The Hartsbrook School

Sixth Grade

6girlWebDevelopmental Picture of the Sixth Grade Student

The sixth grader could be likened to Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon and so provoking war against Pompey and the Senate. Sixth grade is the beginning of the roiling passage into puberty, a time when the body becomes weightier with the developing armor of the skeletal system, and a stronger and more fluctuating experience of the emotions comes to the fore. Glimmers of emerging power of thought begin to shine and science moves from the life sciences to the physical sciences.

Highlights of the Curriculum

In language arts, students copy, retell, outline, and summarize stories and subjects studied in Main Lesson. They write about their field trips, paying special attention to rendering facts and experiences accurately. They review the parts of speech and the components of a sentence. There is daily practice reciting poetry and working with speech exercises. Students recite in chorus and individually. There is an introduction to library skills, as well as an independent research project.

In math, the sixth grader studies business math. He or she learns to do financial calculations using percentages to figure out taxes, commissions, and discounts. In geometry, students work with a compass and a straightedge ruler: they master properties and nomenclature of circles, straight lines, triangles, and polygons.

The Main Lesson curriculum mirrors the sixth grader’s epic journey. The character of Julius Caesar and other Roman leaders comes alive in the study of early and Medieval Roman history. The sixth grader learns about the legends of Romulus and Remus, about the battle between the patricians and the plebeians, about the rise of the Republic and the rule of law. The three-block history lesson concludes with the fall of Rome, the rise of the Christian church, the birth of Buddha and Mohammed, and the emergence of feudalism.

The study of Geography may include Europe, as well as Central and South America. There are oral and written reports on the climate, terrain, and natural history of countries like Cuba, Costa Rica, Argentina, and Venezuela, and how such geographical conditions shape the political, social, and economic life of each respective country.

The sciences include geology and physics. In geology, the sixth grader studies the skeleton of the earth and the forces that shape it. He or she learns about tectonic plates, mountain-building and erosion, as well as the differences between igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks. There are field trips to Cape Cod, Ward-Gregory Cave, Mt. Tom, Mt. Monadnock, and the Pratt Museum.

The study of physics begins with an introduction to the properties of sound, light, heat, and magnetism. There are experiments with silence and the sources of sound; with darkness and observations with prisms; with colored afterimages and colored shadows. There are everyday applications with heat; with thermal expansion and contraction; with solidification and melting.

Subjects Studied

Language Arts Students continue to develop writing and reading skills as well as to build up vocabulary and spelling words.
Mathematics Introduction of business math and continued use of all four processes using fractions and whole numbers.
World Languages Oral and written work culminating in Spanish and German
Movement Strengthening and agility exercises as well as introduction to traditional sports. Sports expand to junior varsity soccer, basketball and ultimate Frisbee teams.
Eurythmy More complicated and expressive forms continue to be developed.
Handwork Students create a three dimensional object – a stuffed animal – from a pattern they create. Felting may also be introduced.
Music Continued band, orchestra and chorus. Class teachers continue daily practice singing in unison and in parts. The study of flute and recorder continues with regular playing of one, two, and three-part arrangements on recorders.
Art The sixth grader’s artistic work includes guided drawings in colored pencil of scenes from Main Lesson content. Woodwork is introduced at this age as the students growing strength allows them to create practical and beautiful objects in wood.