Middle School Curriculum
Social studies instruction at Morrison unites two important elements. One is acquiring a solid knowledge base of historical, social, economic, geographic, human behavior, and governmental concepts. The other is applying the knowledge base to life situations using a global Christian perspective and advanced thinking skills. Christians, as citizens of the kingdom of God, must live out their faith ethically, morally, and wisely in the kingdoms of mankind. To provide instruction to that end, developmentally appropriate concepts will be explored through inquiry learning and direct instruction as teachers guide their students to construct personal meaning and to develop thinking and discernment skills. Instruction should be integrated across curricular lines as well as time and place. Working collaboratively in groups of varying sizes will prepare students for moving from the microcosm of school to the macrocosm of business, church, and social life. Using a United States-based curriculum, we realize the importance of a global approach to history, democratic governments, and other strands of social studies curricula to meet the needs of our diverse population. Instruction in social studies should be engaging, challenging, and rewarding to the student.
World History: Creation through 1500’s
World History expands students’ understanding of God’s story by studying peoples, events and geography beginning with the study of Creation continuing through the 1500’s. Major Western and non-Western ancient and classical civilizations are explored starting in the cradle of civilization, passing through medieval Europe, and closing with the Renaissance and Reformation.
Knowing that God created the Heavens and the Earth, as well as man and woman in His image, students will study the countries and cultures of the world to better understand God’s creation and how people live all over our planet. Special emphasis will be placed on our home/host country of Taiwan with various “culture trips” being made to provide a more “hands-on” and personal educational experience.
U.S. History: Beginnings to 1877
This course focuses on American history from European Exploration to 1877. Key individuals, events, and changes prominent during this period are emphasized. In effect, then, it covers the nation’s origin, spread across the continent, trial and transformation in civil war, and emergence as a modern world power. In addition to academic content, students will develop the abilities to understand and distinguish cause and effect, identify and interpret primary and secondary source documents, and make connections between the past and the present.
Language is a gift from God that sets humans apart from the rest of the creation. The language arts (i.e. reading/literature, writing, and listening/speaking/viewing) are not only the entrée to all other school subjects, but also the vehicles for developing close and ongoing relationships with others and God (Tindell, 2001-02). Therefore, developing proficiency in the language arts is one of the most critical processes in the life of the Christian school. Its importance cannot be overstated. It is our responsibility as Christian educators to teach our students to read with comprehension and discernment, to listen with understanding and compassion, to speak with conviction and effect, and to write with clarity and persuasion (O’Malley 1999).
This course reinforces skills from previous grades, and begins some new skills. In Literature, students learn Greek and Latin root words to help them understand what they read and how to connect what they read to the world around them more explicitly. Writing assignments focus more on students’ ability to explain themselves clearly and persuade others convincingly, and students take more charge over the writing process themselves. In research, students learn advanced search techniques to find information, use critical thinking skills to judge which sources are appropriate, and apply summarizing skills to truly understand what they have read. Speaking and listening skills become more complex, requiring them to take notes from oral instruction and use presentation software in their speeches. When viewing media, students learn to evaluate what they see from a Biblical worldview.
In this course, students continue to reinforce skills from previous grades, and add several new skills. They read, analyze, summarize, and evaluate non-fiction texts extensively, allowing them to learn more independently in other subject areas. Students’ expository writing skills become well-honed writing the five-paragraph essay. They continue to learn how to research effectively, especially how to use primary sources. Their group skills become more adult-like, for example, learning how to engage in discussions without interrupting.
This course focuses on students’ skill to be convincing writers of persuasive essays. Their research skills now allow them to formulate a thesis statement, research independently and ethically, and produce a quality product that demonstrates their learning. They become effective listeners, polished presenters, and mature members of group discussions. They learn how to think critically and Biblically about the message and techniques of media.
Morrison strives to help students understand and appreciate math as well as use it to glorify God. Thus, the purpose of mathematical instruction at Morrison is to develop students who obtain a mastery of, and appreciation for, the content and processes of mathematics, as well as an understanding of how math relates to other domains in life. This program blends traditional and constructivist approaches to enrich the students' mathematical development.
To help today’s students prepare for living responsibly in God’s world, the goals of school mathematics must be appropriate for the demands of a global information age. Morrison believes that these four broad goals will meet students’ mathematical needs.
1. Have a Mastery of Mathematical Content and Understanding
Students should be proficient in their computational and procedural math skills and have a conceptual understanding of core mathematic topics of:
- Number and Operations
- Data Analysis and Probability
2. Be Able to Process Mathematically
Students should be able to process mathematically using:4.
- Reasoning and Proof
- Problem Solving
3. Value and Have Confidence in Mathematics
Students should know that mathematics is an essential component of who they are, and that mathematics is integral in every area of life. These understandings should lead them to have an incentive to continue the pursuit of a better understanding of how mathematics relates to them.
4. Integration with Other Domains
- Connection of God with math and math with God
- Connection with other subjects such as science, history, social studies, etc…
- Students should recognize the roles mathematics plays in society:
- from accounting and finance to scientific research
- from public policy debates to market research and political polls.
Beginning in middle school mathematics, the focus shifts to rates, ratios, and proportions. In addition, students begin to use the standard algorithm for division exclusively. A strand covering “Expressions and Equations” is introduced, which increases the abstract and algebraic nature of the mathematics. The four critical areas in this course are: (1) connecting ratio and rate to whole number multiplication and division and using concepts of ratio and rate to solve problems; (2) completing understanding of division of fractions and extending the notion of number to the system of rational numbers, which includes negative numbers; (3) writing, interpreting, and using expressions and equations; and (4) developing understanding of statistical thinking.
This mathematics course continues to focus on ratios, rates, and proportions, as well as algebraic representations. The critical areas are: (1) developing understanding of and applying proportional relationships; (2) developing understanding of operations with rational numbers and working with expressions and linear equations; (3) solving problems involving scale drawings and informal geometric constructions, and working with two- and three-dimensional shapes to solve problems involving area, surface area, and volume; and (4) drawing inferences about populations based on samples.
This mathematics course introduces a strand on Functions, preparing students for entry into high school algebra next year. Instructional time focuses on three critical areas: (1) formulating and reasoning about expressions and equations, including modeling an association in bivariate data with a linear equation, and solving linear equations and systems of linear equations; (2) grasping the concept of a function and using functions to describe quantitative relationships; (3) analyzing two- and three-dimensional space and figures using distance, angle, similarity, and congruence, and understanding and applying the Pythagorean Theorem.
Algebra 1 strengthens the student’s understanding of arithmetic and develops his/her skills of translating verbal expressions into mathematical symbols, numerical expressions and open sentences. Topics of emphasis include solving equations, inequalities, multiplying and factoring polynomials, graphing linear equations and solving radical expressions. (Prerequisites: 90% or higher in seventh-grade math, pass the Algebra placement test (85% or greater), and have demonstrated good study habits in grade 7 math.)
Effective learning of Biblical principles resulting in life change is fully dependent upon the work of the Holy Spirit. These principles and their application are integrated throughout the school curriculum. Vital elements include recognizing the authority of the Bible, a purposeful curriculum and a modeling teacher using student-appropriate content.
The Morrison Academy Bible Curriculum
- Exposes the student to the breadth of the Bible
- Highlights basic doctrines and Biblical character traits
- Uses Scripture memorization among its strategies
- Emphasizes who God is
- Challenges students to accept Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord
- Encourages students to accept their self-worth as unique creations in God's image
- Provides instruction in ethical decision-making from a Christian perspective
- Promotes respect for persons regardless of race, culture, faith, and values
- Leads students toward spiritually mature choices in attitude and behavior
- Fosters personal growth
Students are encouraged to use their New International Version Student Bible daily.Middle School Bible courses include New Testament Survey (Grade 6), the study of Wisdom as presented in the Book of Proverbs (Grade 7), and Old Testament Survey (Grade 8).
The Grade 6 course is designed to give students exposure to the Redemptive story which culminates in the life of Christ and is spread through the work of the Church found in the New Testament. Throughout the course, students will be introduced to the themes of each New Testament book and learn how to apply Scripture to their lives.
The Grade 7 course is designed for students to draw knowledge, wisdom, and understanding for themselves from the Word of God. The course goes beyond doctrinal and factual knowledge and applies guidance to real life scenarios. The hope is for students to wise up under the conviction of the Holy Spirit and to see them conform to the image of Jesus Christ.
The Grade 8 course provides a basic introduction to the structure and themes of the Old Testament. As students journey through this fast-moving survey, they will discover truths and applications that God placed in each book of the Old Testament.