At Dunn Middle School, we encourage students to experiment widely and experience deeply. In history classes and language arts, students learn the crafts of the historian and the writer from the inside out through reenactments, role playing and storytelling. Math classes regularly relate problems to real life experience, teaching students how to apply what they learned in addition to learning fundamental skills. In science classes, students design and conduct their own experiments, thus gaining a deeper understanding of scientific principles at work in the world.
"This is the kind of education every child deserves." - Current Parent
Science at Dunn Middle School focuses on the development of investigation skills. Education through inquiry is an exciting, exploratory approach and most learning takes place through experimentation and discovery. Students are encouraged to be creative, to take risks, and to be innovative in their quests to collect and analyze data to support answers to their own questions. After three years of DMS Science, not only will students have been exposed to major concepts of biology, chemistry, and physics, but they will also have the skills and confidence to devise and conduct experiments, and interpret their results in order to make informed decisions about the world around them.
The entire DMS Science curriculum cycles through three major themes; Egg, Fire, and Water. Each serves as a lens through which students investigate Science. Though the complexity builds from 6th to 8th grade, this approach to learning allows every student at DMS to engage in discussion of the topics simultaneously.
From hatching their own chicks in order to determine dominant and recessive alleles, to guided discovery of marine ecosystems through snorkeling in the kelp forests, or from calculating the correct trajectory of a water balloon so that it explodes precisely on the head of the school principal to making fire tornados for a better understanding of the combustion reaction, students at DMS learn through our school’s motto: Carpe Diem!
Social Studies explores the societies and people of the past in order to better understand our place in today’s world and the roles we can play in it going forward.
Students investigate cultures ranging from the Roman Empire to 19th century America, actively studying the relationship of cause and effect in the events that have shaped the world and its people, as well as how those events affect us today. Using primary historical documents and experiential exercises, students work individually and with their classmates to gain a greater understanding the forces of change that are present throughout human history. Students then apply their understanding as they participate in discussions, hold debates, investigate topics, and present their ideas in research papers, group projects, and speeches. Doing so allows them to discern the nuanced nature of history, which will allow them to be more informed members of society.
Questions are at the heart of the Middle School math program.
What is mathematics? Why do we study it? How do we use it? How did early people and ancient civilizations influence and advance our present day understanding of mathematics?
Over three years of sequenced study, students explore numbers, computation, measurement, geometry, pattern and function, statistics and probability, logical reasoning, algebra and discrete math. Both the class work and homework support a balanced program in which students become proficient with basic skills, conceptual understanding, and hands-on problem solving.
The DMS math department will be teaching the College Preparatory Mathematics (CPM) curriculum. The Mathematics classes will be using the Core Connections textbooks, which is a three-year sequence of courses designed to prepare students for a rigorous college preparatory algebra course.
On a daily basis, students in the Core Connections Course use problem-solving strategies, questioning, investigating, analyzing critically, gathering and constructing evidence, and communicating rigorous arguments justifying their thinking. Students learn in collaboration with others while sharing information, expertise, and ideas. The course helps students to develop multiple strategies to solve problems and to recognize the connections between concepts.
Sixth grade Humanities combines Social Studies and English. Through the use of fiction and non-fiction texts, students will explore a variety of social studies topics which will enhance their reading, writing, and communication skills. Students will expand their creativity and literacy skills through art and writing projects that encourage group interaction and public speaking. Each assignment encourages students to engage with the material and the experience rather than focus on the outcome.
English 7 & 8
Students develop critical reading and writing skills in a literature-based curriculum in English 7 & 8. Seventh grade English is about story and genre exploration. Through reading, writing, and speaking, students encounter beauty, tragedy, delight, and wonder. Students participate in book clubs, writing workshop, oral presentations, debate, Socratic seminars, poetry reading, and discussion groups. Eighth grade English expands in complexity and bridges writers, readers, and critical thinkers to a ninth grade college preparatory environment. Eighth grade students recognize and evaluate the effectiveness of literary elements and connect with the record of human experience through fiction and nonfiction texts. Students create meaning in their own writing through stylistic choices that demonstrate understanding of voice, purpose, and audience. They also develop sound argument skills in writing and speaking. Through practice, students are invited to shine in the creative and complex areas of language.
World language study in the Middle School focuses on Spanish and French in cultural context.
The goal of Spanish/French Introductory Class is to expose students to the target languages through the use of the communicative approach of TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling). This is accomplished by reading in target language, storytelling/acting, and written literacy. Students will learn 100 to 200 high frequency words, be able to communicate conversationally and write in the target language.
The other component to the class is to expose students to the cultural aspect of the countries that speak the target language by introducing media, engaging cultural discussions and having the students partake in our Spanish/French Festival in the beginning of the year.
The curricula targets a range of language proficiency that will prepare them for High school and beyond.