Middle School General Studies

DSC 1635-0002General Studies Department Overview

The goal in our Middle School General Studies Department is to develop skills, understanding and critical thinking that come from interacting with new information. Our curriculum covers all traditional core subject areas including math, language arts, social studies and science and we use a variety of innovative and creative methods to convey material.  Middle school students learn best when they are connected with the subject matter through experiences like role-playing, lab work, and hands-on exploration activities. Lively discussions are designed to relate to issues and ideas that interest middle school-aged students.  Our teachers work to facilitate students’ developing connections through thoughtful, rigorous curriculum planning in order to foster an atmosphere of a positive learning community where each member is valued and inspired to learn.

Language Arts

A priority of our language arts program is to foster a love for reading.  Students are taught to read deeply and analytically and to respond to literature by examining elements of literature, including setting, character, plot, dialogue, point of view, and theme.  Hillel Torah is committed to developing strong writers as our children move up through the grades. Students are provided with opportunities to write in different genres as they simultaneously work on grammar, style, and mechanics. They gain insight through listening, speaking, reading, researching and writing about information, their own thoughts and experiences and those of others.

Math

Our mathematics program empowers students to learn math through full participation in opportunities which allow them to estimate, calculate, question, create, recognize and apply mathematical concepts. Through the use of written materials and manipulative, students are able to make connections between different areas and topics studied in mathematics.  In seventh grade, a challenging pre-algebra curriculum is introduced.  Students learn to solve equations using whole numbers, decimals, fractions and integers, as well as working with percents and number theory.  Eighth grade continues with a rigorous algebra course.

All grade levels experience math in main areas, including: Numbers and Functions, Operations and Computation, Geometry, Measurement, Statistics and Probability, Fractions and Decimals, Patterns and Relationships, and Problem Solving.

Science

Science is the exploration of the unknown and the unraveling of mysteries from the complex universe. It is an intriguing endeavor for the human mind to understand, as well as to apply scientific principles, in order to comprehend the importance of science in everyday life. Science promotes investigation, information, and various resolutions to everyday problems. The goal of our science education is to utilize the fundamental concepts, skills, laws, and theories that will assist students in examining and explaining evidence gathered. In order to accomplish this goal, we focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) to inspire and encourage students to think, explore, engage, and experience trials and tribulations like a scientist. STEM education encourages students to confront real-life problems and utilize knowledge from multiple academic disciplines to discover a solution. When students are encouraged to "think outside the box" and share ideas or discoveries, they are empowered to become active, independent, and confident learners. With the acquisition of life science, physical science, earth and space science, our students become active and involved individuals engaged in appreciating the world around them.

Social Studies

Our social studies curriculum is based on historical and geographical knowledge, stressing ethics and democratic ideals. Students investigate the factors that influence culture and study contemporary issues. They are better able to understand themselves and others, and to develop judgment and an appreciation of their rights and their responsibilities to others. Different methods and projects are used in each grade to engage students in learning, thereby, developing their skills in critical thinking, discussion, analysis, and research.