Blog: What's special about our middle school?

Below are selected entries from Middle School Insight - our weekly blogs used for communication with our parents.


Feudal Warfare and Time Travel (Social Sciences)

We kicked off this school year in Social Sciences with both feudal warfare and time travel! What's not to love? Both Ancient Civilizations (6th grade) and Empires and Nations (7th and 8th gradee) hit the ground running and are already completing weekly homework assignments, taking geography quizzes, participating in group projects, and believe it or not, nearing the end of our first unit! Most importantly, students are engaging in thoughtful, critical analysis of the world around them.

Sixth Grade Ancient Civilizations

Sixth graders are currently exploring the essential theme of the unit: perspective. How does the way we each view the world differently affect the way we live in it? How does perspective affect the story historians tell about our past? And how does perspective play a role in the current acquisition of knowledge and information? These are a few of the questions we will explore this unit.

Right now, students are discovering how historians and scientists learn about the human past before the time of writing. How did our earliest human ancestors survive on the savannas of Africa? Students may have taken a secret trip through time and space to discover what life was like in the year 3018. What might archaeologists find if they were to excavate Champaign?

Our newest middle school students are also learning a host of new routines and skills in Social Sciences. One of the first skills students learned in this class included note-taking in order to help them digest their homework readings. These important skills will help them pick out important information from the text and paraphrase information in their own words. Students will continue to refine these skills throughout the year. Please see your child's Google Classroom for Social Sciences to see an example of our note-taking framework.


Students in Core III Ancient Civilizations wave hello from their newly assigned seats.

Seventh/Eighth Grade Empires and Nations

Our middle school veterans are right back into the swing of things without skipping a beat. Our first essential theme for the year has to do with power. How was power consolidated in feudal Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire? Who held power? How was power obtained and transferred? And how did the church and the crown share power over the masses during the early middle ages? Our students are more than up to the task of answering these important questions.

Recently, students in small groups created their own feudal manors to showcase the major components of European feudal life. Why was the church at the center of many of these manors? How did the crop rotation system work and why was it important? What was life like for a peasant? Ask your children! They will be more than happy to tell you!

Just like in feudal Europe, our classroom manors eventually engaged in all out warfare in our Clashroom Manors Battle Royale! All credit to the amazing renaming of the activity goes to Gavin. Cores I and II battled while avoiding the plague and hoping for noble powers granted in the Magna Carta to become Battle Royale champs!

20180914_123545(0).jpgEmpires and Nations students in Cores I and II battled their way through their lunch to determine the supreme lords and ladies of the land.

Thanks for stopping by and keep on the lookout for updates from the world of Social Sciences!

By Rich Morton, Social Sciences

Posted by Kristin Feddersen in the arts on Monday September, 17, 2018

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Countryside School
4301 W. Kirby Ave. Champaign, IL 61822
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