Middle School (Grades 7 & 8)
It is the education of adolescents that is important because adolescence is the time when the child enters on the state of adulthood and becomes a member of society.
– Maria Montessori
Adolescent learning is highly influenced by social interaction and hands-on experiences. Expeditionary Learning offers middle-school students opportunities to connect their curriculum with real-world experiences.
Expeditionary Learning experiences are incorporated into all subject areas to provide cross-curricular connections. WMS’s location on the eastern seaboard allows students to travel to prominent points of interest. Past destinations include Philadelphia, New York City, Boston and Washington D.C., in addition to points of interest throughout New Castle County. Even closer to home, WMS’s 25-acre campus also offers ample space for exploration and interaction with the natural world.
Middle-schoolers at WMS follow a Singapore Math-based curriculum called Math in Focus. This curriculum was chosen because of its emphasis on mathematical skills and thinking. Using the flipped classroom model, students begin learning about new math concepts at home through instructional videos. At school, the practice work that was traditionally completed as homework is now done with personalized guidance from the teacher. This inverted, individualized approach creates an environment that facilitates student learning and mastery. Students work at their own pace and are encouraged to set goals for themselves.
Students explore writing through poetry, blog posts, novels and short stories. Students also draw from studies in other subject areas to create formal writing pieces, including persuasive essays and nonﬁction research articles. Additionally, students engage in daily journal writing and explore weekly current events with a focus on creating summaries. Along with writing, students develop public speaking skills through planned and impromptu speaking opportunities.
Based on Next Generation Science Standards, the science curriculum rotates through the ﬁelds of earth, space, life and physical sciences. Students explore and investigate science through a problem-based approach that includes opportunities to learn from researchers and other experts. Expeditionary Learning opportunities bring the wonders of science to life for students. In past years, students have traveled to the Ashland Nature Center, Maryland Science Center, DuPont Environmental Education Center, Franklin Institute, Cold Spring Harbor Genetic Laboratory, and the National Air and Space Museum.
The study of humanities moves students through topics such as Western Expansion, Native American history, world history, history of immigration in America, American history, and U.S. government and politics. Students explore history through literature and project-based learning. Expeditionary Learning trips to historical points of interest extend students' understanding of history and culture. Daily reviews of global current events are also part of the curriculum. Students deepen their understanding of global issues through facilitated discussions, statistical analysis, and geographic analysis using Google Earth.
Middle School students participate in the Montessori Model United Nations, held in New York City each winter. Learning about world issues from one country’s perspective and arguing its point of view with the other countries represented in the Model UN allows students to more fully understand how the world’s countries work to solve problems while meeting their country’s needs.