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Middle School Classes

Algebra I

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.

American History I

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.

Art

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.

Drama

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.

Earth Science

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

Electives are offered based on student interest and need. Past classes include Foods, Yearbook, Gardening, Robotics and Multimedia Production.

Equestrian/Riding

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.

Farm Chores

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

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.

Government and Economics I

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

 

Human Intimacy and Relationships Round Table

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.

Instrumental Music

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.

Integrated Science

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 the Spanish Language

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

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

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.

Literary Seminar

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.

Microeconomy

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 Math

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.

Music Literacy

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

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.

Pre-Algebra

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.

Spanish I

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.

Spanish II

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.

World Geography

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.