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In middle school, students are divided into two sections per grade, averaging 20-24 students per section.
Each day middle school students attend core academic classes that include Chinese language arts and humanities, English language arts and social studies, math and science. In addition, students also attend physical education classes, advisory time in small groups with middle school staff, independent study and a rotation of classes in technology and the arts including Chinese music, Chinese dance, Chinese brush painting, music and movement, and studio art.
Our middle school curriculum is comprised of units of study, all of which relate to our school mission through six focuses of integration that include global citizenship, culture, environment, innovation and creativity, human potential and change and continuity. One or more focuses of integration are used as a central organizing theme for each unit of study. From there, our teachers, often working in interdisciplinary teams, determine enduring understandings, that which students will remember well into the future. Teachers design and create lesson plans with content, learning activities and appropriate assessment to capture students’ learning.
Because many of our units of study are interdisciplinary, they are created collaboratively by two or more teachers, at least one of whom teaches Chinese language arts and humanities. Units also include integration of information technology and a tie into the community through learning activities such as museum visits and visiting speakers who are experts or thought leaders.
Students are supported socially and academically through our middle school counselor and learning specialists. Students have opportunities to engage in student council, after school athletics and other clubs to hone their social and leadership skills. Our middle school students are encouraged to work hard, take initiative and look for ways they can use what they have learned at CAIS to give back to the community and explore creative solutions to problems within the community and beyond. For more information about student social, leadership and community opportunities, please see the school student life section.
Sixth Grade Chinese and English
In sixth grade, language arts and social studies are integrated into one humanities course designed to help students see connections and build relationships between the two academic disciplines. In order to continue improving Chinese language skills in writing, speaking, reading and presenting, students work on developing awareness of grammatical structures. The three themes studied in Chinese humanities are self, communities and world. The sixth grade math program is an extensive overview of foundational concepts in mathematics taught with the textbook Algebra Readiness and using real-world application and hands-on activities. The science program focuses on physical science with topics including astronomy, geography, motion and forces, simple machines, electricity and magnetism and conservation. Projects, activities, hands-on labs and multimedia integration provide students with meaningful experiences as they discover the properties and forces that govern our world.
Seventh Grade Chinese and English
In seventh grade students focus on the political, economic, social, cultural, scientific and technological achievements and changes that occurred throughout history in the diverse communities of the Middle East, Europe and Southeast Asia. They learn about early Western Europe and the eras of the Middle Ages, Crusades, Renaissance, Reformation, Scientific Revolution and Age of Exploration. Chinese language arts and social studies is one integrated class. Students study cultural and political achievements in Chinese history as well as Han, Tang and Song history. The seventh grade math program covers topics such as equations, inequalities, systems of inequalities, word problems, statistics and probability and binary systems. The science program focuses on earth science, biology and oceanography. Areas of study include the earth’s bio-chemical cycles with an emphasis on how natural energy flows on the planet. Through an interdisciplinary approach comprised of chemistry, physics and biology, seventh grade students explore the topics of the microscopic and cellular world and the systems of the human body.
Eighth Grade Chinese and English
Areas of study in eighth grade English language arts include close, annotated reading, journal writing and literature-related writing that will take them by the end of the eighth grade into their own short literary essays. In social studies students focus on the political, economic, social, cultural, scientific and technological achievements and changes that occurred in the United States from 1492 to the 20th century. Chinese language arts and social studies are one integrated class and includes topics such as Chinese festivals, current events, culture, conflict, immigration, environment and today’s China. Students engage in activities such as listening and reading current events on the Internet, visiting the Asian Art Museum and Angel Island, participating in debates and writing scripts for short plays. The math program builds upon what is taught in seventh grade and includes advanced equations, quadratic equations, scientific notation, system of inequalities, advanced word problems, statistics and probability and a deep look at the binary system. There continues an interdisciplinary approach to the field of physical science that includes chemistry, physics and biology; students investigate concepts such as the physics of waves, water, sound, light, electricity, magnetism; the chemistry of nerves and thought processes in the brain and the basic chemistry of molecules and compounds.