The day before students and families dispersed for winter break, DCD middle school students showcased the hands-on projects completed during the three-week science Mini-term unit. Every year between Thanksgiving and winter break, students in the middle school embark on DCD’s Mini-term curriculum, which is designed to allow students to dive more deeply into specific subjects in science and humanities than is possible during the regular term. For this three-week period, the daily schedule changes to allow for longer class periods where more focused discussions, research, and project work can take place.
During the annual Science Fair that concludes the Mini-term, DCD’s science labs were abuzz with activity as 6th, 7th, and 8th graders shared their work with younger students, teachers, and parents. Balls were rolling and levers were cranking as eighth graders activated their complex machines. Seventh graders displayed all they had learned in their study of solar power and sustainable living with small-scale models of passive solar homes designed and constructed while working together in small teams. Sixth graders designed scientific experiments and were on hand to discuss the various questions they had posed, researched, and tested along with their findings.
DCD’s history and English faculty collaborated in teaching a combined and impactful curriculum in the humanities for each middle school grade. “I am Malala” by Malala Yousafzae served as the centerpiece for the 6th grade theme of activism. Seventh graders were introduced to the Civil Rights Movement. Leveraging what they had learned the previous year, 8th graders narrowed their focus even more to concentrate further on the Civil Rights Movement with a study of the Little Rock Nine and the desegregation of Central High School, incorporating music and poetry in understanding the period.