Seventh graders are able to focus more on growing the skills they began to develop in the 6th grade without the added stress to adjusting to the new middle school environment. By 7th grade it is expected that students have acclimated to life as a middle school student and are therefore expected to work more independently and organize their time and schedules with less (but still some) guidance. In general, in 7th grade, students build on the skills they learned in 6th grade by writing and reading more complex and longer texts and essays, using more sophisticated language and strategies in their writing, studying more complex topics across all subjects, and solving and studying more complex mathematical and scientific concepts. In addition they are pushed to deepen their analytic skills in both ELA and Social Studies as described below. This work will prepare them for 8th grade where they will cement and further their skills, ultimately setting them up for success in high school.
Read on for what to expect this year, or jump straight to your 7th grade shopping list.
7th Grade Reading
In 7th grade, students deepen their ability to analyze the texts they read and provide evidence from the text to do so. Specifically, 7th graders learn to examine texts more closely and use details from the text in order to develop ideas, analyze, and make inferences. In addition, they analyze the relationships between elements within one text and across multiple texts while supporting this analysis by citing evidence from the text.
In order to build reading skills your 7th grader:
- Analyzes texts using the text as evidence to support the analysis.
- Makes inferences about texts and uses evidence from the text to support the inferences.
- Understands the message or ideas in a text and uses evidence to support these claims.
- Understands, tracks the progress of, and summarizes the main idea of a text, using evidence from the text.
- Analyzes and explains the relationship between different elements such as character and setting.
- Analyzes the impact of specific language and word choice used in a text.
- Understands how the different structures used in a text, such as poetry or drama, affect the text.
- Compares and contrasts the different perspectives and points of views in a text.
- Determines the author’s point of view in a text using evidence from the text.
- Compares different versions such as a stage version, film, or audio version of a text, paying specific attention to the way in which elements such as lighting, scenery, or audio sounds affect the message of the text.
- Compares a historical account of an event, person, or place with a historical fiction text about the same period.
- Read a variety of texts, including stories, poetry, drama, non-fiction, or informative texts.
- Compares multiple texts written by different authors about the same topic and determines how their different perspectives are presented through their presentation of facts and the inferences they make.
7th Grade Writing
Similar to the work they do in reading, 7th graders deepen their writing skills by using analysis, paying close attention to detail and providing reasons, proofs, and examples for the ideas they express. 7th graders write a variety of genres, including informative pieces, opinion pieces, and narratives and they complete both short-term and long-term writing assignments. There is also particular attention paid to research and teaching students to do their own independent research and research projects as described below, specifically through the use of digital resources.
In order to build writing skills, your 7th grader:
- Writes arguments that present clear reasons and relevant evidence and include:
- Acknowledgements of opposing claims;
- Logical and orderly presentations of reasons and evidence;
- The use of appropriate transitions, words, and phrases to connect claims;
- A concluding sentence or paragraph which supports the argument made; and
- A formal tone and style.
- Writes structured and well organized opinion, research, and informative pieces that:
- Use supporting claims and evidence that are based on credible texts and resources;
- Include an introduction that has an explanation of what follows;
- Develop topics through the use of facts, detailed quotations, and examples and subject specific terms and definitions;
- Include transitions that connect concepts and paragraphs;
- Include a conclusion that supports the presented idea(s);
- Maintain a formal “essay type” style; and
- Integrate other forms of media and formats, such as graphs, charts, headings, and audio or video when appropriate.
- Writes well-structured narratives (both true and fiction) that include:
- A narrator, characters, and a point of view;
- Descriptive detail and sensory language to describe characters, settings, and experiences;
- Dialogue details and descriptions of characters, setting, and experiences;
- A clear structure with a logical order and flow, as shown through the use of transition words; and
- A conclusion that is connected to and builds on the narrative.
- Plans, revises, and edits writing, specifically with guidance from teachers and peers, focusing specifically on trying new approaches and making sure the writing has a purpose and appeals to its audience.
- Uses technology and the Internet to produce and publish writing.
- Works with others and cites sources.
- Works on multiple, short research projects that answer a specific question and cite multiple sources, while gathering additional questions for later research.
- Uses both print and digital resources to conduct research, focusing on using appropriate search terms and reliable sources.
- Uses quotes and a standard format for citation.
- Uses research to analyze and make inferences.
7th Grade Math
In 7th grade, students focus on proportions and proportional relationships; solving linear equations (equations with variables that plot a straight line on a graph) and equations with rational numbers (integers and fractions); finding the area, surface area, and volume of 2- and 3-dimensional shapes; and analyzing data to make inferences. Students also solve more complex, multi-step equations as well as apply them to real-life applications and solve equations that use rational numbers and which include negative numbers.
In order to build math skills, your 7th grader:
- Solves equations using percentages that pertain to real-life examples, such as discounts, taxes, interest, and tips.
- Graphs different proportions in order to compare them and analyze the steepness of the line that is graphed (which is referred to as the “slope”).
- Uses equations to show the relationship between proportions.
- Understands equations related to the distance between positive and negative numbers and negative and negative numbers.
- Understands that a positive and negative number can equal 0. For example, 2 + -2 = 0.
- Adds, subtracts, multiplies, and divides negative numbers.
- Analyzes scale drawings (drawings that represent real-life objects, such as cars or buildings and their measurements) in order to solve equations about them.
- Understands that an increase by 5 percent is the same thing as multiplying that number by 0.05.
- Solves multi-step equations that include different forms of numbers, such as fractions, decimals, and percentages.
- Uses statistics specifically to understand and infer information about a group or sample as well as compare 2 different groups or samples.
- Graphs statistics and uses the graph to further analyze a group(s) or sample(s).
- Predicts the probability of something based on collected data.
6th-8th Grade Science
Neither the Common Core nor National Standards breaks down expectations for middle school by grade. Instead, both institutions specify standards for middle school as a whole. Below is a list of skills covered throughout middle school. Consult your child’s teacher for more specifics pertaining to the topics and skills covered in her science class.
In middle school, students continue to deepen their knowledge and skills in the physical, life, earth, and space sciences. There is a specific focus on explaining and understanding real-life events and processes in relation to the concepts and topics learned. 6th-8th graders also focus on applying scientific methods as described below in order to deepen their understanding and work like actual scientists.
In order to build science skills, your 6th-8th grader:
- Plans and conducts investigations and experiments.
- Applies the scientific method in order to practice like a scientist (there are many different ways people present "the scientific method," but here's a basic example):
- Questions, observes, and researches.
- Develops a hypothesis (based on observations and research).
- Make predictions.
- Experiments and follows multi-step processes and instructions in order to conduct experiments.
- Develops a conclusion.
- Compares the results of an experiment to what is written about the topic in a text.
- Analyzes and interprets data.
- Uses measurement and mathematical computations while working with data.
- Develops and presents explanations for processes and practices used and results obtained.
- Determines the main ideas of a scientific text and cites specific evidence to support ideas and claims about scientific texts.
- Learns topic-specific science vocabulary.
- Analyzes relevant charts, diagrams, and graphs about a scientific topic.
6th-8th Grade Social Studies
The Common Core does not address the specific topics to be covered in 6th grade; instead, it specifies the set skills to be covered in middle school. The grades in which these skills are covered and which topics are included vary according to different states’ standards. Consult your child’s school or state standards for further details on the specific material your child will study. The following skills have been set forth as essential for social studies and history in middle school.
In order to build social studies skills, your middle school student:
- Reads primary and secondary sources in order to:
- Analyze the texts using evidence.
- Understand the main ideas of the text.
- Relate the texts to important historical events or concepts.
- Distinguishes between fact and opinion in a text.
- Uses technology and media to better understand concepts taught.
- Compares primary and secondary sources about the same topic.
- Learns about historical events within a context and as related to things such as geography, economy, and social and political factors.
- Learns about topics like ancient and global civilizations to gain a deeper understanding of history and the present global community.
Curricular-Related Activities for Your Family
Listed below are activities you and your middle-schooler can do at home that will reinforce and further the learning done in school.
Shared Reading Experiences: Share and talk about the main ideas of articles with your child that are about material she learns in science, social studies (including current events), or topics she finds relevant or interesting. Share items in articles having to do with data collection and analysis as studied in math. You can even read the same book that your child is reading for English and form a family book club.
Write for Enjoyment: Encourage your child to keep a journal; try keeping one yourself. When you or your child finds a passion topic, write about it in a relevant way. For example, write letters to favorite authors, write letters to publications about articles or even try and submit an article to a local publication or website.
Share and Solve Math in Your Life: When you encounter math in your life, show your child how you solved the relevant math equation or have him assist you in solving it. This may occur in areas such as:
- Changing the measurements in recipes, especially when it involves adding, subtracting, or multiplying mixed fractions.
- Computations having to do with creating and working with a budget.
- Figuring out distances when traveling or sales prices when shopping.
- Data collection or analysis.
Use Technology to Enhance Your Child’s Learning: Since most middle-schoolers are technology fans (and experts), encourage your children to use technology to "show what they know" or further their learning. Of course, as with any use of technology, be sure to monitor your child’s technology use, access, and communication with others. Some ideas to get you started:
- Making short-video book reviews of books being read.
- Making quick videos (or using one of many various apps) for presenting short narrated lessons about topics being learned so that your child can teach you.
- Create photo collages or scrapbooks of work completed and or books read.
- Create a continuous conversation via email or another technological format in which your child sends you quick snippets (pictures and or texts) of something interesting she learned. Follow up with questions or comments on what your child sends.