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Curriculum Details

Middle Elementary Curriculum Details

While the skills and activities listed below appear as a linear progression, in real life at BMS, much of what our students learn takes place in a spiral progression of revisiting and building on previous learning. In this model, students deepen their understanding of subjects by learning to approach knowledge, skills, and concepts gained in one experience with new eyes and open minds; students gain a fresh perspective and deeper understanding from each new experience, whether this is with previously explored material or completely new material. 

Students typically remain in each classroom for two years, so the topics and skills listed below are not addressed yearly, but will be addressed at some point during a student’s time in each class. Topics and skills are always taught through the lens of Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP), which requires teachers to consider: 1) what is known about child development for a given age group, 2) what is individually appropriate for a student, and 3) what is culturally important in a child’s family, classroom, school, and community.

Language Arts

Speaking/Listening Skills

  • Listens actively (e.g. faces the speaker, makes eye contact, asks questions, paraphrases what was says, interprets speaker’s verbal and non-verbal messages and the speaker's purposes and/or intent
  • Reads aloud developmentally-appropriate text with fluency, comprehension, and expression, demonstrating an awareness of volume and pace
  • Participates in creative responses to texts such as discussions, dramatizations, oral presentations, and plays
  • Uses oral language effectively (e.g. to present information in a sequenced, logical, clear and concise manner; to discuss; to interview; to sustain conversation on a topic; to share information and ideas to recount or narrate; to answer open-ended questions; to report information on a topic; to explain own learning; to solve problems; to make decisions)
  • Shares oral products in a variety of ways (e.g., discussions, presentations, with visual aids, with an awareness of purpose and audience)


  • Selects and combines skills to read fluently with meaning and purpose
  • Applies comprehension and vocabulary strategies to a wider variety of literary genres and informational texts
  • Demonstrates comprehension by participating in discussions, writing responses, and using evidence from text to support thesis
  • Reads for pleasure and chooses books based on personal preference, topic, theme, or author
  • Reads skillfully with meaning and purpose using appropriate comprehension and vocabulary strategies
  • Reads, discusses, reflects, and responds, using evidence from texts, to a variety of literary genres and informational texts


  • Uses planning strategies (with or without assistance) to generate topics and to organize ideas (e.g., drawing, mapping, discussing, listing)
  • Identifies (with assistance) the purpose, the audience, and the appropriate form
  • Composes a draft that conveys major ideas and maintains focus on the topic with specific, relevant, supporting details by using preliminary plans
  • Composes and shares a variety of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama selections using self-selected topics and forms (e.g., poems, simple narratives, short reports, learning logs, letters, notes, directions, instructions)
  • Focuses reflections and revision (with or without assistance) on such elements as clarifying ideas, adding descriptive words and phrases, sequencing events and ideas.
  • Combines short, related sentences, strengthening word choice
  • Uses technology as a tool to gather, organize, and present information.
  • Produces work that follows the conventions of particular genres
  • Uses correct capitalization and punctuation
  • Composes paragraphs with topic sentences, supporting details/elaboration, appropriate, logical sequence, coherence, and concluding statement
  • Uses a number of strategies for spelling
  • Proofreads own writing for spelling and corrects most misspellings independently with reference to resources (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, word walls)
  • Edits (with or without assistance) to use conventions of written language and format
  • Creates readable documents with legible handwriting and/or word processing


Problem Solving

  • Represents problems in various forms (diagram to number or symbolic expression)
  • Explains methods and reasoning behind solutions
  • Demonstrates the ability to make and verify reasonable predictions
  • Understands the basic language of logic in mathematical situations (and, or, not)          

Basic/Advanced Properties of Numbers and Computation

  • Can compare whole numbers and decimals
  • Recognizes equivalent representations for the same number
  • Is developing an understanding of fractions; can judge the size of fractions; and can recognize and generate equivalent forms of commonly used fractions, decimals, and per cents
  • Explores numbers less than 0
  • Can understand the effects of multiplying and dividing whole numbers


  • Understands such attributes as length, area, weight, volume, and size of angle and select the appropriate type of unit for measuring each attribute
  • Understands the need for measuring with standard units and become familiar with standard units in the customary and metric systems
  • Can carry out simple unit conversions, such as from centimeters to meters, within a system of measurement;
  • Understands that measurements are approximations and how differences in units affect precision
  • Explores what happens to measurements of a two-dimensional shape such as its perimeter and area when the shape is changed in some way
  • Develops strategies for estimating the perimeters, areas, and volumes of irregular shapes
  • Selects and applies appropriate standard units and tools to measure length, area, volume, weight, time, temperature, and the size of angles


  • Identifies, compares, and analyzes attributes of two- and three-dimensional shapes and develop vocabulary to describe the attributes
  • Classifies two- and three-dimensional shapes according to their properties and develop definitions of classes of shapes such as triangles and pyramids
  • Investigates, describes, and reasons about the results of subdividing, combining, and transforming shapes
  • Explores congruence and similarity
  • Makes and tests conjectures about geometric properties and relationships and develops logical arguments to justify conclusions
  • Can build and draw geometric objects
  • Can create and describe mental images of objects, patterns, and paths
  • Identifies and builds or draws a three-dimensional object from two-dimensional representations of that object

Statistics and Data Analysis

  • Designs investigations to address a question and considers how data-collection methods affect the nature of the data set
  • Collects data using observations, surveys, and experiments
  • Represents data using tables and graphs such as line plots, bar graphs, and line graphs
  • Recognizes the differences in representing categorical and numerical data
  • Can use measures of center, focusing on the median, and understands what each does and does not indicate about the data set
  • Proposes and justifies conclusions and predictions that are based on data and design studies to further investigate the conclusions or predictions
  • Describes events as likely or unlikely and can discuss the degree of likelihood
  • Predicts the probability of outcomes of simple experiments and can test the predictions

Basic/Advanced Properties of Functions and Algebra

  • Describes, extends, and can make generalizations about geometric and numeric patterns
  • Represents and analyzes patterns and functions, using words, tables, and graphs
  • Represents the idea of a variable as an unknown quantity using a letter or a symbol
  • Expresses mathematical relationships using equations


Science as Inquiry

  • Solves problems using a variety of strategies
  • Designs and conducts scientific investigations
  • Constructs explanations, including the development of simple models
  • Works as a productive member of a small team to investigate a problem
  • Discusses evidence and explanations recognizing alternative explanations and procedures for scientific phenomena

Science in Personal/Social Perspectives

  • Demonstrates an awareness of how society can affect the direction taken by science/technology
  • Demonstrates an awareness of how science/technology can affect the direction taken by society

Physical Science

  • Determines the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object and the cause and effect relationships of electric or magnetic interactions between two objects not in contact with each other
  • Applies an understanding of magnetic interactions to define a simple design problem that can be solved with magnets
  • Constructs an explanation of the relationship between the speed of an object and the energy of that object
  • Develops an understanding that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents or from object to object through collisions
  • Can use a model of waves to describe patterns of waves and the waves that cause objects to move
  • Applies an understanding of energy to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another

Life Science

  • Understands the similarities and differences of organisms’ life cycles
  • Understands that organisms have different inherited traits, and that the environment can also affect the traits that an organism develops
  • Constructs an explanation using evidence for how the variations in characteristics among individuals of the same species may provide advantages in surviving, finding mates, and reproducing
  • Develops an understanding of types of organisms that lived long ago and the nature of their environments
  • Understands that when the environment changes some organisms survive and reproduce, some move to new locations, some move into the transformed environment, and some die
  • Is developing an understanding that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction

Earth/Space Science

  • Organizes and uses data to describe typical weather conditions expected during a particular season
  • Applies an understanding of weather-related hazards and can discuss solutions that reduce the impacts of such hazards
  • Is developing an understanding of the effects of weathering or the rate of erosion by water, ice, wind, or vegetation
  • Can apply knowledge of natural Earth processes to generate and compare multiple solutions to reduce the impacts of such processes on humans
  • Describes patterns of Earth’s features by analyzing and interpreting data from maps

Social Studies


  • Demonstrates appropriate intercultural competencies within school and broader community
  • Demonstrates appropriate map skills
  • Demonstrates understanding of global and U.S. geography
  • Demonstrates appropriate understanding of local and U.S. history
  • Uses a variety of appropriate tools for finding and conveying information
  • Practices appropriate civic discussion and democratic processes
  • Demonstrates developmentally-appropriate understanding of economic concepts

Possible Social Studies Themes

  • Our neighborhood, our community (interdependence)
  • Community institutions (bank, newspaper, radio)
  • Long ago or far away
  • Topics in nature (trees, rocks, animals, etc.)
  • Our country and the world
  • History of cultures
  • Racial, cultural, and ethnic diversity
  • Environmental concerns in the immediate environment (for example, air or water pollution)
  • Literary characters or a theme emerging from a particular book


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