GA is a PreK-12, coed, nonsectarian day school in Fort Washington, PA

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Curriculum

The Germantown Academy Middle School experience builds upon the solid educational foundation laid by the Lower School. It is an exciting, fun, and challenging three-year journey that prepares students for the rigorous and diverse experience of the Upper School.

Middle School Curriculum Outline, 2017-18

Middle School Curriculum Guide, 2017-18

English

The Middle School English Department helps students become competent readers, writers, speakers, and listeners. We reinforce basic reading and writing skills and offer age-appropriate strategies to help students open their minds to experiences beyond their own.

Central features of the program include:

  • Student-centered classrooms, and the development of literary discussion
  • Literary texts that include a variety of genres
  • Analytical essay writing in addition to a variety of written forms
  • Vocabulary development

Health & Wellness

The Middle School Health and Wellness Department focuses on providing students with an opportunity to understand the changes that occur as they travel through Middle School. As students begin to gain more independence throughout adolescence, they start to make decisions by themselves on a more frequent basis. Our curriculum concentrates on educating students about the physical, mental, emotional, and social aspects of health.

Topics covered include:

  • Understanding human growth and body development
  • Building and maintaining positive relationships
  • Developing effective stress management techniques
  • Proper decision-making and risk management
  • Social pressures of the teenage years

History

We believe that only through the study of history can we understand our world, and only by understanding our world in its historical context can we make informed decisions about its future. History is the tool by which we make those connections. It is a logical study of the dynamic interaction among people, geography, economics, customs, and politics. It is the sum of the past and it determines the direction of the future.

To achieve our goals in teaching history, the Middle School history department offers the following courses:

  • 6th Grade — Ancient and Medieval History
  • 7th Grade — From Europe to the New World through the American Civil War
  • 8th Grade — Reconstruction to the 21st Century

Language

The skills of communicative and cultural competency that we sharpen in the language classroom prove valuable in a variety of contexts, and prime GA learners to be successful communicators and world citizens. We attend to the mechanics and vocabulary of a new language and also engender in our students a spirit of risk-taking and academic and self-discovery.

Through innovative, dynamic, and developmentally appropriate teaching methods, we marry rigor and reflection, graduating successful language students whose understanding of their native language and culture is enriched by that of another.

We offer the following languages:

  • Mandarin Chinese
  • French
  • Latin
  • Spanish

Mathematics

The Middle School mathematics curriculum is designed to help students move from the concrete to the abstract. In Middle School classes, students build upon the skills taught in the Lower School, learning to reason algebraically in preparation for a rigorous Upper School sequence that leads to calculus. Our program emphasizes process, problem-solving, critical thinking, and the joy of discovery. We want our students to appreciate the intrinsic beauty of mathematics as well as understand how mathematics serves as a way of making sense of the world.

Central features of the program include:

  • A variety of courses taught at three different levels to serve the needs of all students
  • Math 6 and Pre-Algebra courses that build both computational and mathematical reasoning skills
  • A two-year sequence of courses, called Algebra A and Algebra B, covering the foundational material of Algebra 1 at great depth
  • Opportunities to develop problem-solving skills and communicate in the language of mathematics, both orally and in writing

Performing Arts

GA students have rich experiences in music and drama during their Middle School years. Students develop individual skills, understanding, and confidence through work in a collaborative, compassionate atmosphere. Regular performances throughout the year are celebrations of student and ensemble achievement. The curricular music program is augmented by an outstanding staff of individual instrumental and voice instructors. Musicals, dramatic productions, and Jazz bands provide students with significant extracurricular opportunities. Middle School courses in the Performing Arts are:

  • 6th Grade Drama
  • 7th & 8th Grade Public Speaking
  • 8th Grade Drama elective
  • 6th Grade Band
  • Concert Band
  • Jr. Chorus
  • Sr. Chorus
  • String Ensemble
  • Chamber Ensemble
  • General Music

Physical Education

The Middle School physical education curriculum encourages students to develop an improved level of physical fitness, acquire knowledge of fitness concepts, and understand the importance of lifelong health & wellness. The curriculum provides a relaxed atmosphere with maximum participation in activities supportive to the improvement of individual skills and fitness. The program engages and enhances interest in a variety of sports offered through our athletic program, as well as interest in leisure activities useful in adult life.

Central features of the program include:

  • Traditional and non-traditional sports, games, and activities
  • Opportunities to lead/follow, compete/cooperate, teach/learn
  • Holistic approach to fitness – physical, mental, social and emotional
  • Emphasis on being one’s best self

Science

We seek to capitalize on our students’ innate curiosity. We ask our students to observe and measure the natural world around them. We hope that our students will view science as a way to investigate questions about our world, and learn best through experimentation and discovery. This experiential approach is more dynamic and leads to a deeper and more personal understanding of scientific principles. Our thematic approach demonstrates the interdisciplinary nature of science. The following shows our courses which are further broken down into essential questions and taught from a project-based approach.

6th Grade — Energy

  • What are the sources of energy?
  • How does Energy Transfer?
  • How is Energy Used?

7th Grade — Life

  • What makes you alive?
  • What makes you an animal?
  • What makes you a human?
  • What makes you, you?

8th Grade — Motion

  • How do we know things move?
  • What causes things to move?
  • What happens once things move?

All Levels — What Do Scientists Do?

  • How do scientists investigate?
  • How do scientists communicate?

Visual Arts

Our Middle School Art program revolves around the broader picture of what happens during the act of creating. Taking time to explore a medium, discuss ideas, think about possible solutions, and work through obstacles is vital not only to making art, but also to creating a well-rounded, confident individual. Through the development of these crucial skills, the Middle School art program enhances every student’s development using exploration, active learning, and self-reflection. Our holistic approach involves hands-on learning, where students develop problem-solving skills and explore their own creativity with new techniques.

During this semester-long course, students are exposed to a wide range of two and three-dimensional media, including:

  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Printmaking
  • Collage
  • Mixed media
  • Clay
  • Metal sculpture
  • Wood sculpture

Art history is referenced for each project, and trips to art museums are scheduled in the sixth and eighth grades.