Middle School Academics

After starting each day in their Advisory classroom for a morning meeting, students rotate through classes. Academic classrooms involve both mixed grade and grade specific groupings depending on the subject.


Math in the Middle School is a grade-specific class, although advanced students have the opportunity to be placed into a higher level when appropriate.  In most cases, students complete Algebra I in their 8th grade year and are on track to take Algebra II and Advanced Geometry in their freshman year of high school.  Students who have moved beyond Algebra I before 8th grade can take Geometry as a teacher-guided, independent study class delivered online.  In middle school math, the instruction focuses on developing problem solving skills, rather than simply memorizing formulas and algorithms.  This is primarily done using textbooks that are unit and content driven. Each unit explores a set of content standards in a way that connects concepts to real world situations. This empowers students to more easily make connections across math content and into science, social studies and even language arts.

Consistent practice of discrete skills is a necessary component of success in math but it is regarded as a means to an end of understanding concepts more deeply.  Middle school math addresses different learning modalities by having students work independently, with partners, in small groups, and with technology assistance.

Middle School math students engage in projects that are integrated across subjects, and involve collaboration with other students to solve practical problems or analyze and present real-world data and issues.  Creative hands-on projects give life to physical examples of mathematical concepts. Our small class size, along with the strengths of our social curriculum, allow the teacher to truly get to know each student’s strengths and weaknesses and set up individualized paths to success.

Throughout middle school math homework is assigned online via  our curriculum’s companion website. This site provides video examples and other ways for students to relearn concepts taught in class (including an “ask the instructor” button).  Students are taught to become independent in their desire to find solutions to problems. Students are given the tools to learn and review using resources other than the classroom teacher and during the hours students are not in the classroom.

Language Arts                                     

Middle school language arts classes take the form of writing and reading workshops for each grade level.  Students engage in individualized writing processes that include drafting, peer and teacher conferences, and publication. Throughout the year, students have the chance to produce work that spans the spectrum of writing genres, from highly personal and reflective, to creative and fictional, to factual and expository. Along the way, students find ample opportunity for discovering and practicing the conventions of grammar, punctuation, and spelling. By focusing on writing for a spectrum of audiences, middle school students learn to use their burgeoning writing skills across curriculums. They record observations in their science journal, formally combine with humanities to produce a research paper using MLA guidelines and citations, and write about thought processes and discovery of concepts in a math project. Together, these experiences allow students to practice writing with real world purpose and results.

Middle school students read for at least 30 minutes every night, engaging in both assigned and student-chosen works of literature.  Students demonstrate understanding and practice forming critical responses to their reading through small group discussions, book reviews, and reading journals. As they reflect on and respond to both reading and writing projects, students build vocabulary and spelling ability using systems that focus on each student’s individual strengths, and gain an understanding of what makes each writer and reader unique.


The critical thinking skills associated with the scientific method are at the core of our inquiry-based curriculum, which is taught at grade level.  Learning to identify direct observation, inference and prediction helps students gain awareness of their own thought processes. By creating and testing hypotheses, experimentation, observation and reflection, our students become scientists and investigate the world around them.  From the microscopic world of cells and chemical compounds to global systems of the earth’s natural environments and beyond to the far reaches of the universe, from quasars and quarks to the universal laws of force and energy, our students are encouraged to look at their world as a place of wonder.  They are inspired to actively seek explanations and find order and patterns in the complexities of our bodies, our planet, and our universe.  They actively explore current knowledge and perspectives, as they encounter ideas that raise interest and awareness of their world. They practice the art of communicating their ideas and perspectives, using well-formulated persuasive arguments. Students keep an extensive observation journal and are challenged to ask questions and discuss answers with their peers and teachers, while they embrace the processes of science as a way of truly knowing about the interconnections around us.  Our unique coastal environment provides ample opportunities to explore natural science in ways that connect our students to the earth and their community.

Social Studies

In Middle School Social Studies students are encouraged to explore the past as a way of understanding the present and future.  Using primary and secondary sources, students recognize and question biases and form logical arguments that are supported by evidence in the historical record.  Investigating wide-ranging geographical and temporal subjects from pre-Columbian North America to current issues facing coastal North Carolina, students are asked to make connections between historical events and consequences they have for the world today.  Social Studies also provides opportunities for exploring cultures and expanding students’ knowledge of world geography, religious beliefs and practices, economics, and political systems.  Through weekly current events that vary from local, state, and world issues, students better understand the world around them and continue to hone skills in reading comprehension, reflection, analysis, writing, and public speaking. 

Friends School of Wilmington Wilmington, NC 28409 910.791.8221 (PreK-2nd Grade) 910.792.1811 (3rd - 8th Grade) Contact Us info@fsow.org (FSOW)
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