655 Willowside Rd
Santa Rosa, CA 95401

Seventh Grade

Curriculum Overview

Two gestures characterize the student of Seventh Grade: an outer, active interest and curiosity, and a dynamic inner questioning. An appetite for knowledge of world phenomena mingles with a budding capacity for reflection and the first prompting of self-reflection. In this picture of emerging forces, the physical changes that establish sexual identity and capacity begin to manifest more clearly.  The seventh grade curriculum themes mirror the pupils' outer exploration of world and inner journey.

HISTORY: Seventh Grade history is an intensive study of the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Age of Exploration and Discovery. This was a great turning point in the evolution of human consciousness, for it ushered in a new age of wide scientific inquiry and exploration and new artistic impulses. Our study is done through the biography of some of the colorful dramatic figures of the times such as Joan of Arc, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Martin Luther and several of the great explorers.

ENGLISH: The class attempts to develop different forms of expression in writing through the study of "Wish, Wonder, and Surprise." In writing, contrasting moods such as joy/sorrow and blessing/condemnation are practiced. Assignments in dictation and composition are continued, along with a weekly list of spelling words. During the second half of the year, the class works with the 2000 most commonly misspelled words. Intense work in punctuation and grammar is done, and the class is introduced to different poetical forms. A class play is performed.

PHYSICS: The focus of these lessons is on magnetism and electricity, including their history and practical uses. The subject of mechanics includes the study of the lever and its relationship to the human arm, and continues with a study of the wheel and axle, the pulley, the inclined plane, and gravity.  The approach includes experimentation and observation in order to discover laws and concepts. Biographies of important physicists are told.

CHEMISTRY: Chemistry is introduced with the study of combustion. Experiments are done in which organic and inorganic substances are subjected to burning, and the students observe this process, noting the color of the flame, the smell, and the residue of the ash. Exploration of the properties of acids and bases and the study of the limestone cycle, including firing and hydration, conclude this introduction to Chemistry.

PHYSIOLOGY: This study looks at life processes of blood circulation, respiration, and digestion in the human being. As the student lives on the threshold of childhood and adolescence, he/she can enter into a feeling of health and nutrition without falling into egoistic fads. We spend more than a week exploring human sexuality. Oral reports focus on addiction.

GEOMETRIC/PERSPECTIVE DRAWING: The class works with drawing of angles, triangles, and perpendiculars. They work with formulas of area and perimeter of geometric figures and the Theorem of Pythagoras and its uses. As the children begin to experience different points of view in their own lives, they are introduced to the elements of perspective drawing. Geometric forms of the numbers 1-10 are constructed, and the qualities of each number are explored.

MATHEMATICS: The students expand their imagination in order to learn to think in new ways as they enter the realm of negative numbers. Squaring, cubing, and square roots are all worked with. The work to balance equations has a relationship to the fulcrum from our physics study and the finding of balance in oneself. Algebra helps the students formulate questions in their process of inquiry. 

ART: In weekly art lessons, as well as in Main Lesson, the seventh graders draw, paint and clay-model to strengthen their developing observation skills. The students model their own hand in clay, study sketches by the great artists of the Renaissance, and try their hand in creating portraits of the Renaissance artists in pencil, watercolor and/or pastel. Main Lessons can provide themes for watercolor painting, but the wet-on- wet method is no longer the main focus of art. More freedom in illustrating Main Lesson Books and the use of calligraphy pens give the students more responsibility for beauty and detail in their Main Lesson books.


STONE CARVING:  Students choose a piece of stone, examine its overall shape, and imagine what hidden form lies within.  A maquette is shaped in clay.  Using chisels, mallets, rasps, files and sandpaper, the students discover the shape emerging and refine it. Discussions center on defining a curve, sensing a consistent concave/convex form, and shaping an active and living form. Safety and efficient use of tools is emphasized. Close observation of a form and achieving completeness in the smoothing and sanding of the work is encouraged.


COPPERSMITHING:  A simple disc is cut from a sheet of copper and filed to remove excess metal.  Using a round-headed hammer and a tree stump with a slight hollow, the students stretch the copper.  By beating the disc in an expanding spiral over a hollow, a concave form is shaped.  Symmetrically and uniformly stretching the copper challenges the students in their focus, developing a relationship to metal and its malleability as well as a sensitivity to their own strength and movement.  

The second project is to make a lid for the bowl.  A slightly larger disc is cut. By bending the edge over a hard surface, the turning of the lip of the lid is done.  Successive hammer blows, each adjacent to the last, create a continuous bend.  The lid is enhanced by forming a relief in the surface (reposé).  Wooden pegs and a hammer are used to press a form into the lid.  Students are allowed free expression of their creativity in reposé.

HANDWORK:  The Seventh Grade learns the ancient technique of felt making. This tactile process is fun and fairly simple, relying on wool, water, soap and will power to produce a textile. As with many textiles, felt making is historically a group activity. Some students pair up and felt their partner’s slipper onto their partner’s foot. Projects are rolled into rattan blinds and pummeled with hands or feet, and special techniques are employed to shape the work. Slippers, hats, bags and balls are made and later may be embellished with embroidery.

MAIN LESSON BLOCKS IN THE 7TH GRADE: The Age of Discovery; Renaissance history; geography extends to Africa or Asia; physics (electricity, magnetism, optics, mechanics); elementary chemistry; human physiology (health and nutrition, circulation, respiration, reproduction, digestion); continued themes in mathematics; algebra; geometry.

Special Subjects

Spanish: Grammar, Latin American Poetry, Reading

7th & 8th Girls Choir/ Boys Recorder, 7th & 8th Boys Choir/Girls Recorder

Practical Arts:
Textile, Stone Carving, Copper Work, Drawing, Veil

Painting, Farming:
Flower Bouquets, Fall harvesting, Carpentry Project

Instrumental Music:
mixed 6th, 7th and 8th Grades: Orchestra, Flute Choir or Instrumental Ensemble (Woodwinds, Brass, Flute, Violin, Viola, Bass, Cello)

Values and Virtues:
Conflict Resolution, Cliques, Peer Mentoring, Personal Values, Choices, Human Body

Skills Practice

Teams: Soccer, Basketball & Vollyball

10th Grade