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 eighth-grade year studying Chemical Interactions. They start by investigating the origination of the periodic table and how it is structured, then reveal the particle model to understand energy transfer and explain phase change. Conducting acid-base reactions reveals more about the atomic model, allowing them to explore ionic and covalent bonds, balancing chemical equations, and determining limiting factors. Students finish the unit with a thermal engineering challenge. In the second major unit of study, students practice their linear algebra skills in the Force and Motion unit. Through hands-on investigation, they describe objects based on their relative position, direction of motion, and velocity. Using free-body diagrams, students investigate the effects of applied forces, gravity, and friction on the motion of an object. Throughout these units, students are given opportunities to research additional topics in teacher-generated, self-paced units, geared toward the individual student interests.
During the spring students start with a mini-unit to review biological concepts that they will need when transitioning to a high-school science sequence. They spend the rest of the trimester exploring Planetary Science, which emphasizes integrating content knowledge and skills from previous science courses and the interconnectedness of fundamental concepts across the curriculum. The students study the Moon, learn about the origin of the solar system, and discover other objects in the cosmos, including composition, atmospheres, and orbital motions. Eighth-grade students complete their middle school science coursework with a Passion Project, in which each student selects a science topic of interest, then uses the skills they developed throughout their time at ASMS to research and analyze information, ultimately producing a final product of their choice to demonstrate their understanding.