Middle School Highlights
Educational research shows the importance of teaching “skills and concepts with [connected with] the purposes, the models, and the arguments that make them meaningful, that weave them into a larger tapestry of flexible and functional knowledge” (D.N. Perkins, “Educating for Insight”). The BASIS Curriculum refines this by adding that important concepts must be revisited often, in new contexts and in increasing depth, so that students can add complexity and nuance to the knowledge they already possess. This is why our courses in all grades, but in the middle grades in particular, “spiral” their content: teachers can revisit key material from the previous years’ courses, increase the comprehensiveness of students’ understanding of that key material, and allow opportunities for meaningful applications of that material in new contexts. The integration and spiraling of courses allows students to learn concepts at a greater depth, preparing them for rigorous middle school and high school programs.
This spiraling provides the support and structure for students to advance quickly to AP courses. In the sciences, students have the option of picking up an additional two periods per week of lab time in grade 8. This Honors Lab option allows them to skip ahead to the AP level of biology, chemistry, or physics in grade 9. Students enjoy the challenge, and they are well-positioned for success in AP and other advanced courses.
In grades 5–7, the BASIS Curriculum is consistent with the highest international academic standards and is designed to help students develop the academic and organizational skills that will prepare them for the rigorous curriculum in later grades. Our interdisciplinary courses help students deepen and contextualize their knowledge in the core courses by guiding them to see the interconnectedness between. Such interdisciplinary courses include Physical Geography, Classics, Logic, and Economics.
The Logic course introduces students to the principles of deductive argumentation and propositional logic. The general goal is to learn how to distinguish acceptable arguments from poor ones. Students approach this goal through the analysis and construction of valid arguments, and through the analysis and classification of fallacies. Additional aims of this course include gaining an appreciation of the complexity of language; developing the ability to think critically, to recognize, diagram and evaluate the structure of various arguments; refuting arguments by devising logical analogies, and obtaining facility in symbolic logic. These goals might seem lofty, and the topics may seem complex, because they are! BASIS Independent Academies develops the scope and sequence of courses to reflect our knowledge that students are capable of more than is typically expected of them.