Middle School | Grades 6–8

The student who graduates from Ave Maria Academy knows that his formation has only begun. He should be well-equipped for high school and even college: intellectually, by possessing a rich store of knowledge in the western tradition, a love for the truth, and a set of skills and habits necessary to tackle higher learning; humanly, by possessing a character that is well-grounded in human virtue, and being master of himself in his actions and choices; spiritually, by continually maturing in the life of grace and possessing a friendship with Christ that impels him to live in Christian authenticity; and apostolically, by his disposition of service towards others in their totality as human persons – body and soul.

6th - 8th Grade Curriculum

List of 5 items.

  • History/World Geography

    6th Grade: American History I. We begin American History with the history and geography of the North American continent, exploring its physical and cultural diversity before the presence of Europeans. Students analyze the changes that came about once Europeans arrived, not only from a practical standpoint but from a moral one as well. We look at how the English eventually dominated the coastal colonies and how the colonial people broke from their mother country in order to gain freedom and independence. Students will learn about how our new nation fashioned its first form of government and they will come away with a basic understanding of our present governmental structure. The year culminates with analysis and discussion of the issues that fueled civil war.

    7th Grade: American History II. We begin the second half of American History with the Civil War, looking primarily at the particulars of warfare, the importance of quality leaders, and the difficult moral scenarios that necessarily come about. The Reconstruction period looks at both practical and cultural implications of a severely divided nation as well as the steps that American leaders took to unite the people. The Industrial Revolution is a huge intertwining theme, particularly at the turn of the century, as labor movements gained prominence and affected quite a bit of change. Once we hit the 20th century, new themes of expansionism and international presence take on more importance. We look at particulars surrounding the world wars as well as the culture of the 1920’s and how it impacted future events. The Great Depression is highlighted along with the various leaders that brought our nation through that time. The goal of this course is to get through the Cold War, touching more on international relations towards the end of the year and reaching an understanding of where our country stands today.

    8th Grade: World Geography. This course begins with a basic understanding of how the earth functions and the impact of humans on the environment. With the proper foundation and vocabulary, the students then explore the world! We discuss physical geography, human geography, and the whole complicated interaction of the two.
  • Language Arts

    Literature Curriculum Overview
    Our reading curriculum is a combination of textbook and novels, blending classic and contemporary works of fiction in a variety of genres. The emphasis is on comprehension, oral reading skill and improved reading strategies such as summarizing, predicting events, and supporting thoughts with evidence from the text. In addition, students will learn to analyze and evaluate literary elements including mood, tone, theme, point of view, conflict, plot, figurative language, characterization and symbolism. This year, students will be reading textbook selections that include short stories, poetry, non fiction, myths, fables and folk tales. The literature text is supplemented by a separate vocabulary program designed to increase word knowledge and recognition as well as pronunciation, usage in context, synonyms, antonyms, word families, and analogies.

    Writing and Grammar Curriculum Overview
    Students will receive a combination of writing and grammar. The writing program we use (Teaching Writing –Structure and Style) teaches students both structure and style for narratives, research reports, creative writing, and formal essays. Students will also have an opportunity to write poetry, and dialogues using techniques such as alliteration, onomatopoeia, figurative language and graphic elements, with a focus on public speaking skills. Students also write a variety of responses to literature including thesis papers and character analyses. In addition to writing, the students will have weekly grammar instruction focusing on the parts of speech and rules for capitalization and punctuation, as well as identification/uses of clauses, phrases and modifiers. Seventh graders will receive an entire unit on advertisement and media, as well.
  • Mathematics

    Ave Maria Academy has adopted Saxon Math to meet its curriculum standards. Saxon has delivered proven results for over 30 years, and our students are no doubt a part of that success. Saxon has an incremental structure that distributes content throughout the year, with homework problems set up in a way that provides continual practice of previous concepts, eventually leading to solid mastery.  
    6th Grade Level Math: Saxon Math 7/6 students gain a solid foundation of algebraic reasoning and geometric skills as they prepare to move on to higher-level math. This text introduces functions and coordinate graphing, integers, exponential expressions, and prime factorization. Students will specifically learn about the order of operations, number lines, decimal place value, how to find the percent of a number, how to round decimal numbers, attributes of geometric solids, and more.
    7th Grade Level Math: Saxon Math 8/7 introduces new concepts students will need for upper-level algebra and geometry. Topics include fractions, decimals, percents, geometry, area, volume, ratio, proportion, exponents, scientific notation, signed numbers, algebraic terms, two-step equations and inequalities, slope, graphing, and the Pythagorean Theorem.
    8th Grade Level Math: Saxon Algebra 1 students will develop the understanding they need to resolve more complex problems and functions with step-by-step instruction. One hundred and twenty lessons cover signed numbers, exponents, roots, absolute value, equations and inequalities, scientific notations, unit conversions, polynomials, graphs, factoring, quadratic equations, direct and inverse variations, exponential growth, statistics, and probability.
    Advanced 8th Grade Level Math: Saxon Algebra 2 has 129 lessons that include traditional second-year algebra topics, as well as a full semester of informal geometry with both real-world, abstract and interdisciplinary applications. Topics covered include geometric functions, angles, perimeters, and proportional segments; negative exponents; quadratic equations; metric conversions; logarithms; and advanced factoring.
  • Religion

    6th grade religion: The year is spent focusing on Catholic morality and the Mass. Students learn the foundations of virtue ethics found in the words of Jesus Christ and in the letter St. Paul, as well as its fulfillment in the declaration of the Beatitudes. The symbolism, mystery, and glory of the Mass is also explored and explained in detail. The timing of which is appropriate given that the 6th graders will begin to take an active role during weekly Mass as servers and lectors.

    7th grade religion: The year is spent focusing on salvation history and the life of grace which we are invited to participate in by way of the sacraments. Students learn how God has been leading His people since the beginning of time by walking through the Bible in all its richness. Students come to an understanding that it is not man who is searching for God but God who is searching for man, dying, quite literally, to be one with us and pour his life-giving grace onto us. Much time is then given to how this grace operates and the significance and beauty of the sacraments that Christ instituted.

    8th grade religion: The first half of the year is spent focusing on the Church, while the second half of the year acts as a capstone and a culmination of everything learned previously. The Church’s foundation, external structure, internal nature, and purpose are expounded upon so that its essential role in the life of every Catholic is illuminated and understood clearly. The students grasp the beauty, depth, and coherence of the Catholic faith by looking at the whole of the parts they have been studying previously.
  • Science

    6th grade Earth Science – The students will study: Metric, Scientific Method, Science Fair Experiment, Minerals, Rocks, Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Plate Tectonics, Fossils, Geologic Time, Meteorology, Oceanography, Erosion, Water Treatment, Rockets, & Astronomy

    7 grade Life Science – The students will study:  Metric, Scientific Method, Science Fair, Kingdoms, Cells, Bacteria, Protists, Fungi, Plants, Worm Dissection, Animals, Heredity, Ecology, Fish Dissection, Human Systems: Skeletal, Muscular, Digestive, & Immune Systems

    8 grade Physical Science – The students will study:  Metric, Scientific Method, Science Fair, Atoms, Elements, Matter, Periodic Table, Sub-atomic Particles, Chemical Reactions, Organic Chemistry, Energy, Nuclear Reactions, Forces of Motion, Simple Machines, Valleyfair, Light & Sound Waves


List of 4 items.

  • Art

    Visual Skills and Techniques - comprehending and exploring visual media, techniques, and processes.

    Visual Forms, Functions and Process - understanding and applying the elements of art and the principles of design applying to personal works of art.

    Visual Awareness and Appreciation - recognizing, describing, and analyzing characteristics of beauty found in natural creation and in man-made art.

    Visual Sources of Inspiration - Students will choose and explore a breadth of themes, symbols and ideas.

    Interpretation of Visual Art - Students will interpret and evaluate their own works of art and the artwork of others in terms of the design process.

    Response of Visual Art - Students will understand the relationship between the visual arts and other disciplines.

    Historical and Cultural Context of Visual Art - Students will understand visual art as it relates to history, culture, and the Catholic Church
  • Music & Choir

    VOCAL SKILLS AND TECHNIQUES - Students will participate in singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
    MUSIC AWARENESS AND APPRECIATION - Students will perform on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
    IMPROVISING MUSICAL PHRASES AND PATTERNS - Students will understand improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments.
    MUSICAL SOUND SOURCES - Students will have an understanding of composing and arranging music within specified guidelines.
    READING MUSIC - Students will be able to read and notate music.

    MUSICAL FORMS - Students will listen to, analyze, and describe music.
    EVALUATION AND INTERPRETATION OF MUSIC - Students will evaluate music and music performances.
    RESPONSE TO VISUAL AND PERFORMING ARTS - Students will understand relationships among music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts.
    HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL CONTEXT OF MUSIC - Students will understand music in relation to history, culture, and the Catholic Church.
  • Physical Education

    The students will be introduced to several different sports throughout the year.  The students will know and understand physical activity concepts that enable them to make informed decisions to monitor and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.
    They will apply movement concepts and principles to the learning and development of motor skills and demonstrate competency in many movement forms to participate confidently in physical activity.  Students will interact positively with respect for others to develop team building skills in physically active settings and understand that physical activity provides opportunities for enjoyment, challenge, self-expression, and social interaction.
  • Spanish / Latin

    In 6th grade Spanish the students build upon what was covered in 5th grade. The vocabulary covered includes food for breakfast and lunch, health and food, places to go when one is not in school, activities outside of school, families and parties, and family members and restaurant vocabulary. The grammar covered in 6th grade includes but is not limited to further learning of ser and estar, how to ask questions, and irregular present tense verbs.

    In 7th grade the students start to spend more time on grammar. They learn how to make comparisons, as well as practice with more difficult stem changing verbs. The 7th graders also learn commands, the affirmative tu command, as well as the present progressive tense. While the focus is more on grammar they do learn vocabulary about the bedroom, electronics, the home, chores, commands, as well as shopping and preferences.

    7th grade Latin: Students are introduced to the language of the Church and the mother tongue of all of Western civilization the second semester of their 7th grade year. During this introductory course, students are taught the foundations of Latin grammar and sentence structure. They also come to understand the Mass parts in Latin and are able to recite the Creed and the Our Father in Latin.

    8th grade Latin: During the first semester of their 8th grade year, students build upon their base of Latin learned the year prior. The students’ ability to express themselves in the Latin language is expanded upon as they learn more complex sentence structures and have a larger Latin vocabulary. They also come to understand select parts of the Vulgate in Latin.

    In 8th grade Spanish the students have a strong enough base to spend the majority of the time learning new grammar topics. The vocabulary that the 8th graders cover deals with learning about shopping, travel, and volunteer work. They broaden their horizons and learn not only how to say things in the present tense but the past tense. They finish the year learning about direct and indirect object pronouns.

Grades 6–8 Faculty

List of 10 members.

  • Photo of Madelyn Ghesquiere

    Madelyn Ghesquiere 

    6th-8th Religion, AMA+ Coordinator
  • Photo of Katie Thomas

    Mrs. Katie Thomas 

    6th Grade Homeroom; 6th–8th History; Computer; Gym
  • Photo of Scott Kielty

    Scott Kielty 

    7th Grade Homeroom; 6th–8th Science; Gym
  • Photo of Victoria Franzese

    Victoria Franzese 

    8th Grade Homeroom; 6th–8th Language Arts
  • Photo of Abigail Niemann

    Abigail Niemann 

    Latin Teacher
  • Photo of Katie Danielson

    Katie Danielson 

    Assistant Principal
  • Photo of Benjamin Vasko

    Benjamin Vasko 

    Assistant Principal; Geometry; 6th–8th Latin
  • Photo of Laura Mueller

    Laura Mueller 

    Pre-K–8th Grade Spanish
  • Photo of Elizabeth Kira

    Elizabeth Kira 

    5th–8th Grade Music
  • Photo of Kevin Gearns

    Kevin Gearns 

    K–8th Grade Art