Middle School Curriculum

At Durham Academy Middle School — comprising grades 5–8 — we strive to prepare our pre-teen and teenaged students for the academic challenges ahead, while providing personal support on their path to maturity. Middle Schoolers develop habits of learning that prepare them to be life-long students, and we provide our students ample opportunities to find out who they are through our core course requirements and our Exploration/Concentration courses.
 

    

The goal of our Course of Study is to offer increasingly challenging courses along with opportunities for self-discovery that prepare our students for high school and beyond. 

Explore Our Course Offerings

  • Computer Science
Principles of Computer Science 5

Computer Science Explorations is an introductory trimester course that offers three general components: Digital Media, Computer Programming and Robotics.

Digital Media and Me will leverage technology in creating images and videos while learning how to manage their digital presence regarding ethical use, decision-making and privacy.

Basic Computer Programming is an entry-level block-based computer science coding component where students will creatively code to create projects.

Robotics will be explored using Lego Spike Prime robots to learn how to build, code, and troubleshoot their autonomous robots to perform tasks and challenges. Students will create robots that move independently, use sensors, interact with each other, and interpret data. Students will work in pairs to build collaborative and teamwork skills.

  • Grade 5
  • Computer Science
Principles of Computer Science 6

Computer Science Explorations is an introductory trimester course that offers three general components: Digital Media, Computer Programming and Robotics.

Digital Media and Me will leverage technology in creating images and videos while learning how to manage their digital presence regarding ethical use, decision-making and privacy.

Basic Computer Programming is an entry-level block-based computer science coding component where students will creatively code to create projects.

Robotics will be explored using Lego Spike Prime robots to learn how to build, code and troubleshoot their autonomous robots to perform tasks and challenges. Students will create robots that move independently, use sensors, interact with each other and interpret data. Students will work in pairs to build collaborative and teamwork skills.

  • Grade 6
  • Computer Science
STEAM by Design 7–8

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 7
  • grade 8
  • 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
  • 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 — Lifelong Fitness and Activities: Grades 7-8

In Physical Education, students will explore a wide variety of activities that will create a foundation for physical literacy and activity throughout their lives. They will learn components of strength, flexibility, cardiorespiratory fitness, gross motor movement, agility, strategy and more, while learning to coordinate and cooperate with peers in familiar and novel settings. The class will also incorporate key concepts of comprehensive personal well-being with a focus on physical wellness, mental health, social awareness and other social-emotional learning components. Students will develop their ability to maintain their overall health (physical, mental and social-emotional) through these team sport activities and individual skill development and challenges. Be prepared to chase joy with fitness and fun!!

  • Grade 7
  • grade 8