focus of the MYP 3 full year course. Students will expand their skills on a primary string or wind instrument emphasizing the goal of producing a beautiful characteristic tone. Exposure to a variety of music and methods provide students the opportunity to improve and implement their developing skills to produce effective individual and group performances. Musical concepts including reading music notation, rhythm, articulation, technical development, music theory, listening and analysis, musical expression, and care and maintenance of equipment are designed to be taught simultaneously throughout the school year. The depth and complexity of musical concepts build as students' skills progress allowing them to realize how these elements are evident in all music.
MYP Digital Photography and Design
Students will study the basics of digital photography, photo editing, and digital design. This project-based course will include lessons in digital design for the CDS yearbook.
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 the 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 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, video game design, and rocketry.
- IB MYP Year 2 Design Technology
IB MYP Year 2 Design Technology builds on the design skills developed in Year 1. Students learn about human innovation in fields such as civil engineering and transportation technology, and they follow the IB Design Cycle to design and construct projects including model bridges and retail packages. They write computer programs in Python and learn how to use isometric drawing, orthographic drawing and computer-aided design (CAD) to develop and communicate their ideas.
- IB MYP Year 3 Design Technology
The third year of IB MYP Design Technology emphasizes robotics, web design and coding. In the third year students also master the skills they began in year 1 and 2 and start to tackle problems that have more global implications by completing an 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.
- IB MYP Years 1, 2, and 3 Health and Physical Education
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.