Upper Elementary Curriculum
At Montessori Kids Academy, Language Arts is seen as the common thread that runs through every aspect of our integrated Montessori curriculum. The Upper Elementary Language Arts curriculum emphasizes language as an art of communication. Over the three-year cycle, students become proficient readers, writers, speakers, editors, authors, critics, and poets. They learn and practice specific skills in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, syntax, and expression in a range of contexts, including small and large group lessons, independent work, writing prompts, journal writing, research projects, oral presentations, portfolio reflections, and literature analysis. Through a variety of literary forms, including biographies, short stories, novels, poems, essays, editorials, news articles, and their own autobiographies, our students observe and analyze models of effective communication.
Literature circles are fundamental components of our Language Arts program. Students engage in in-depth analysis of texts, assuming the role of writer, critic, or main characters, often acting out individual character roles as a group. Student participate in Literature Circles based on reading level.
Our students are exposed to a variety of texts across the entire curriculum that provide opportunities to apply skills in Language Arts, including comprehension, fluency, inferential reasoning, identifying cause and effect, author’s purpose, making predictions, analyzing characters, and identifying themes. All sources help build vocabulary and enhance the understanding of parts of speech, word formation, and sentence and paragraph structure.
Our Upper Elementary math curriculum emphasizes the relationship of math to everyday life using critical thinking skills and problem-solving techniques. As students learn to internalize abstract concepts, their need for manipulative materials decreases. The three-year cycle builds a foundation of skills and concepts that they will use in their future studies of algebra, geometry, statistics, and trigonometry. Our students are assessed independently on their mathematical skills, and are guided through an individualized mathematics program where they work extensively with the following concepts, skills, and applications, adding layers of complexity as they master each level.
Review of common multiples and factors
Fractions and equivalents, comparing and ordering fractions
Addition and subtraction with like/unlike denominators
Multiplication and division with simple fractions and mixed numbers
Decimal place value, ordering and comparing decimals
Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division
Ratio, proportion, and probability
Equivalence, rate, ratios to solve proportions
Relationship between percents, fractions, and decimals
Calculating percents (three forms)
Discounts, interests, commissions, and taxes
Operations with positive and negative numbers
Comparing and ordering integers
Order of operations
Graphing, statistics, and data analysis
Writing equations and evaluating expressions
Collecting, organizing and interpreting data, range, mean, median, and mode
Squaring and cubing
Radicals-simplifying and four operations
Square and cube root
Measurement: Imperial and Metric System
Linear, weight, capacity, temperature, and time
Another major area of focus in our math curriculum is plane geometry. Building on the foundation from Lower Elementary, our Upper Elementary geometry program includes a more intensive exploration of angles, their relationship to each other, how to measure them, how to construct them, and how they relate to geometric shapes. By using Montessori exercises, the students discover formulas and explore strategies for working with concepts of congruency, similarity, and equivalency, and apply these concepts to identifying the relationship of various geometric figures and determining area for advanced polygons.
Our solid geometry curriculum provides the students with the opportunity master the properties of three dimensional, straight line, and curved figures. Using Montessori materials, they explore methods to determine surface area and volume, arriving at theorems and formulas which can be applied to solving problems.
The Upper Elementary science curriculum is designed to familiarize our students with some of the fundamental principles of scientific investigation, to strengthen their powers of observation and critical thinking, and to explore some of the basic concepts within the fields of earth science, physical science and life science. Students participate in demonstrations, conduct experiments, research and present, write, speak, diagram, and draw to spark interest in and gain age-appropriate understanding of a broad array of science topics including but not limited to:
- Mechanics (forces, Newton’s laws of motion, simple machines, properties of waves)
- Earth Science (solar system and the seasons, rock cycle, water cycle)
- Physical Science (states of matter, changes in state, heat transfer)
- Chemistry (atomic structure, periodic table of elements, properties of elements and molecules, chemical reactions)
- Electricity & Magnetism (interrelationship between electric current and magnetism, properties and uses of circuits, properties and uses of magnets)
- Energy (various types, transformation in form, conservation of)
- Life Science (fundamental needs, systems of the body, health & safety)
Zoology and botany are joined to become the study of biology. Older students are introduced to the broader and more inclusive Five Kingdoms (prokaryotes, protests, fungi, animal and plant), and do a variety of written researches, projects and experiments for each of the kingdoms. They study cells, cell structure and function in depth. They design their own cell models. They also look at plant tissues and their functions. Non-flowering plants and their methods of reproduction are presented at this level. Students also study human anatomy and look at comparative functions of animal systems. Nomenclatures, charts, research cards, books and other resources and materials aid in the presentation of these subjects and the independent research and experiments that follow.
Science studies also include an introduction to chemistry and the Periodic Table. Students perform a variety of chemistry experiments. We believe that providing a strong foundation in the sciences will provide the child with a sense of his or her place in the natural order.
The Upper Elementary curriculum for social and cultural studies includes the disciplines of geography and history. Our geography curriculum is designed to show how the physical configurations of the earth contribute to history. It includes a study of physical geography, political geography, and economic geography. Students learn, compare, and contrast the themes of geography that impact societies’ growth and development, including location, place, interactions of people and environments, movements, and regions. Our students expand on their knowledge of political boundaries, map skills, cultures, communities, and basic human needs.
Our Upper Elementary history curriculum carries forth from the Lower Elementary foundation of the Time-line of Life to focus on the Coming of Humans and the ensuing rise of civilizations, including our own. Our history themes are presented in three-year cycles, allowing students to build a foundation of knowledge for historic comparison and contrast.
- Year one: Time-line of Humans
- Year two: Ancient Civilizations
- Year three: History of the United States (beginning with the migration of Native Americans) and the study of Georgia
Our goal is to enable students to see history as a discipline that has meaning in their lives and to understand their own place in history.
Children at the Upper Elementary age demonstrate an intense desire to develop strong connections with their peers. They take increasing responsibility for their own conduct in personal relationships as well as in caring for the environment. The 9 – 11 years are a time when the child is developing and establishing a sense of justice and moral reasoning. As a member of our classroom community, our students play an active role in decision making and conflict resolution. Questions of right and wrong are considered as a group in their daily community meetings which serve as arenas to express issues and feelings. These discussions also allow rules and procedures to be developed in order to recognize and respect others. These class meetings encourage co-operative effort and allow the students the opportunity to acknowledge one another, expressing gratitude for their support and friendships.
Through all this work, our Upper elementary students develop strong interpersonal skills. They come to understand who they are and why and how they are valuable beings. They construct themselves as individuals and contributing members of the human race.