Middle School (5th - 8th Grade)
Middle School Curriculum
Humanities - English Language Arts and Social Studies
Social studies and language arts teachers work closely together to integrate their content. The reading in Language Arts classes reflects the areas of study in social studies. For example, students study the Age of Enlightenment while reading Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities set around the French Revolution. Curriculum for these courses are designed using National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) and English Language Arts Common Core standards, with an emphasis on overarching themes such as Conflict, Discovery, and Power. Students have the opportunity to develop projects based upon areas of personal interest during these classes.
Students in 8th grade recently read "Fahrenheit 451". To see a sample Structural Analysis by one of our current 8th graders, click here.
We enrich and extend our curriculum to ensure that our gifted learners' experiences are rich and challenging. We provide an environment in which our children receive advanced content, accelerative options, and high-level enrichment so they can be continuously challenged throughout all grades. Students are grouped by ability level, and pre- and post- unit assessments are used to accurately determine appropriate placement and differentiation. Our 5th grade curriculum is a sequence of compacted courses in Bridges in Mathematics and our 6th through 8th grade curriculum uses BigIdeas Math for the foundation. We dynamically and thoughtfully supplement this curriculum using a variety of resources including but not limited to YouCubed, Kahn Academy, NRICH, 3-Act Math, NCTM Illuminations and EngageNY.
The science curriculum at Ricks is vertically aligned and meets the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Because of our relationship with the University of Denver, middle school science students have the opportunity to visit the planetarium, undergraduate science labs, and can use other DU resources. Within individual units, students have opportunities to expand and explore topics of interest such as astronomy, biochemistry, and DNA markers.
Students at Ricks in grades 5 – 8 will receive foreign language instruction in Spanish, French or Latin. Our goal is to develop proficiency in the chosen language rather than mere exposure. There is emphasis upon both oral and written language in Spanish, and emphasis upon grammatical construction, vocabulary development and reading in Latin. Our expectation is that students leaving Ricks after 8th grade will place into upper level high school Spanish, French or Latin classes as freshmen.
As part of our comprehensive curriculum that supports the whole child, middle school students participate in art, music, and physical education classes as well as their choice of Latin, Spanish, or French as a foreign language.
Electives are designed with the eclectic interests and passions of high achieving, older students and the talents and interests of our teachers in mind. Classes are multi-aged and instruction is tailored to class interests and abilities. Electives may include options such as Structural Engineering, Innovation Lab, Creative Writing, Yearbook, Student Council, Communications, photography and much more.
Field trips are scheduled throughout the year to complement course content. Students visit sites throughout the metro Denver area as well as on the University of Denver campus. Additionally, middle school students spend one week in May (Week Without Walls) on extended field trips which align with our curriculum. This year, different groups will tour Washington, DC, explore Yellowstone National Park, or go camping in the Rockies.Field Trips