Upper Elementary

Upper Elementary

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Language Arts

The study of language has the potential of taking the students on a journey through time, distances, imagination, and possibilities. In the 9-12 classroom, the focus of language is to help the students see its beauty, the tremendous depth for all ages, and its impact on people of all races, ethnic groups, religions, and social status. It is the ability to communicate that delineates primitive from modern man. We cherish that ability, but it is so much a part of our lives that we can sometimes take for granted the written word.

It is the goal of language in the 9-12 class, to help the students become aware of the power of language. That, with language, the author has the ability to completely change the image in a reader’s mind or provide no image at all. It is the author, the student, who has the power to make an image come alive on paper. That is where we must take each individual—to that place where they are empowered enough to write a paper that comes alive for every reader.

If, in the classroom environment, language is perceived as soothing, enticing, relaxing, exhilarating, and something to be cherished—the students will welcome the opportunity to work more with language. As language is an integral part of every area in the Montessori classroom—through research papers, word problems, biographies and history reports—the ability to have control over it and an understanding of language is to provide the students a stepping stone for anything they wish to accomplish in any area of the curriculum.

Practical Life

Students have the opportunity, at the 9-12 level, to “virtually” live as they might as an adult right out of college. They can experience the intricacies of getting and losing a job, going grocery shopping, finding an apartment, and budgeting for the necessary expenses as well as unforeseen emergencies. They can also plan and organize their own garden, discover the importance and fun of personal hygiene, and learn how to get along and succeed even when the group dynamics are not ideal.

All of these activities work together in teaching the students ho to plan for activities, problem solve, budget, prepare for the unknown, and cope under pressure by knowing that there are alternatives that they can handle. The students leave the 9-12 level with a working knowledge of the intricacies and ambiguity of life out of school. Because they are already seeing themselves more and more as part of something larger than themselves (their class, community, country), the skills they learn in the Practical Life area enable these students to be successful when facing everyday life choices.

We then become witness to the development of the human soul; the emergence of the New Many, who will no longer be the victim of events but, thanks to this clarity of vision, will become able to direct and to mold the future of mankind. - Maria Montessori

Biology

Anyone who has beheld not only the qualities of things classified in an orderly way, but also the gradations of each, is able to read everything that their environment and the world of nature contains. - Maria Montessori

In the 9-12 classroom, a much more in-depth and cohesive approach is taken with the Biology curriculum than was received in the lower elementary classroom. The students are reacquainted with the Five Kingdoms, as well as introduced to basic life processes, microbiology, and the organization of the living world.A greater focus on the internal functions of organisms in our world is provided, in addition to an awareness of how and why living organisms function the way they do. The students also gain an understanding of the similarities and differences between the functions of their own body and that of other animals.

The study of ecology wraps up the biology curricular area in the 9-12 classroom. This enables the students to once again see themselves, other living organisms, and the world around them, as interdependent. With their understanding of the functions and characteristics of the living organisms which make up their world, they will better be able to make informed choices about themselves and their world.

Earth Science

To have a vision of the cosmic plan, in which every form of life depends on directed movements which have effects beyond their conscious aim, is to understand the child’s work and be able to guide it better. - Maria Montessori

At the 9-12 level, the study of non-living things, phenomena, and aspects of our world and universe takes on an in-depth perspective that has remained unexplored by the students to this point. Although much of what they learn in this area of the curriculum is well known on the superficial level, the breadth and depth of understanding attained during the three-year cycle will enable many students to possibly never again feel that a goal is unattainable, an idea is impossible, or the miraculous is beyond comprehension. Now they are able to see the processes through which scientists have reached certain theories and conclusions. The students will be able to recognize human error and fallibility, as well as the possibilities that instinct, research, teamwork, and logic can achieve.

Geometry

At the 9-12 level, the exploration of figures becomes increasingly in-depth by learning about areas of simple plane figures, including rectangles, parallelograms, triangles, trapezoids, rhombi, and other polygons. The students are able to take these figures apart, and by using the formulas that are so well known to them, they discover how to find the areas of more complex figures. The next step is exploring the area of circles by learning first the nomenclature and then seeing circles as regular polygons and discovering the area and circumference in that light. Then, the volume of solids is explored by using the concrete materials to discover formulas sensorially, and then abstracting some concepts through reasoning.

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