At this stage of development the student’s world is delineated in absolutes (more inclusive thinking will develop in the future). The 6th grade curriculum focuses on strong guidelines and clear differentiation concepts as well as a morality of right and wrong. Thus students study Roman law, they engage in black and white drawing (for the first time color is restricted), they undertake specific gym exercises that involve overcoming obstacles, and classroom teaching relies heavily on the method of “compare and contrast.”
In 6th grade the disciplines of Physics and Geology & Mineralogy are first introduced into the curriculum. The students study physics through the phenomenological observation of acoustics. After beginning with music and sound their inquiry expands into further study of heat, cold, light, and electricity. The students experience mineralogy and geology in situ in field trips to caves and mineral beds to see how limestone, minerals, metals, and rocks are formed in the earth’s layers. Astronomy is also examined and students investigate the historical approach to studying the stars from a geocentric perspective, as astronomers positioned between earth and sky.
In Mathematics, where previously formal shapes have been drawn freehand in earlier grades, the 6th grader learns exact geometric construction with compass and straightedges as well as the mathematical properties of these shapes. The students learn, and apply, Business math for practical applications. The concepts and computations to calculate perimeter and area and other spatial math are also introduced.
In Language Arts, the students continue to hone their research and writing skills in subject-based papers that research and profile a foreign country. They build academic skills by consulting multiple resources, organizing notes and synthesizing interpretations from their research to present a comprehensive profile of their chosen subject. They practice rhetoric and discourse in formal verbal presentations of their subject matter.