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Eugene Waldorf School

Curriculum, Seventh Grade

As children of this age are charged with emotional vitality, questioning everything and seeking to overthrow authority, seventh grade history is an intensive study of the Renaissance, bringing all previous cultural achievements to a glorious flowering and ushering in a new age of wide scientific inquiry and exploration. Alive with drama and colorful figures, these are times when history is at its most story-like. The Arthurian legends and voyages of discovery round out this period, providing historical novels, biographies, ballads, and tales of adventure in literature. Composition, grammar and spelling continue.

Mechanics begins in physics with the lever principle as found in the human arm. From their experimentation the children learn the basic mechanical concepts and their application in the machinery of ancient and modern times. Inorganic chemistry is introduced as a study of the combustion process. From the beautiful legend of the bringing of fire to earth by Prometheus to a study of combustion in the human organism in the digestive processes, fire can be observed externally in the breaking down of substances by oxidation. Physiology is introduced as the study of life processes in the human; blood circulation, respiration, and nutrition in connection with health and hygiene. Astronomy in the seventh grade is extended to give a picture of world space. From their own place on the earth the children observe the solar, lunar, planetary, and stellar phenomena which lead them to a picture of world spatial relationships.

World Geography, which now runs parallel to history, takes up the theme of adventurous exploration and covers the whole globe. The children's knowledge of astronomy is called upon to further their understanding of climate, tides, and other influences on cultural and economic life of the peoples of the earth.

Mathematics introduces negative numbers for the first time, venturing into mathematical thinking that has no relation to physical perceptions, making real demands on the child's imaginative powers. Square and cube, root and ratio are introduced. Algebra and business arithmetic study continue. Geometrical, perspective, and black and white drawing are continued in more complex form.

A capella singing, motets, madrigals, ballads, and Renaissance music are introduced. Recorder continues. Eurythmy explores poems with contrast, wonder, surprise; ballads with quick dramatic movement, drama and tragedy. In handwork the children sew handpuppets, slippers, and embroider. Woodworking and modeling in clay continue.

(The above description is paraphrased from Teaching as a Lively Art, by Marjorie Spock.)

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