Grade Seven Curriculum

Mountain Laure Waldorf School - Grade 7The seventh grade year is one of great change and challenge for the students as they explore limits and express their own opinions. The teachers’ and parents’ authority is being questioned as the children assert their independence. The children are focused both, out into the world that they are moving quickly towards, and on themselves and their growing and deepening emotional and intellectual life. This requires a curriculum that echoes the seventh grader and mirrors their own self-discovery. For this reason, they study Joan of Arc, the Renaissance and the Age of Exploration as a parallel to their adolescent experience.

LANGUAGE ARTS
The language arts curriculum focuses on creative and expository writing throughout grade seven. In the block “Wish, Wonder and Surprise”, students are encouraged to explore their own developing imaginations and inner experiences through narratives, descriptions, essays around fairy tales, and poetic forms like Haiku. Literary concepts such as meter, simile, metaphor and oxymoron are discussed and employed, along with continued exercises and spelling and grammar. Most of the writing in the main lesson books is either the students’ own or dictations that provide continued exercises in spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

Biography offers a way to enter deeply into the thought and motivation of a particular time period of an individual soul. You can also Inspire the seventh grader to look beyond the turbulence and self-preoccupation of adolescence. Thus in seventh grade, biography is emphasized in many of the history and language arts main lesson blocks.

MATH
With the study of algebra, the students are introduced to abstract mathematical thinking for the first time, freed of its relationship to computation. They enter the realm of positive and negative integers, variables formulae, binomials, inverse operations, coefficients, and irrational numbers. Students learn to balance equations and solve for variables.

In geometry, the class moves into the computation of areas of polygons and solids. More divisions of the circle are drawn and students learn the possible transformations arising out of nested forms as an introduction to the spiral forms. Computing Pi and deriving the formula for area and circumference of the circle or included. Understanding that Fibonacci number sequence and the Golden Mean leads students to understand the significance of these ratios in art and architecture.

THE ARTS
As in previous years, the seventh grade does morning recitation, singing and playing the recorder in addition to chorus and orchestra. One main lesson block will be devoted to the class play, which is often from the standard theater repertory. Students continue watercolor painting, with an emphasis on architecture or on copying paintings of the great masters. Perspective drawing and calligraphy are introduced. The children also continue their handwork and sculpture classes, felting slippers and carving balls as their final projects.

SCIENCES
Mountain Laure Waldorf School - Grade 7In biology, the students draw and discuss the digestive, respiratory, circulatory and reproductive systems in detail. They examine the importance of proper nutrition and the developmental and physical changes that occur in puberty.

A historical approach with astronomy includes the biographies of the great astronomers Copernicus, Newton, Kepler, Brahe and Galileo, revealing to the students the heliocentric view. This will lead to a broader look at the solar system in relation to the galaxy. The teacher may choose to present contemporary astronomy to deepen the students’ sense of awe with our universe.

In chemistry, through a continued emphasis on observation, the children are invited to explore the transformation of substances during combustion beginning with simply observing a candle flame. The class learns about the characteristics of oxygen, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, acids and alkalis, copper plating and the limestone cycle. Students keep detailed illustrated notes of their observations in the main lesson book.

In physics, they study the “six simple machines” of mechanics. They also study current electricity, reflection and retracted images, as in the Camera Obscura.

Mountain Laure Waldorf School - Grade 7GEOGRAPHY
Seventh grade geography builds on the previous year’s studies. There is further exploration of another continent, typically Europe or Africa, and a continued emphasis on accurate map drawing. Some teachers do individual country projects that enable children to explore a particular region, cook its food or present its games or culture to their classmates. Major geographic details, as well as cultural and historical threads relating to their respective regions, are studied. Traditional classroom lessons are augmented by trips to museums, drumming demonstrations, and guest lecturers visiting the classroom.

HISTORY
The theme of the courageous individual from the medieval history curriculum continues in the study of the Renaissance and the Age of Exploration, marking a new way of stepping out into the world. In these blocks, by studying such artists, religious leaders, philosophers and explorers as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, and others, we observe the new role of the individual in society. Religion is further explored through the Reformation, featuring the life of Martin Luther as it points to the development of the individual’s spiritual freedom which serves as a backdrop for the youth’s own emerging identity. Students are asked to deeply consider the tension between science and religious beliefs, which nourish those who wrestle with similar questions of their own.

The biographies of notable explorers support the growth and investigation of adolescent development as students discover the theme of traveling and discovering uncharted territories, even when no one believed it was possible. This is a wonderful block that illuminates the inner courage and resources that the students must find as they continue on their path of development.