6th Grade Course Descriptions

  • West Chester Area School District 2020-21 Middle School Course Description Guide

    6th Grade Academic Courses

    Language Arts - English (6th Grade)

    All sixth grade English classes include the study of a variety of
    texts: novels, poetry, short stories, drama, and nonfiction, which
    includes speeches, biographies, autobiographies and editorials.
    Integrating reading, speaking, listening, writing, and viewing
    skills encourages critical thinking and effective communication.
    Students also study grammar, spelling and vocabulary according
    to a grade level scope and sequence.
    The specific data points that middle school principals will
    consider for placement into sixth grade reading and English
    courses are as follows: teacher recommendation, historical
    and current PSSA performance in reading and writing, PVAAS
    projections, and fifth grade reading and writing report card
    grades. Principals may also consider additional data points that
    may be available for individual students.


    English Accelerated Honors

    This course is recommended for avid readers, advanced writers,
    critical thinkers and those who have a passion for Language Arts.
    This class teaches students to analyze, explain, and evaluate
    elements of literature and write at an accelerated pace.

    English 6 Honors

    This class teaches students to analyze, explain, and evaluate
    elements of literature and writing at a challenging pace.

    English 6 Grade Level

    This class teaches students to explain, evaluate, and analyze
    elements of literature and writing at a continuous pace.

    Language Arts - Reading (6th Grade)

    Reading Through Time 6 Honors

    This course is for self-directed students who apply advanced
    reading strategies independently across all content areas.

    Reading Through Time 6 Grade Level

    This course is for students who need additional instruction and
    practice in developing reading skills and strategies in all content
    areas.

    Reading Plus

    Reading Plus is designed to provide intense, formal reading
    intervention by a reading specialist. Students who are required
    to take this course will be selected based on need as determined
    by multiple criteria. This course replaces World Cultures and
    Geography.

    Mathematics (6th Grade)

    All sixth grade Math classes study content as outlined by the
    Pennsylvania Core Standards, Assessment Anchors and Eligible
    Content. This includes: Positive & Negative Numbers and the
    Number Line, Fractions & Decimals, Ratios, Rates, Percent,
    Algebraic Expressions, Equations & Inequalities, The Coordinate
    Plane, Area of Polygons, Surface Area & Volume, Statistics, and
    Measures of Central Tendencies. Instruction focuses on the
    progression of mathematics from concrete to pictorial to abstract.
    The specific data points that middle school principals will
    consider for placement into sixth grade math courses are as
    follows: teacher recommendation, historical and current PSSA
    performance in math, PVAAS projections, and fifth grade
    math grades. Furthermore, all students will take the Orleans
    Hanna Algebra Prognosis Test in the spring of their fifth grade
    year. Student scores on the Orleans Hanna Algebra Prognosis
    Test will not include points for self-reported grades in math,
    science, English or social studies. These results will serve as an
    additional data point for placement in 6th grade. Principals may
    also consider additional data points that may be available for
    individual students.
    Students who are non-proficient on the PSSA may receive math
    support through an additional math class or support within their
    regular math class.

    Mathematics 6 Accelerated Honors

    This course is designed for students who have demonstrated
    the prerequisite skills needed to study math at a high level and
    a rigorous pace. The curriculum is aligned to provide extensions
    and enrichment to focus on abstract and complex problem
    solving.

    Mathematics 6 Honors

    This course provides students with experiences to further build
    the foundational concepts necessary for the higher study of math.
    It is intended for students who are continuing the development
    of their abstract reasoning. Exposure to higher-order problem
    solving is prevalent within the challenging pace of this course.

    Mathematics 6 Grade Level

    This course focuses on abstract thinking and provides an
    introduction through concrete and numeric examples. The
    transition to abstract problem solving occurs at a continuous
    pace with a focus on supporting a strong foundation of math
    knowledge.

    Math Plus 6

    This course replaces a 2 day Unified Arts class
    Math Plus is designed to provide intense, formal math
    remediation. Students who are required to participate will be
    selected based on need as determined by multiple data. Math
    Plus is in addition to a student’s core math class.

    Science (6th Grade)

    The sixth grade science curriculum emphasizes the nature of
    science and the scientific method which facilitates an appropriate
    vertical alignment from the elementary science program to the
    middle school sequence. In accordance with the Pennsylvania
    State Standards and Assessment Anchors, the principles of life
    science are taught. Topics include cells, bacteria, plants, animals,
    heredity, and environmental science. The course utilizes guided
    inquiry laboratory activities and reading strategies. It offers
    students a variety of opportunities for acquisition of content
    and skill development that facilitate their understanding of the
    process of science and prepares them to become actively engaged
    in their future learning experiences.

    Social Studies (6th Grade)

    World Cultures and Geography

    In accordance with Pennsylvania State Standards, the sixth
    grade World Cultures/Geography classes focus on geography,
    government, economics, and historical analysis of cultures from
    regions around the world. Included in the study of each region
    are a variety of thinking skills, problem solving activities, and
    analysis of text. As the students engage in interactive and creative
    opportunities, they become more knowledgeable about our world
    and its diversity. The units of study include a strong emphasis
    on map and globe skills, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Asia,
    Africa, and Australia/Oceania.

    Unified Arts Courses (6th Grade)

    Art

    This class meets 4 days per 6-day cycle for a semester

    The primary focus of this curriculum is to incorporate the
    elements and principles of art through global study. Emphasizing
    techniques, tool use, care and safety in the art room, students
    learn the arts of different cultures through projects utilizing a
    variety of media. Vocabulary and writing exercises are included
    in lessons to reinforce new concepts. Each unit is modified,
    whenever appropriate, to have simplified, adapted and/or
    advanced activities. Ideas learned at the elementary level are
    reviewed and built upon in the sixth grade.

    Computer Science (6th Grade)

    Computer Science Fundamentals (6th Grade)

    This class meets 2 days per 6-day cycle for 1 quarter

    Computer Science Fundamentals is the first in a series of computer
    science courses offered for middle school students. This sixth
    grade course introduces the concepts of computer science such
    as hardware, software and networking while teaching computer
    skills in word processing, multimedia and spreadsheets. Digital
    Citizenship topics are reviewed and practiced throughout the
    course.

    Computer Science Applications (6th Grade)

    This class meets 2 days per 6-day cycle for 1 quarter

    Computer Science Applications is the second course for 6th grade
    students. Students build on skills from the first course and are
    introduced to basic concepts of computer programming through
    flowcharts, algorithms and applications of the coordinate plane.

    Family and Consumer Sciences (6th Grade)

    Food Science

    This class meets 2 days per 6-day cycle for 1 quarter

    This course introduces students to wellness and healthy food
    choices as outlined by the principles of the USDA’s My Plate
    guidelines. Students explore the following content: laboratory
    and equipment safety, the science of food safety and food borne
    illness, accurate measuring techniques, chemical changes that
    occur during food preparation, healthy meal planning and lab
    procedure guidelines. Students participate in food experiments
    by applying these concepts. They critique their performance as
    members of a team.

    Consumer Studies

    This class meets 2 days per 6-day cycle for 1 quarter

    Comprised of two interrelated units, students examine income
    and expenses in relation to their needs versus wants and use
    a decision-making model to manage resources. Through the
    examination of physical, emotional and social needs of the family,
    the young adolescent learns to distinguish needs and goals across
    the lifespan. They explore a variety of housing options to suit
    family structures. Using computer technology, students create a
    “dream room” involving a budget and purchasing strategies.

    Health (6th Grade)

    This class meets 6 days per 6-day cycle for a semester

    The Health Education Program is designed to motivate and
    encourage active student participation in developing life skills
    for optimal emotional, mental, physical, and social health. The
    curriculum is aligned with the Pennsylvania Academic Standards
    for Health, Safety & Physical Education and is delivered in a
    variety of teaching styles to optimize and accommodate student
    learning. A main goal of the program is for students to apply the
    knowledge gained to make healthy lifestyle decisions.

    Music (6th Grade)

    Band, Chorus, and String Orchesta all meet 2 days per 6-day cycle
    for the entire school year.

    If qualified, middle school students may register for ONE
    performing ensemble class (band, chorus, orchestra) OR they
    will be enrolled in Classroom Music.

    Band

    Students who play band instruments are given the opportunity to
    perform many styles of literature from classical to contemporary.
    The development of technical skills, musical knowledge and
    self discipline, as well as learning to work together as a unified
    organization, are important elements of the band program.
    Group lessons are scheduled on a rotating basis during the school
    day. Home practice is essential. Extracurricular activities such
    as Jazz Band, Pep Band, and small ensembles may be offered as
    enrichment opportunities for exceptionally motivated students.
    Pennsylvania Music Educators association District 12 band
    festivals for fifth and sixth grades and other small ensembles,
    may be offered as enrichment opportunities for exceptionally
    motivated string students.
    Prerequisites: Essential technical skills on a band instrument as prescribed in the
    district band curriculum and approval by the band director.

    Chorus

    Each grade level practices and performs varied selections
    of choral literature while working toward developing tone,
    intonation, diction, blend, balance, and breathing techniques.
    Furthermore, students will continue to improve their music
    literacy, ear-training/audiation skills, and sight-reading abilities.
    Chorus is designed for students who have a high level of interest
    in singing and improving their vocal skills. Extracurricular
    ensembles such as Stetson Singers, Peirce Vocal Ensemble,
    Fugett Chorale, PMEA Songfest, and District Honors Chorus
    may be offered as enrichment opportunities for exceptionally
    motivated students.

    String Orchestra

    Students who play string instruments are given the opportunity
    to perform many styles of string ensemble/orchestral literature
    ranging from baroque to jazz. Students develop their technique
    and their knowledge of scales and rhythms as well as their
    sensitivity to style and character of the music. As a community
    of people, members of the string orchestra learn to work
    together with self discipline toward a common goal: excellence
    in performance. Group lessons are scheduled on a rotating
    basis during the school day. Home practice is essential, and
    private lessons are encouraged. Extracurricular activities such
    as Select Strings, Pennsylvania Music Educators Association
    District 12 string festivals for fifth and sixth grades, and other
    small ensembles may be offered as enrichment opportunities for
    exceptionally motivated string students.
    Prerequisites: (1) essential technical skills on a violin, viola, cello or double bass and (2)
    approval by the elementary and middle school string directors.

    Classroom Music

    All Classroom Music students study a variety of topics, including
    music theory, music history, instrumentation, composition,
    musical careers, recording, and the music industry. They actively
    participate in musical performance while learning about the
    basic elements of music through the use of the MIE keyboard lab
    and guitars. The Classroom Music course is designed to develop
    and expand upon the students’ knowledge of history and culture
    through the medium of music. The course focuses on various
    instruments of the symphonic orchestra, world instruments,
    the voice, melody, rhythm, harmony, form and musical theatre
    productions.

    Physical Education (6th Grade)

    This class meets 2 days per 6-day cycle for the entire school year

    The Physical Education Program provides cognitive, affective
    and psychomotor learning opportunities aligned with the
    Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Health, Safety & Physical
    Education in order to gain a better appreciation, working
    knowledge and understanding of the importance of maintaining
    a healthy lifestyle through physical activity. Students engage in
    a wide variety of activities including team sports, cooperative
    games, personal fitness, lifetime pursuits, team building and
    indoor rock climbing. Classes are differentiated to meet all
    levels of ability and students are encouraged to optimize their
    participation by being prepared with a required uniform.

    Technology Education (6th Grade)

    Introduction to Technology

    This class meets 2 days per 6-day cycle for 1 quarter

    Students are introduced to the engineering design process.
    Students learn how technologies are created, modified, and how
    they impact every day life.

    Robotics

    This class meets 2 days per 6-day cycle for 1 quarter

    Students engage in the engineering design process while solving
    problems that relate to real world situations utilizing 21st century
    manufacturing and robotic principles. Students explore many
    facets of technology to gain an understanding of the technological
    world around them.