In grade seven English, students practice taking notes and participating in formal Socratic seminars as means to better understand what literary texts mean and how to accomplish their purpose. In addition to developing their analytic skills, students are asked to develop a personal connection to texts and explore the moral issues raised by the authors. Readings include: As You Like It, Poetry of Robert Frost, To Kill A Mockingbird, Lord of the Flies, Huckleberry Finn, Animal Farm, and Romeo and Juliet. Writing focuses on developing the ability to formulate and express ideas through a multitude of genres including: fiction, editorials, memoirs, poetry, character analysis, creative nonfiction, fairy tales, and additional multigenre works of choice. Students learn and practice new vocabulary through the critically acclaimed program Vocabulary for Success. This exposure enables students to broaden their vocabulary, making them stronger readers and more expressive writers. Through integrated grammar instruction, students learn new and reinforce previously taught grammar skills and incorporate those into their writing.
Seventh-grade mathematics is a first year algebra course. Study of the integers includes prime numbers, prime factorization, divisors, multiples, the divisor theorem, positive and negative integers, absolute value, and order. Students practice the basic principles of algebraic manipulation by solving equations of one unknown, and learn about the coordinate plane. The idea of a function is informally introduced with discussing direct and inverse variation in the context of word problems. Students work with functions represented by tables, graphs, and equations. The correspondence of a function’s algebraic and graphic representations is emphasized. Geometry includes the straight line, Euclidean constructions, the circle, sectors, chords, and arc length; relations between straight lines and planes, polyhedra, solids of revolution, surface area and volume of pyramids, cones, and spheres.
The seventh-grade science curriculum continues to take the student on a more focused look at life and physical science concepts. Beginning with a longitudinal study of the MCDS prairie, students learn about topics related to ecology, plant identification, and taxonomy. Following that, the class investigates organisms at the cellular level and the genetic basis of inheritance. In the final unit of the year, students study plate tectonics and the cycling of Earth materials. Students continue to record and communicate lab results using a lab notebook, but students also design, conduct, and present their own experimental research for the Middle School Science Fair.
History and Geography
Students study U.S. History beginning with an extensive study of the United States Constitution. Other units of study include: Westward Expansion, Industrialization, Immigration, the Progressive Era, and World War I. Students read from primary sources to improve comprehension skills and make personal connections to the curriculum. The geography content is interspersed and a unit is specifically designed to understand how geography, population, resources, and religion of other nations affects our interactions. Students also explore and evaluate current events in the context of human behavior relating to past historical events.
Students continue to develop the four basic language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. They become competent in communicating during simple daily-life situations, including leisure time, airplane travel, food, fine art, news, and staying healthy. Strong emphasis focuses on incorporating the use of past tense and introducing commands and the subjunctive. The cultural focus stresses the influence of Latin American people in the United States, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.
The Madison Country Day School Music Department strives to provide a comprehensive music education for each child, promoting a balance of discipline, creativity, and aesthetic understanding.
Throughout middle school, students receive private or semi-private music lessons on their chosen instrument (piano, voice, violin, viola, cello, bass, trumpet, trombone, french horn, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, flute, or percussion). These lessons occur during the school day and are included in tuition. All seventh grade students participate in a combined seventh and eighth grade ensemble (band, choir, or orchestra) determined by their instrument. These young musicians perform in a Winter and Spring concert and can also participate in two recitals each year. Depending on their ensemble, students have other performance opportunities, both on and off campus. Seventh and eighth grade students receive designated music theory instruction time during their ensembles. Units include major vs. minor tonality, musical form, and simple vs. compound meter. A major highlight is the annual composition unit. MCDS music students grades 5-12 are given an account with Noteflight, a web-based notation software, which they use for composition as well as music assessments. Seventh grade students also have the option to participate in WSMA Solo and Ensemble Festival.
This course consists primarily of studio work, with students engaging in art history through a series of projects, independent research, and short papers. The class uses Japanese art and culture as a framework for assignments that focus on problem solving and open-ended thinking. Projects from this year include creating ceramic vessels, a 5-point floral design, sumi ink paintings, a 2-layer relief print, and a proposal with digital mock ups for a site specific work of art.
Fitness activities, strength development, and sport related games build proficiency and teach strategy. Units include golf, eclipse ball, floor hockey, lacrosse, archery, pickleball, volleyball, handball, basketball, competitive games, track and field, softball, soccer, Ultimate frisbee, and dance. Students develop the confidence and motivation to participate in organized and individual physical activities where they learn leadership, teamwork, and good sportsmanship. Health education is integrated within the physical education curriculum. The program emphasizes lifelong fitness. School-sponsored sports include soccer, girls’ volleyball, basketball, spirit squad, track and field, cross country, tennis, ultimate frisbee, and crew.