Our Tuesday middle school unit studies offer deeper academic content while still providing hands-on activities and encouraging children to connect with nature. There are no tests or homework. All coursework is completed in class and given to parents as a master record at the end of the year. Novels shared in coursework are read aloud in class and each student receives a copy of the book to follow along.

2024-25 Middle School Unit Study Schedule
All Year

Morning Mindful Minutes/Gratitude Circle

Beginning in our middle school program, learners start and end each class reflecting on their lives and exploring ways to move through the teen years better equipped to handle the day-to-day challenges.  In our opening Mindful Minutes, scenarios about friends, family, and school pressures are discussed in broad terms and, if learners wish to share, with more specific examples.  Stressors are identified and discussions about how to navigate such situations are discussed as a group.  This is presented in a non-threatening “this works for me, what works for you or someone you know” format. Learners are encouraged to participate but are not required to share.  At the end of each class, we close by sharing a thought of gratitude.  Learners share something they enjoyed about the day or something they are thankful for in their lives.  This practice reminds us to live in the present and look for the little things that make us happy.

Morning English Language Arts – Narrative Reading/Writing

Explores the magic of storytelling.  Readers and writers alike will explore the concepts of narrowing down a topic, using relevant and vivid details, creating interesting leads, writing with clarity and cohesiveness, and different ways to structure a story and build interest, and endings. While exploring literature, students will read critically and for enjoyment examining topics like theme, irony, story elements, and figurative language.  Learners will also practice writing strong written responses with supporting textual evidence and informative summaries.  Readers will read with a critical eye and discuss the choices the author made debating alternate choices.

Textbook:  Holt McDougal Literature

We will ask: What does it take to grab a reader’s attention and hold on to it for hundreds of pages?  We will read dozens of short stories and discuss what worked and didn’t work to keep our attention.  We will examine a longer novel, dive into the culture and background surrounding its events, and decide if the author made good storytelling choices.

Afternoon Middle School Math Fun, which includes:

  • Foundational Math Practice
  • Math Games and Challenges
  • Desmo Calculator Skills

Science – Chemistry with Labs

This unit study explores the structure and composition of matter and how they interact.  This foundational course will explore the periodic table, bonding, chemical equilibrium, thermodynamics, electron structure, nuclear energy, and other related topics.  Students will explore these concepts independently through Google Classroom through a series of topical videos, notes, and activities. 

We will ask questions: Why don’t water striders sink? How do those little hand warmer packets work? Which chemicals create a fun bang and which will have your neighbors calling the authorities? You can explore these concepts and many more through a series of detailed lessons and fun hands-on lab experiments.


Social Studies – Human Geography

Explores all the ways that we as humans impact the Earth.  Students can become adept at using atlases and other geographical resources to explore things like climate, resources, regions, borders, physical features, and culture.  Students will explore how to use maps to find information and how to use maps to display information.

Resource:  National Geographic

We will ask:  If you could live anywhere in the world where would you live?  Why is that? Is your reasoning based on personal experience or something you saw in a movie?  What would you do if something wiped out the population and you had to start over? Where is the best place on earth to start a settlement?  Why do countries invade other countries?  What is the point of a geographer? What do they really do in the world anyway?  All of these questions can be answered in our class on Human Geography.  Join us and learn how to use map resources both in print and ERSI, a GIS mapping software system.

Recent Past Unit Studies

Environmental Science

This unit will guide students through increasing awareness of environmental challenges and related climate change.  Students will look at the environment through the wide lens of what is happening to our planet, why it is happening, how it is impacting how we live, work, and play, and what options we have to do something about it.  Students will learn the scientific skill of creating accurate scientific models and descriptions as well as working through a lab.  They will explore the carbon cycle, deforestation, climate vs weather, greenhouse gasses, oceanic changes, flooding and ice melt, storms, and endangerment to biodiversity.  This class will utilize videos, class discussions, and hands-on lab activities.  

Social Justice

Students will take time to examine their personal views and how they fit into this diverse world.  Students will consider topics such as religion, race, economic background, physical abilities, mental health, age, and gender.  Care has been taken to use the authentic voices of advocates, representatives, and champions of each social inequity.  We will use Ted Talks, class discussions, literature, art, and other hands-on activities to explore these topics.

Literature and Writing

FallThe fall unit will introduce students to different ways a person can write to inform or entertain. Students will explore memoirs, speeches, written communications, and storytelling. Students will be exposed to mentor texts showing them what good writing can look like and time to practice writing the current genre. Some students may not complete written assignments in full.  Alternatively, some students may enjoy writing and will complete multiple pieces of writing.

Spring –  Students will explore the elements of literature such as characterization, plot structure, conflict, and themes while reading the novel The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden.  Students will be guided through the novel with enriching discussions and periodic literature activities designed to enhance their comprehension and knowledge of common literary elements all while strengthening their listening and speaking skills.