Language Arts & Social Studies
Middle School Language Arts and Social Studies are combined in a humanities format that promotes meaningful cross-curricular correlations and stimulates student engagement with the content. Quest students interact with LASS concepts through thoughtful texts, simulations, novels, and lively class discussion.
During the first trimester, students focus on two primary objectives. The first is to learn an effective problem-solving method. The second is to understand how writing can create empathy in the reader and how this empathy can act as a force for social and political change. Both of these objectives help students learn how to use persuasion in writing and presentations. Additionally, students answer two essential questions about United States history. First, why did Reconstruction fail? Second, what plans should have been implemented to prevent Reconstruction’s failure? To ensure they understand the answers to these questions, students are assessed in a number of ways.
As part of the examination of why Reconstruction failed, students develop inventive solutions to overcome the problems the United States faced after the Civil War. They present these solutions and have to answer questions about the feasibility and efficacy of their plans. During the second trimester, students research and write about the immigrant experience. They also work to answer the essential question: what immigration policies should the United States pursue?
Participation in the Mini-History Fair is the primary focus of the third trimester. As part of this process, students develop historical questions, perform extensive research, write papers to address their historical questions, and create projects to present their findings. This experience teaches students the importance of evaluating information for accuracy and perspective in order to present a supported thesis. The topic for Mini-History Fair is the Civil Rights Movement.
Major Works Used:
- The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave
- To Kill a Mockingbird
- Various Immigration Narratives
- Warriors Don’t Cry
During the first trimester, students work to answer two essential questions about the ancient world. First, how did some groups of people develop complex societies with central governments, organized religions, and writing, while others remained in small bands of hunter-gatherers? Second, why do so many cultures share the same tradition of epic stories? To ensure that students fully understand the answers to these questions, they study the first four civilizations and analyze those civilizations’ successes. They have to demonstrate their knowledge of the epic hero cycle by reading the ancient Indian epic Ramayana, analyzing Ramayana, and creating their own epics.
During the second half of the year, students take a closer look at the elements that help civilizations succeed: writing, centralized government and organized religion. They examine Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, and try to determine why they developed different governments, societal norms, and cultural values. Students learn that governance is structured in accordance with the economic conditions and the social and cultural values of a society.
As part of the study of language, students study the history of the English language and the early modern English of Shakespeare. During the third trimester, students try to understand the role religion plays in society and for the individual. Students study the history, traditions, and current practices of major world religions. Students also study literary terms, and focused in the use of symbolism in literature, history, and religion.
Major Works Used:
- Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, or A Midsummer Night’s Dream
- Tuesdays with Morrie
Algebra I is a course for sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade students. It is designed to give students the foundation for all future mathematics courses. The students use a high school level online book . Students experience a thorough study of Algebra 1 concepts which
The primary goal of the first trimester is to ensure that all students understand the U.S. Constitution. They not only learn about the Constitution, but they apply its principles to past and current events. Additionally, they examine the conditions that existed at the time the Constitution was written, and explain how those conditions affected its creation. As part of this experience, students identify bias in writing, scrutinize primary source documents, and apply textual evidence to written arguments.
Students also evaluate works of literature using personal experience and knowledge of writing techniques. To examine the literary elements of mood and tone, students write a creative story to demonstrate their ability to employ these ideas in writing.
During the second trimester, students work through the research process, starting with a historical question and ending with a major research project that they present during Quest’s History Fair.
In addition to participation in History Fair, students work to answer essential questions about politics, economics, and literature. First, why do nations engage in war? Second, what are the causes of economic declines, and how can governments influence economic conditions? Third, how does literature develop empathy in a reader, and can literature change political policy?
During this trimester, students study several catastrophic events in world history in an attempt to understand how to prevent times of pain and collapse in the future. They complete a study of macroeconomics and its relation to the Great Depression and the most recent recession. Students examine three key events in WWII: the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Holocaust. While considering these events, students try to answer the following essential questions: What amount of responsibility do people have for their own actions if they are living under a repressive regime? What behavior can be expected from an ethical person? What responsibilities do all humans have toward ending the suffering of others? These questions also guide study about the current ethical and political questions plaguing the Middle East.
In addition to grappling with these questions, students formally evaluate literature using their knowledge of literary terms and devices.
Major Works Used:
- The United States Constitution
- Animal Farm
- All Quiet on the Western Front
- The Diary of Anne Frank