Fall Semester

Fall at the Areté Middle School is all about delving into profound and provocative subjects and ideas through the lenses of the intellectual and artistic passions of our best-in-class faculty.

Exploration and More Explorations!

Fall Exploration classes build a foundation for advanced learning, opening the doors for passionate student exploration of Literature and Composition, History and Social Sciences, and Natural and Physical Sciences.

Each semester-long exploratory experience develops grade-level-appropriate, subject-area-specific knowledge and skills in an exciting, hands-on format. Students discover and creatively pursue sub-topics of interest while building the problem-solving, critical thinking, and intellectual resilience skills that form the foundation for an effective Areté career and life.

Passion-Driven Explorations

course Highlights

What can the works of William Shakespeare, Robert Louis Stevenson, Edgar Allan Poe, H.G. Wells, Mary Shelley, Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, and others teach us about the fascinating and uncomfortable intersections between magic and morality? What is right? What is wrong? Where do we draw the line? How can literary magic in all of its forms both illuminate and complicate ethical dilemmas?

Literature entertains, distracts us from our lives, gives us a snapshot of time and place, and helps us connect more deeply with ourselves and others. It expands our imaginations and ignites our passions. Sometimes it can bring about tremendous personal growth and even large-scale social change. Through examining the works of Mark Twain, Langston Hughes, Art Spiegelman, Bob Dylan, Harper Lee, Martin Luther King, Jr., Anne Frank, and others, students will learn what makes a piece of literature “rebellious” and will experiment with developing their own, unique, world-changing voices as writers.

Students gain exposure to big ideas, connections, and representative events in history, viewed through the lenses of religion, anthropology, psychology, and sociology. The project culminates in the creation and sharing of games encapsulating the major ideas and themes explored.

Eigth grade History Exploration students study the lives of young people at several key junctures in American history and compare their own lives, passions, and worries to those of the generations of young people who preceded them. Students ultimately learn how they fit into the grand scheme of the history of our young country, gaining a sense not only of where they came from, but also of where they might be going.

Sixth grade science students study all of the systems of the body through creating videos with original scripts and content and assembling artwork that demonstrates all of the human body’s amazing components and functions. Ultimately, they publish their videos online, helping others to learn!

Students are confronted with the challenge of designing from scratch a lifeform adapted to living within a certain biome (tundra, rain forest, etc.) and then evolving that lifeform over four iterations based on planetary climate and environmental change. Students will build models of their lifeform and analyze the changes their life form made to adapt.

Project-Based Learning

Games, puzzles and short-and-long-term projects in all of our middle school classes create an atmosphere in which learning is deep, authentic, and exciting! In addition to experiencing a project-based format in their core classes, middle school students also participate in lively Fall Semester Math Team and Grammar Games courses.

In Math Team, students supplement their year-long, grade-and-skill-level-appropriate, project-based mathematics courses with an additional math section in which they apply creativity and higher-level-thinking skills to brain stumping mathematical puzzles. All students in the Math Team class ultimately participate in the Mathematical Association of America’s AMC8 competition, battling students from across the country for the title of best middle school mathematics problem solver! 

In Grammar Games class, students learn about verb tenses and subject-verb agreement; pronoun cases and usage; conjunctions and the proper joining of clauses; punctuation; modification errors; sentence structure; and many other key concepts in English grammar and mechanics, all through a game-based format that includes crossword puzzles; scavenger hunts; Bingo!; story and song-writing contests; and a host of student-created games.