At Brimmer, we believe in educating the whole child and in a strong curriculum across all disciplines: the sciences and engineering, math, humanities, world languages, and the creative arts. Below you will find descriptions of three current units underway in the Middle School classrooms that exemplify that philosophy.
In English, students began their exploration of China’s Cultural Revolution through the reading of Red Scarf Girl by Ji-Li Jiang. This memoir tells a young girl’s experience during this turbulent time in China’s history. Students are being tasked with acting as discussion leaders for chapters in order to facilitate conversations around the themes in the novel. Students are examining what it means to defend their positions with textual evidence. Students are also continuing their grammar studies using noredink.com, an adaptive learning platform. In history, students are completing their study of the Russian Revolution by completing a research paper. The topics of these papers ranged from the fall of the royal family to the philosophies of Karl Marx. They will study the Cultural Revolution using the Facing History and Ourselves curriculum in the new quarter.
As an introduction to their study of water, 7th graders have been tasked with a scenario: they are stranded on a deserted island in the middle of the ocean and there is no fresh water. All they have at their disposal is a trash bag full of discarded things from bagged lunches. Using the design process, students are collaborating in small groups to devise a way to collect the vapor evaporating from salty or dirty water, have it condense, and then collect the resulting precipitation. Once they devise their plan, groups will be asked to create a prototype. Finally, the teams will present and test their designs.
Students are embarking on one of highlights of the year in art class, creating self portraits. The unit begins with a discussion around the physiological science behind why it is challenging to a draw a realistic face. After this exploration, students are able to break down the mental barrier the allows them to draw the accurate shapes and lines of the face instead of the symbols that are engrained in our society like eyes being at the top of the head. Using a photograph of themselves as a reference, students create a contour drawing of their own facial features. Watercolor adds color and personality to the piece, and the final step of using colored pencil adds shadow making the features appear three dimensional. Keep your eyes out for the finished products which will be displayed later this spring.