Middle School Curriculum

At Durham Academy Middle School — comprising grades 5 to 8 — we strive to prepare our pre-teen and teenaged students for the challenges ahead academically, and support them personally on their path to maturity.

Middle Schoolers develop habits of learning that define them as students and discover their passions, with a rotating schedule that allows them to challenge themselves through core courses and electives. Students experience all five fine arts during their first two years, with the ability to study a full semester of two fine arts selections in seventh grade and and a full year of their fine arts selection in eighth grade. Middle Schoolers also have the opportunity to focus their world languages classes on the language of their choice, with options to study Chinese, Latin, French and Spanish. 

Challenging courses prepare increasingly independent learners for high school and beyond.

Explore Our Course Offerings

  • Science
Science 5

Fifth-grade science focuses on the basic skills and concepts that provide a foundation for sixth-grade science and beyond. Class discussions and readings emphasize science as a method and explore the nature of scientific inquiry. Lab activities help students develop new science process skills. Students demonstrate their understanding of concepts and skills through written and oral reports and an independent project.  

  • Grade 5
  • Science
Science 6

Sixth-grade science focuses on the fundamental concepts of physical science that allow students to understand the workings of the universe. Students will explore electromagnetism, simple machines, waves and energy, and forces and motion in the context of designing a mission to Mars. A focus on hands-on learning and iterative design will help students develop skills necessary to break large questions down into more manageable chunks. Students will demonstrate their learning through both independent and group project work.

  • Grade 6
  • Science
Science 7

Seventh-grade science focuses on understanding what it means to be a living thing on earth. Students will explore the structures and processes necessary for living things to maintain life, as well as how life evolves to adapt to a changing environment. We will also look outward at relationships within ecosystems and how the choices we make can have unpredictable effects on a global scale. Students will demonstrate their understanding of concepts through a variety of written and oral presentations, both in individual and group settings. 

  • Grade 7
  • Science
Science 8

Eighth-grade science focuses on the flow of energy through the earth’s system using the steps of the scientific method. Students will explore the chemistry of water, how water moves around the earth, and how it captures and delivers the sun’s energy throughout our biosphere. Students will demonstrate their understanding of concepts through a variety of written and oral presentations, both individually and in groups. 

The eighth-grade independent science project is a capstone experience in which each student designs, implements and reports on their own investigation. 

  • grade 8
  • Science
Science in Action

Science In Action is an elective class designed to provide students an opportunity to find out how changes to our present campus will affect the ecology of the greater community. Knowing that all human activity has both short-term and long-term consequences, students will plan and carry out an investigation to help predict what these consequences might be, learn what procedures and planning are in place to protect us from negative impacts, and make recommendations to suggest and plan for at least one opportunity that the construction site offers to make an ecologically positive impact on the world around us. Students will leave this class with a better understanding of the impact that the new DA Middle School’s campus will have on future generations and how our choices determine the kind of difference that we make.

  • Grade 7
  • grade 8
  • Technology
STEAM by Design

STEAM by Design is not like any class you have taken before, as it is not really a class but a student-directed learning opportunity around the topics of Science, Technology, Electronics, Art and Math. Students should have an interest in coding, design, electronics, engineering or robotics. Students are expected to deliver the required projects while risking and embracing failure. Students who are trustworthy, responsible, self-motivated, and are strong collaborators and problem-finders will be a great fit for STEAM by Design. The guiding mantra of STEAM by Design is expressed best by Kevin Brookhouser: “Failure is an Option, Failure to Deliver is Not.”

  • grade 8
  • Physical Education
Physical Education 5

This class will focus on students’ physical fitness and wellness through five PE classes in a seven-day cycle. Students will have sports and fitness units that will stress fundamentals and skills as well as small competition and sportsmanship. We will provide our students a wide range of activities that promote physical, social and emotional growth with the goal of keeping students active, engaged and feeling successful while emphasizing kindness, cooperation and respect for one another.

  • Grade 5
  • Physical Education
Physical Education 6

This class will focus on students’ physical fitness and wellness through five Physical Education classes in a seven-day cycle. Students will have lifetime, individual, dual and team sports focusing on fundamentals, skills, tactics and rules as well as competition and sportsmanship that will reinforce responsible personal and social behaviors. In addition, students will learn to maintain a physically active lifestyle through personal fitness exercises and activities.

  • Grade 6
  • Physical Education
Physical Education 7

We want our students to understand the importance of physical activity in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and the lifetime benefits of health and wellness. We will provide our students a wide range of activities that promote physical, social and emotional growth with goal of keeping students active, engaged and feeling successful while emphasizing kindness, cooperation and respect for one another. Seventh-grade physical education will be an intergraded wellness curriculum with a traditional seven-day rotational calendar with one day dedicated to classroom health education. The five  days of physical activity class will include a combination of muscular strength training, muscular flexibility training, cardiorespiratory training and a variety of team and recreational sport activities.

  • Grade 7
  • Physical Education
Physical Education 8

This class will focus on students’ physical fitness and wellness through five PE classes in a seven-day cycle. Students will have sports and fitness units that will stress fundamentals and skills as well as competition and sportsmanship. We want students to feel good about physical fitness, enjoy playing different sports and learn about how to win and lose the right way.

  • grade 8