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The Broader Curriculum
Science & Technology
Integrating research skills with biology and physical science is a key focus of the science program. Students become oriented to laboratory usage and learn to use a microscope. Fundamental principles of electricity are addressed, and students learn to build a simple electrical circuit. The basics of plants, their functions and types, are introduced. Understanding basic weather theory, weather patterns and how to predict weather is learned. A variety of elective courses in science are offered including Animals of Long Ago, Beginning Anatomy and Physiology, Elementary Chemistry, Circulation of the Blood and several courses from the Basic Biology Series, among others.
Geography & History
Focus is on orienting students to their physical surroundings and cultural environment. The concepts of compass direction are studied so students can learn to interpret several kinds of maps, including political maps, resource maps, contour maps and population density maps. By drawing out a comprehensive world map, students become familiar with the continents and their major physical features.
Through current events seminars, important people and events in the world today are studied and discussed. In addition to the reading program's emphasis on historical figures and events, students research and write reports on several famous figures throughout history.
Learning the techniques of research and observation provides students with basic tools by which any subject can be more easily and effectively learned. Students learn to use library facilities, becoming familiar with references, classification and researching. Logic is introduced as a way to help students evaluate the relative importance of facts and to distinguish between the rational and irrational.
In addition to participation in the Science Fair, students complete several complex research assignments requiring observation and reference study.
Life Skills, Ethics & Integrity
Focus is on social skills, morals, responsibility, communication skills, health and safety. The importance of manners and how manners relate to the interactions of different cultural groups are addressed. Greater emphasis is placed on responsible behavior as regards the students' families and their own lives. Communication skills are further addressed, emphasizing good two-way communication.
An important skill introduced at this level is the ability to work with other students. The student learns specific ways to help other students in their studies, and may work with younger students or with students at their own level.
The students' grasp of a foreign language (generally Spanish) is increased to a vocabulary of approximately 300 words. Emphasis is on carrying on a conversation in various real-life situations.