Middle School Basics

Middle School Basics

Alexa Hale (Professional Tutor, Academic Advantage) gives expert video advice on: How do middle school academics differ from elementary school academics?; What subjects do middle school students study? and more...

What is "middle school"?

A middle school consists of typically grades six through eight, which are students that have finished elementary school and learned how to deal with authority figures and to have social life themselves within the classroom. Now in middle school you want them to have more critical thinking skills. Middle school students are more independent; they need to have more responsibility and learn how to do assignments on their own and also engage their own thoughts, as well as reciting back what they have learned. So not only are they memorizing information, but in Middle School they are taking that information and forming their own ideas and opinions about it. The skills formed at Middle School are just going to get expanded on in high school.

How do middle school academics differ from elementary school academics?

The difference between elementary school academics and middle school academics is primarily that the students are no longer going to have one teacher which they're familiar with which they are familiar with and they understand their teaching style. Now they're going to be having different teachers for multiple subjects. Maybe a different teacher for their English and History, another for their Math and Sciences. So they're going to have to learn how to deal with these different teachers for these different subjects, and how they're presenting the material to them. Also, the teachers are no longer going to be providing specific time lines on how their work should be completed and when it should be completed. The students are going to have to provide time lines for themselves and budget their time accordingly to each specific due date, also often the teachers may not remind them about the due dates as much as the students are used to from elementary school. The responsibly is going to lie with them, instead of with their teacher, to make sure the assignment is done on time, turned in, and done correctly.

What subjects do middle school students study?

In middle school, typically, students are going to be continuing studying the subjects during elementary school; English, history, mathematics and the sciences. They'll also probably have a physical education class. With regards to other options and subjects to study at middle school, they'll probably start seeing some electives, meaning some music classes, drama, possibly art or other electives. Towards the end of middle school, they'll probably also have the option of taking a foreign language.

What math skills are taught in middle school?

All the addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division that a child entering middle school should know how to very quickly and efficiently complete themselves without a calculator are going to be expanded upon in middle school math class. In middle school math, they're going to have to be working with larger numbers. They're going to have to be starting to manipulate numbers in middle school math, meaning seeing numbers, pulling them out of word problems, and, eventually, working with algebraic expressions where they're solving for something that's unknown.

What English skills are taught in middle school?

The English skills you should expect students to be encountering in middle school are going to be advanced reading comprehension. This means they're not going to be asked just to recall simple facts from what they're reading, they're also going to have to look for very specific details; and now a newer skill to them is going to be doing some literary analysis. Now that the students realize that in English what they're reading has particular points of view, what they're writing also needs to reflect their points of view. Middle school students are going to have to start taking a stance, instead of just writing about what they've been reading. Students are going to have to state some type of opinion about what they're reading, taking a particular stance, whether they agree or whether they disagree about what they're reading, and finally they are going to start writing more multi-paragraph essays.

What science skills are taught in middle school?

With middle school basics, middle school students should expect that their science curriculum will be providing skills for a basis of what they're going to be learning in high school. Many of the subjects will not be called biology, chemistry, or physics rather life sciences, physical sciences. These middle school subjects are going to be providing the foundations for all the things they're going to be learning later on in high school. Many of these science concepts are going to be provided in a general light, whereas later on they're going to be learning specifics about them.

What history/social study skills are taught in middle school?

In middle school students will both encounter world history and United States history during their social studies courses. Now, unlike elementary school where they just need to recall facts meaning names, dates, places, and events, middle school students are going to have to connect those names, dates, places, and events to cause and effect relationships.