Our challenging standards-based curriculum emphasizes the development of essential skills, the understanding of important concepts, and the ability to apply learning to real-world problems.
Our curriculum includes courses of study for all students in English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, world languages, music, visual arts, physical education, and health. In addition, students take grade-specific trimester courses in technology, research, and study skills which are designed to support their integrated learning experience.
Students at ASMS experience science through the inquiry-based, FOSS curriculum. Each grade completes three to four 6-14 week curricular units which have been sequenced to align to national science standards. Although the emphasis for each unit of study is different, unifying concepts and processes including form and function, scale, conservation of matter, transfer of energy, measurement, and engineering design are addressed at each grade level. Throughout the curriculum, emphasis is placed on the importance of the scientific method; in-class hands-on experiments, student-designed investigations, and participation in national science competitions provide opportunities for students to develop and advance their understanding of and ability to apply the scientific method. When students leave ASMS, they should be confident in their ability to understand the world from a scientific perspective and well-equipped to make informed decisions as citizen-scientists.
Resources: Full Option Science System (Delta Education)
Students begin their sixth-grade year by exploring black boxes. These first investigations introduce the foundations of scientific practice and the concepts of models and systems. Students practice making detailed observations and supporting inferences with a body of evidence. Students collect qualitative and quantitative data and create physical and conceptual models to represent their ideas. Next, students investigate the mechanics of pendulums, spring-boards, and vehicles on ramps. In doing so, they learn how to manipulate variables and design simple controlled experiments to answer questions about design (using standards and changing only one variable at a time). This second unit culminates when students conduct controlled experiments of their own choice and design. In their third unit of study, students complete a project that introduces the processes involved in engineering a solution to a given design challenge - constructing a Mars satellite on a budget. Our fourth unit focuses on the diversity of life. Sixth-graders learn about characteristics that are common to all living organisms and become familiar with biological structures and functions at different levels of organization. Students learn to use microscopes and proper slide preparation techniques to explore several microorganisms. Students use their observations and experimental data to make inferences about organisms. In the spring, students participate in a field trip where they observe a wide variety of organisms in forest and stream communities, and classify these organisms into the appropriate kingdoms while exploring structure and function in a natural environment.