The world of exploration characterizes the work of the seventh-grade student. Finding themselves navigating between the inner, introspective world of their feelings and the active, outer world demanding their engagement, students demonstrate a growing need for independence and solitude. At the same time, they deeply desire social connections, and this year is marked by many physical, emotional and cognitive changes that often manifest in turbulent emotions and behaviors.
This time of bursting growth with the student is reflected in the curriculum, which presents studies on the Renaissance, the Age of Exploration, and the Reformation, studies that inspire students’ engagement with the world. Students study the innovative thinkers of these eras, whose thirst for knowledge was coupled with a fearless need to question and defy authority.
With exploration and discovery key themes of the year, the teacher guides the students in studies and projects that enable them to take a thoughtful and active role in the outer world.
In our science classroom, students observe the phenomenon and, having taken in images, they write, draw and chart their observations of the event. This observation of the phenomenon and the individual thought required to successfully record observations leads the student to the discovery of general relationships and the beginning of deductive reasoning. Individual thought is then expanded in class discussion, as each student is given the opportunity to express a perception and hear perceptions of others.
Tucson Waldorf School provides the ideal education for a career in the sciences because it teaches careful observation of nature and independent thinking. — David Crown, Senior Scientist/Asst. Director, Planetary Science Institute (parent at Tucson Waldorf School)
Main Learning Objectives
Students write personal and expository essays on course topics, as well as continue to produce research papers. The study of fiction continues, with emphasis on the novel, and a creative writing block explores other forms of fictional expression, developing possibilities of self-expression with the written word. The class produces a Shakespearian Play.
Continuing practice with arithmetic computation, students enter the world of algebra as they work increasingly to express order in mathematical equations and to discover an unknown number through computation. Simple logic structures are applied to more complex problem solving and abstract thinking. In geometry, students study planar forms, including figure constructions, angle theorems and proofs, the golden ratio, further exploration of the Pythagorean Theorem, and perspective drawing.
In the grade seven physics block, students study mechanical force and simple machines. In the chemistry block, the study focuses on the exploration of the chemical process of combustion. Experiments are conducted on the lime cycle, salts, acids, and bases.
Moving from the earth in the study of geology, chemistry, and physics, to the universe in the study of the stars, study returns to the human being in the seventh-grade block on human physiology. The teacher artistically presents the study of essential human systems, including respiration, digestion, circulation, and reproduction. As students learn to appreciate the wonderful functioning of these systems, they begin to appreciate the human being within the context of earth and universe. This study helps students begin to develop a balanced and co-existent point of view from within their own individuality.
Students study the biographies of important individuals during the Renaissance, the Age of Exploration, and the Scientific Revolution whose changing views of the world profoundly influenced global thinking.
Geography, noting environment, climate and social structure of indigenous peoples in Africa and South America, is integrated into the history of the Age of Exploration.
Students meet the style of the Renaissance masters in grade seven, studying how light and dark affect the laws of graphic and spatial representation. There is a main lesson block devoted to the study of perspective drawing; painting, drawing, and modeling continues to enrich the lessons.
Classes in Spanish continue, studying grammar, conversation, and culture.
Handwork classes continue with hand sewing, the creation of a doll in human form the focus of the year’s projects. Woodworking classes continue work with hand tools to create objects that are both beautiful and practical. In gardening, students work with a growing appreciation of nutrition and the value of plants on the biodynamic farm, River Road Gardens, on the River Bend campus.
Singing in grade seven includes madrigals, ballads and an introduction to Renaissance music, and students are combined in ensembles with voice and instrument working together to explore harmony.
Team sports and track and field events are the framework for the ongoing work in physical education classes to develop individual skills and capacities and to coordinate with others. A class day trip to a high ropes course strengthens individual and group capacities and partner dancing brings the study off the playing field and is an important block in grade seven.