A Developing Member in the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America
Serving Children From Early Childhood Through Eighth Grade
The 7th grade student is on the brink of puberty. With these great physical changes comes a major shift in cognitive development. The student asserts independence more strongly and social relationships become a primary focus.
History: The curriculum starts with the Renaissance, the Reformation, and ends with the age of exploration around end of 15th century. This period of time was highlighted by artistic changes and a new way of looking at world. The students learn through observation about the changes that led to the development of the modern scientific method. Additional topics include the rise of merchant class, the rivalry between church and state, and nationhood. Students may read biographies of people who went against views of the day in search for truth, freedom and self-expression, such as Galileo, Martin Luther, Christopher Columbus, Elizabeth I, Dante, Francis of Assisi, Richard the Lion Hearted, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, Columbus, and Magellan. In this way, students find reassurance in their struggle to become themselves and contribute to the world.
Literature: To support the Renaissance block, student read Arthurian legends, historical novels, biographies, humorous stories, tales of adventure and discovery, poetry and ballads, scenes from the Renaissance, and stories about tribal life.
Geography: The focus is on Africa and Europe, which may include interviewing a native, along with other research to write report on country and sharing sample food. In that way, the countries are studied in history, including physical, economic, cultural conditions of land and peoples. The students receive a whole view of earth. Also, an aspect of world geography is included in tides, map reading, weather, geographical terminology, leading to astronomy.
English and Grammar: Students hone their creative writing. Through prose and poetry, they look at three states of soul, expressed as ‘wish,’ ‘wonder’ and ‘surprise.’ They review all grammar, and practice note taking, original writing and summaries, longer essays and comparisons, spelling, research papers. The year culminates in a class play.
Science: Chemistry concentrates on combustion, chemical transformation, the water cycle, the salt process and lime process, acids and bases, especially in relation to foods. The physics portion of the curriculum covers the laws of refraction and reflection, magnetism, heat and electricity, and mechanics to follow the algebra work. Students discuss issues of health and nutrition and factors that foster health or illness in humans, exploring how various substances can promote one or the other condition. Human physiology is explored through health and hygiene, concentrating on human digestive system, respiratory and circulatory systems, eye and ear, nutrition, and first aid. Astronomy, introduced through geography, is studied through the motions of stars and the celestial globe. Ptolemaic and Copernican systems are compared.
Math: The study of algebra and plane geometry starts with study of positive and negative numbers and moves into the laws of balance underlying problems with equations. Students work with exponents, graphing, perimeters, areas, exponents, roots, mental computation, estimation and situation problems. They are introduced to projective geometry. .
Artistic work: Students may choose a Renaissance master to study. They learn how Renaissance artists used geometric principles to develop laws of perspective and practice application of laws in their own drawings. They incorporate the theorem of Pythagoras into their drawings, practicing, areas of squares and triangles, Platonic solids, vanishing points, converging lines, interpolation and extrapolation, and ability to create illusion of three-dimensional sketches that was used from the late Middle Ages to the twilight of Renaissance. Students also model hands and feet in clay, continue wet and dry painting, sew puppets and slippers, and do woodworking with mallets, gouges, and chisels.
Music: Students improve singing, expand skills in the orchestra, with the recorder, and learn motets, madrigals, oratorios, and traditional dance.
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