While intentionally designed to challenge our youngest students, our Middle School program allows them to explore, discover, and cultivate new interests. During school hours, our “cellphone-free” policy promotes complete focus on academics, appropriate social development, and full immersion in our Knox Community. After school, Middle School students participate in enrichment programs to learn organizational and study skills and get a start on the day’s homework. Although the day is long, it is structured, fulfilling and productive.
You will be cared for and supported.
English 6: Coming of Age
In English 6, students explore the theme of coming of age in literature. Through the use of grammar exercises, writing prompts, and course texts, students develop a deeper understanding of how to convey their ideas both verbally and through their writing. The course provides students with opportunities to improve their written communication skills, develop critical thinking skills through reading and writing, and learn the proper mechanics for research-based writing.
English 7: World of Fiction
In English 7, students learn to appreciate the roots of literature. Through the use of various genres, students develop a deeper understanding of the diverse forms fiction can take, from graphic novels to medieval epic poetry. The course provides students with opportunities to improve their written communication skills, develop critical thinking skills through reading and writing, and learn the proper mechanics for research-based writing.
English 8: Survey of Fiction and Non-Fiction Texts
English 8 introduces students to non-fiction texts as they continue to study literature. Students are introduced to major authors and various genres to prepare for the Upper School English curriculum. Non-fiction texts are connected to other disciplines and relate thematically to the fiction works students are reading. Students will continue working on responding to texts in their writing and answering specific prompts in a 5-paragraph essay format. Students learn to create a strong argument from supporting evidence with citations from texts or research. Additionally, students continue to work on grade-appropriate grammar and vocabulary skills in this course.
History 6: Geography
Designed to introduce students to the study of geography, this course helps students master important concepts in physical and human geography. Students will develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills as they investigate the Earth’s physical and human diversity; analyze population and settlement patterns and evaluate the ways that human activities modify the physical environment. While studying humans around the world, students compare development, standards of living, systems of government, and economic factors across the globe. In addition, students gain a rich understanding of global cultures and the historical factors that have shaped the world around them.
History 7: United States History (Early AmerIndian to 1865)
The first phase of a two-year course, students will explore the critical events, issues, and individuals in United States History through the Civil War. The course begins with a study of the rich and diverse history of the Native peoples of the Americas, and the changes wrought by the exploration and colonization by Europeans. Major units include the colonial period, the American Revolution, the role of the U.S. Constitution in the birth and growth of a democratic republic, the results of the Westward Movement, and the struggles of the Civil War and Reconstruction. All units include an examination of the impact of economics, politics, and social history on the development of the United States. Students will continue to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills through primary and secondary source readings, classroom discussion, project-based learning and independent research.
History 8: US History (1865 – 2001)
The second phase of a two-year course, students will closely examine major economic, political and social changes brought about by the U.S.’s post-Civil War Reconstruction, industrialization, urbanization, and progressive reforms and will consider the implications each of these events had on the expansion of the United States’ global influence through modern times. Course content encourages students to think carefully about the challenges and opportunities facing the United States in the 21st century. Students will continue to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills through primary and secondary source readings, classroom discussion, project-based learning and independent research.
As our 6th grade students arrive excited to start middle school, Math 6 introduces them to middle school math in fun and exciting ways. The purpose of Math 6 is to enhance basic math skills that were taught throughout elementary school and allow students the time to become comfortable with and master these skills. Students explore topics such as number sense and operations, using formulas, problem solving, basic geometry, and interpreting graphs and data.
All units of study for Math 7 coincide with the core content for assessment for middle grade mathematics. The major units of study for this course are: Integers, expressions and operations, factors and fractions, rational numbers, equations and inequalities, ratio, proportion, percent, functions, linear equations, and graphing. Students who excel in Math 7 may be exempted from Math 8 and have the option to enroll in Algebra I. Prerequisite: Math 6.
Students are enrolled in Math 8 to solidify the foundation needed to excel in Algebra I. This yearlong course focuses on the number system, expressions and equations, functions, geometric principles, and bivariate statistics. Students who excel in Pre-Algebra may be exempted from Math 8 and have the option to enroll in Algebra I. Prerequisite: Passing grade in Math 7.
The Knox School Physical Education class is designed to ensure our student athletes have the opportunity to maintain mental and physical health. Each student athlete will be required to take a yearly fitness test as a starting point to measure their ability and, more importantly, to set goals as to where they want to be in the future in regard to their athletic ability. The Knox School Physical Education Class will also be designed to introduce and prepare student athletes to learn and compete in the sports offered at The Knox School regardless of the knowledge that they had beforehand.
Science 6: Physical Science
Sixth-grade science students begin their Knox careers as “mini-scientists.” Class time includes instruction, hands-on activities and labs, and group projects that allow students to be introduced to the basics of chemistry and physics. Students also study and experiment with the fundamental laws of motion, allowing them to define the movement of universal forces such as gravity, acceleration, and friction. The successful completion of the course prepares the sixth-grade students for their future science courses.
Science 7: Life Science
This fundamental introduction to life sciences increases seventh-grade students’ awareness of the natural world and introduces them to basic principles of scientific inquiry. The course covers a variety of topics, starting with microscopic cells and building to the larger principles of the ecology and natural systems. Throughout the course, students will be utilizing the basic principles of scientific inquiry and lab experiments as a means to prepare them for later courses of study.
Science 8: Earth Science
Throughout the year, eighth-grade students engage in a variety of activities designed to introduce them to the larger-than-life processes that influence everything from tides, to the destructive volcanoes of the Ring of Fire. The course covers a wide array of topics, including the geological processes that shaped the world around us, and the astronomical processes of the universe. Upon successful completion of the middle-school science sequence, students are well-prepared to enter the Upper School and succeed in the sciences.
MS Topics in STEM
This project-driven and research-based exploratory course introduces Middle School students to various topics in the field of STEM. In this hands-on course, students will learn to work cooperatively to overcome various challenges. Topics covered range from aviation and rocketry to reusable energy, geology, and astronomy, coding and computer science, robotics, 3D printing, and more. This course will be an open learning course, meaning while there are some designated topics for study throughout the year, students will be given the chance to determine additional topics which they want to learn.
Visual & Performing Arts
MS Visual Art Experience
This course introduces Middle School students to the crafts of Studio Art through one-term courses. The students are grouped by grade into small, intimate teams of explorers. They learn to take risks and challenge themselves to share their unique perspective through art. Students will examine the major concepts of studio art. They begin with drawing then move on to explore painting and various other media of their choice. While learning and improving their technical skills, students learn the concepts of line, spatial relationships, and creative expression. Students will progress from the cornerstone of art (drawing) through to printmaking. All middle school students enroll in this course sequence.
MS Performing Arts
This course is designed to introduce Middle School students to the art of theatre, specifically through musical theatre performance. Students learn the fundamentals of vocal production, movement, acting, and performance technique. Throughout the rehearsal process, students will discover and develop their skills and showcase what they have learned during a final performance. All middle school students enroll in this course.
Introduction to World Languages
This survey course is designed for 6th and 7th grade students to explore three languages over the course of the academic year: Spanish, Chinese, and French. Their exposure to each language, though only one trimester long, introduces them to basic linguistic skills such as vocabulary building, pronunciation, forming simple sentences and questions, listening comprehension, and recognizing Chinese characters. Students also develop insight into the cultures of the various countries linked to these languages. This course gives students the opportunity to discover which language they would like to continue studying beginning in 8th grade at level I and continuing throughout their education at Knox.
This course focuses on building strong paragraph writing skills as a precursor to formal, high-level essay writing. Students learn how to create a strong topic sentence, locate and provide supporting details and write effective concluding statements. Throughout the term, students develop their well-created paragraphs into short essays, which will help prepare them for other interdisciplinary writing pieces. (1 term; required).
In Writing 7, students focus on the structure of a well-developed essay. Students learn how to create attention-grabbing introductions (“hooks”) with strong thesis statements. They also work on building transitions between paragraphs to improve the flow of their writing. By the end of the term, students will be able to write a complete, five-paragraph essay with a convincing thesis statement, proper evidence and supporting details. (1 term; required).
This course introduces students to MLA format required to complete all of their current and future writing assignments. Incorporation of direct quotations from the texts and a completion of a works-cited page are stressed. Students practice and master the art of creating strong introductions and conclusions, and editing and revising their essays. (1 term; required).
The Middle School Study Skills program explores different strategies to help students better manage time, develop organizational skills, and learn strategies that will make them stronger, independent students for middle school and beyond. Students will learn how to effectively take notes while reading and listening, by learning how to recognize key elements in textbooks and presentations. Students will also learn important standardized test taking strategies that will prepare them for tests like the PSATs. Finally, they will learn how to communicate in the “real-world” by writing formal letters/emails and the differences in spoken vocabulary with friends versus teachers and professionals.
The Middle School Advisory program teaches powerful skills in setting and meeting goals in and out of the classroom. Students will be meeting with their advisors twice a month to continuously monitor and adjust their goals as necessary. In addition to helping students set and meet their goals, their advisor is the student’s advocate when they need assistance communicating with a teacher or if they have any concerns regarding school in general. The advisor will communicate openly with parents to ensure the success of the student.
The After-School Enrichment program for middle school students is designed to enhance students in both academics and the arts. Similar to the upper school students, the middle school students will have a math lab on Mondays & Thursdays from 3:00-3:45 p.m. They will reinforce the math skills taught in their math classes as well as do math projects. On Wednesdays & Fridays from 3:00-3:45 p.m., students will have the opportunity to express themselves creatively through various arts and crafts. On Tuesdays from 3:00-3:45 p.m., students will practice their literary skills by composing a middle school newsletter. Everyday from 3:45 to 4:45 p.m., students will work on homework, so when they get home they can unwind!
Dean ’25 is proudly showing off his model for his Collaborative Learning class. In this lesson, our Middle School students combined knowledge of air-travel with 3-D art-making.
One of the most beloved Knox traditions is when we celebrate our young Knoxies at the Middle School “Moving Up” Ceremony on the quad in front of Houghton Hall.
Knox Middle Schoolers are lucky to take PE class on our waterfront campus.
Knox middle school students explore other cultures through hands-on learning exercises.