The attributes and qualities of minerals, metals, gems and crystals are compared and explored. The characteristics and formation of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks are studied in relation to geography and terrestrial life. The many uses of minerals for humanity are explored. The geometrical aspects of minerals are observed. The presence of minerals within living organisms is explored.
Students study the grain of tree growth patterns and the nature of wood. Shave Horses and other practical tools are constructed out of green wood. Draw-knife, gouges and other tools are used to shape a spatula or a spoon. Gouges, rasps, knives, scrapers and sandpaper are used to finish the project. Discussions focus on learning to gage thickness, smoothness, shape, and texture, as well as the efficient and safe use of tools.
Grammar and Composition We review much of the English grammar and punctuation studied in previous years. Students will develop a strong sense for style through the use of conditional sentences and the subjunctive mood. There will be an increased focus on composition and dictation in relation to our study of history, and an increased focus on precise description and sequence in relation to our study of the sciences. Reading and Writing To encourage a lifelong love of reading, daily opportunities for quality silent reading will be maintained throughout the year.
Drawing with colored pencils continues using themes from our main lessons. Value is explored using black, white and grey, and shadow. In painting, much work is done with light and dark in connection to the study of optics. Various color systems, primary, tertiary, complementary, and contrasting colors are explored. Dominant themes include value and contrasts, weather and geology, landscapes and seascapes, moods and tones.
Sixth grade students are ready to confront more complex questions of right and wrong. As they enter the turbulent teen years—in which childhood assumptions are challenged and earlier certainties abandoned—they rightfully demand to be included into humanity’s ongoing search for truth and meaning. Our study of ethics will be embedded into a broader study of history. Throughout history, a series of recurring conclusions on equality and reciprocity have emerged to become a bedrock of ethical thinking.
In our new classroom surrounded by the school’s organic garden, we are in a prime location to study permaculture techniques, double digging, composting, garden design, tending and weeding, water conservation, native habitat restoration, cobb construction… and we will.
In sixth grade, students create a stuffed animal (designed and sewn by hand). This project challenges them to make imagine and make the shape of a three-dimensional animal out of cloth. This develops new abilities, from drawing to imagination of how a three dimensional creation can be formed from cloth. They work–perhaps for the first time–from the parts to the whole. This requires careful planning and attention to detail.
This year we transition from ancient stories to modern history. Students are now ready to view history as a complex sequence of cause-and-effect relationships. Our study begins with the founding of a little village that grew to become the seat of the Roman Empire. We will explore the roots of Roman civilization, reasons for Rome’s rise to power, the causes of imperial decline, and the impact Roman civilization still has on our world today.
A wide-ranging study of economics from the dawn of civilization to present times. We will study the impacts that macro-economic trends have on individuals and society. We explore the links between economic systems and the ecological systems upon which they depend. We will explore how small individual choices can in aggregate result in either the flourishing or destruction of civilizations. We will learn personal money management skills, and explore typical practices for wealth accumulation (and loss) as practiced by various social classes.
A geocentric and phenomenological approach to naked eye astronomy is emphasized. Constellations are observed, and stories about them from various cultures are told. The ability to place oneself anywhere on our planet and know how the night sky would appear is taught along with the phases of the moon, eclipses, the apparent movement of the stars, and the progression of the seasons. On overnight field trips we observe how the stars and moon move across the sky.
Acoustics, optics, static electricity and magnetism are studied through demonstrations and experiments. Powers of observation are developed, while jumping to premature conclusions is discouraged. Students create lab notebooks that reflect the phenomena studied and include careful descriptions of the processes observed, the equipment used, and their own honest and detailed observations. Following thoughtful class discussions, scientifically-valid conclusions are noted.
This year we transition from ancient stories to modern history. Students are now ready to view history as a complex sequence of cause-and-effect relationships. Our historical studies begin with Rome. In this block, we explore how the Middle Ages evolved out of the fall of Rome, what life was like in the Middle Ages, and how the Middle Ages planted the seeds for the modern world. Aspects of the times will be brought to life through studies of what is known about the personalities of the times.
In this block, our awareness of “home” is extended to include all of North, Central and South America, as well as the nearby islands. The plants animals, and cultures of each region are studied. Mapmaking is done with greater precision and artistry. Each student creates a research paper on a bioregion of their choice.