An independent middle and high school based on Montessori principles
The integration of geometry, algebra, and trigonometry is the goal of pre-calculus. Detailed study of polynomial functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, trigonometric functions, analytic geometry, systems of equations, sequences, and probability constitute the core of the class. Students can be expected to model natural and man-made phenomena using material in the course. Limits of functions and a basic introduction to derivatives are the threads that tie pre-calculus to the full study of calculus.
Algebra is the study of numerical patterns and their abstract representations. Students represent and analyze these patterns using functions, operations, tables, and graphs. Students learn these concepts and skills in a cognitively rich context of problem solving and critical reading and thinking. Advanced algebra concepts involve more complex reasoning and functions, conic sections, trigonometry and modeling.
This course is intended to build upon the concepts developed in geometry and Algebra I. The course covers advanced topics in algebra such as polynomials and their graphs, division of polynomials, composite functions, zeros of polynomial functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, systems of equations, imaginary and complex numbers, and trigonometric functions. The properties of matrices and determinants will be covered also.
Students are encouraged to perform calculations by hand and electronic methods. Topics in this course are important for the SAT and other college entrance exams.
American History I introduces students to key events in the history of the western hemisphere with emphasis on the development of the United States. Students begin to develop formal academic research and writing skills as they study original documents and secondary sources and create their own analyses.
American History II expands on the foundation laid in American History I. Students delve deeper into research and analysis as they study key events in the history of the Western Hemisphere. They learn to evaluate other historians research, peruse original documents, and prepare to draw and defend their own conclusions about American History and the American Experience.
Students will develop their self-expression through critical thinking. They will spend a good deal of time reading classic writings by American authors in a mix of mediums, including poetry, prose, essays and long-form works, to help them learn through observation.They will be expected to write every day, including journaling, academic essays and research papers, to help them learn by practice. In class, they will discuss rhetoric, teach one another, provide peer feedback and generate new work. The capstone project for this course will be a collection of student writings published both as an individual portfolio and as a class literary magazine.
Anatomy is a branch of Biology concerned with the scientific study of the physical structures of organisms. The structures of insects, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals will be explored by way of hands-on laboratories throughout this course. Physiology will investigate the chemical and physical functions found in living organisms and systems.
Using traditional techniques and emerging technologies, this class emphasizes exploration, analysis, and investigation of the creative process. Students develop technical skills that empower them to communicate ideas visually, developing an understanding of and appreciation for the visual arts. Students explore various two-dimensional and three-dimensional art media, using different expressive and technical approaches. Students study the factors that distinguish artistic styles and that clarify the role of art in culture.
This course uses problem-solving techniques to explore living systems. High School Biology includes a variety of hands-on experiments and challenges students to explore basic life processes, cellular organization, mechanisms of inheritance, the dynamic relationship between organisms, and the change in organisms through time. As students explore these concepts they will be challenged to grow in their understanding of the scientific method and they will develop a greater sense of belonging to the community of life.
Students will develop through self-expression with appropriate grammar and mechanics. They will spend a good deal of time reading classic writings by British authors in a mix of mediums, including poetry, prose, essays and long-form works, to help them learn through observation. They will be expected to write every day, including journaling, academic essays and grammar exercises, to help them learn by practice. In class, students will discuss grammar and mechanics, teach one another, provide peer feedback and generate new essays. The capstone project for this course will be a collection of student writings published both as an individual portfolio and as a class literary magazine.
Chemistry is focused on the study of the structure and composition of matter, and the changes that occur to matter during various chemical and physical interactions. The course provides many hands-on experiments and investigations involving laboratory equipment, basic elements, compounds, and mixtures. Students explore atomic structure, the periodic table, chemical equations, stoichiometry, gas laws, acids and bases, phase changes, and oxidation-reduction reactions. The nature of the course necessitates a comfortable understanding of algebra and a willingness to develop an understanding of the scientific method.
All students participate in drama lessons which include improvisation, drama games, and exercises. Students produce and act in a Broadway quality musical one year and a student written production in alternating years. Past productions include: Grease, Footloose, Skitastrophy Extravaganza, The Addam’s Family, and Oklahoma.
Students will study the structure of the earth, minerals and their properties, rock formation, methods for geologic dating, earth processes, plate tectonics, weathering, the hydrosphere, the atmosphere, climate, and the solar system. Students learn material and share knowledge through outdoor lab application, indoor lab work, textual exploration, projects, and classroom discussion.
Electives are offered based on student interest and need. Past classes include Foods, Yearbook, Gardening, Robotics and Multimedia Production.
Our equestrian program offers a wide range of activities that serve beginner, intermediate, and advanced riders. Lessons take place 3-4 times a week and involve a variety of activities: basic skills and techniques, horsemanship, ring work, trail rides, jumping, lunge training, equine therapy, and introductory fox hunting with local clubs. Additionally, the equestrian program runs a riding club that plans events and activities outside of school hours and organizes annual activities (such as trail rides) for club fundraisers.
Daily chores sustain the farm, school, and community. Students and staff all take part in this work twice a day: in the morning and in the afternoon. Every few weeks, chores rotate so that students have the opportunity to experience each area of responsibility on Belle Meade campus, collaborating with different students and staff members. Feeding the animals, gardening, housekeeping, chopping firewood, and harvesting are among the chore tasks. Regularly completing work with visible, real world results builds habits of confidence and responsibility. Students come to school prepared to work outside every day in all weather conditions with a hat, coat, good work gloves, and boots, which are essential items kept at school for this purpose.
Geometry is the study of spatial reasoning. Students learn properties of two-dimensional and three-dimensional figures, classical reasoning, geometric construction, and Cartesian geometry. Students learn these concepts and skills in a cognitively rich context of problem solving, critical reading and thinking, and hands-on projects. Advanced studies in geometry can lead to trigonometry, the study of right triangles and their applications.
Students learn the foundations and principles of government by studying the works of contemporary and historic political authors. The study the constitution and other founding documents as they create, revise, and maintain their own functional government and economy. Students also experiment with and apply personal and general finance, economics, and business principles as they create and run businesses, make purchases, pay taxes, and finance the government.
MS: Sample Midyear Government Written Discussion – Mini Economy and Government Project
Students learn the foundations and principles of government by studying the works of contemporary and historic political authors. The study the constitution and other founding documents as they create, revise, and maintain their own functional government and economy. Students also experiment with and apply personal and general finance, economics, and business principles as they create and run businesses, make purchases, pay taxes, and finance the government. Government and Economics II students take larger roles in the student government and economy, and engage in historical and contemporary research as well as creating real world policy evaluations and proposals.
HS: Sample Beginning of Year Government Test – Mini Economy and Government Project
Interest in human intimacy is a natural attribute of adolescence that ties directly into self-concept and a developing self and social identity. This interest results in both questions and conversations. At Belle Meade, staff meet students where they are and guide students when they are ready to learn. Accordingly from time to time–and by student request–Belle Meade has group discussions (separated by gender) to frankly answer questions and discuss intimacy in a manner that encourages personal moral development and responsible choices.
The instrumental music program emphasizes basic musical skills for band and orchestra. Students study the elements of music, and how to create and to enjoy music.
Students study the fundamentals of physics, chemistry, earth, and space sciences. This course introduces students to the scientific method and allows for exploration while challenging students to master the underlying math and to apply scientific concepts to solve complex problems.
Introduction to Spanish focuses on teaching conversational Spanish and includes grammar, vocabulary, written, and conversational Spanish. This class also introduces the student to Spanish and Latin-American culture.
Language Arts is designed to help students develop their self-expression and empathy through the writing process. Students read many different types of books across many different genres to help them learn through observation. Students write every day, including practicing communication skills, the creative process and academic writing, to help them learn by practice. In class, students work in groups, explore modern media, learn grammar principles and generate new work. The capstone project for this course is producing a school literary magazine as a class as well as keeping an individual reading journal.
Life Science explores living systems through experience and experimentation, as well expository instruction and reading. This course challenges students to expand their understanding of evolution, basic life processes, cellular organization, heredity, ecology, and human biology.
Students will develop their self-expression through the creative writing process. They will spend a good deal of time reading the work of successful, contemporary authors in a mix of mediums, including poetry, prose, essays and long-form works, to help them learn through observation. They will be expected to write every day, including journaling, craft essays and creative work, to help them learn by practice. In class, they will discuss writing craft, teach one another, provide peer feedback and generate new creative work. The capstone project for this course will be a collection of student writings published both as an individual portfolio and as a class literary magazine.
This course uses the Socratic Method to facilitate cooperative argumentative dialogue among the students, based on asking and answering questions. The goal is to stimulate critical thinking and to draw out ideas and underlying presuppositions. Literature that is discussed in this course will draw from the readings students complete for their specific English classes, and students will come prepared with questions and discussion topics to address in class. Students will use the ideas and concepts discussed in the seminar to write academic essays and creative work.
Students gain real life experience and develop independence as they engage in practical economics. Students learn economics by creating and running their own business. They learn economic terms, principles, manage inventory, design budgets and keep accurate accounts of income and expenditures. Students learn and practice working in different roles within a business.
Middle school mathematics emphasizes problem solving and assists the student in finding mathematical solutions. In addition to problem solving this course reviews and enhances the student’s understanding of basic mathematical concepts. This class looks further into the order of operations, decimals, the metric system, basic geometry, data analysis, factors, proportions, ratio, integers, and algebraic equations.
Our music program offers instrumental and vocal students an arena in which to develop skills and public performance. Fundamentals of reading music and ear training are equally emphasized throughout the school year. Students also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of public performances during the year, including plays, skits, trimester dinners, group or solo videos, and open mic events at regional venues.
Physical Expression (Phys. Ed.) focuses on exploring and engaging in outdoor physical activities that can be continued throughout life. Students gain strength, skill, sportsmanship, and self-confidence through activities including hiking, swimming, canoeing, traditional sports, group games, archery, bicycling, and skiing.
Physics is the study of the properties of matter and energy. The course will cover the topics of classical mechanics, thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism, and modern physics. Laboratory work provides realistic experience in data collection, analysis, and the demonstration of important physics principles. It is suggested that students have a good mastery of Algebra II in order to succeed in the course.
Students learn the basics of algebraic thinking while honing fundamental math skills. Students learn algebraic language and concepts. During the course they expand their ability to independently apply algebraic reasoning using real numbers, exponents, variables, ratios, proportions, equations, and inequalities.
In Spanish I students begin to develop communicative competence in speaking, writing, comprehending and reading Spanish and expand their understanding of the culture of Spanish speaking countries. The main goal in the class is to provide a context for everything students study. The class gives attention to grammar and vocabulary in a context of real-life situations, Latino cultures, and the language as a whole. The idea is to acquire a feel for the language, an appreciation of its beauty, and a degree of comfort and confidence in speaking it. Along the way, students learn a lot about the English language as well as Spanish.
In Spanish II, the study of reading, writing, speaking, and listening continues as more complex grammatical structures are introduced. With more communicative competence come deeper discussions in Spanish about Latino culture and students’ own experiences. Immersion in the language continues as students learn circumlocution in order to hold conversations entirely in Spanish.
Spanish III continues development of listening, reading, writing, speaking, interpersonal communication and cultural awareness. Complexity and comprehension increase as students learn more vocabulary and grammar. Discussion in Spanish of Latino literature, culture, history and contemporary events is emphasized.
Statistics is a branch of mathematics that deals with the systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of data. Students will study and analyze data from many real world disciplines such as medicine, biology, social science, law, natural resources, climate, engineering, sports, and economics, just to name a few. The class will be introduced to professional level statistical software in order to process medium to very large data sets. Students will be expected to design surveys and experiments in order to demonstrate statistical methods and models. The positive and negative influences of Big Data in modern culture will play an important role during background discussions.
World Geography class teaches students how to use maps, globes, atlases, satellite images, photographs, graphs, and other geographic tools to study and understand the world’s populations, national identities and geographic environments. Students will look to history for understanding of how geological factors affect civilizations and cultures and economic, political, and social development. By the end of the class students will be able to identify all the continents, oceans, many islands and nations, and understand that the world’s population is a single community divided by geographic location.
World History I course covers human history up to 1500 CE. Students will research and learn about human development and ancient cultures from around the globe, broadening their understanding of contemporary culture as they compare and contrast with earlier ones.
In World History II students will engage in a study of the political, cultural, social, and economic conditions from 1500 to present. Students hone their research skills and discuss how the past shapes the world we live in today.
Sample Midyear World II History Essay Test with Student Answers