Saint Mark's School utilizes the State of Minnesota Common Core Standards and Benchmarks.
Grades 1 through 5
- Everyday Mathematics curriculum, published by McGraw-Hill Education.
- Treasures curriculum, published by Macmillan/McGraw-Hill.
- We use the Believe curriculum, published by Sadlier in accordance with the standards set forth by the Archdiocese of Saint Paul & Minneapolis.
Foss curriculum, developed by Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California at Berkeley. Published by Delta Education.
Social Studies: Regionscurriculum developed by Macmillan/McGraw-Hill. Includes elements developed by National Geographic.
Computer: We use curriculum that has been developed within the school to teach basic computer and Internet navigation skills. We also use Type To Learn 4 to teach keyboarding skills in grades three through five.
Curriculum in each subject area is on a five-year review cycle.
Our middle school uses the Holt Mathematics curriculum. Sixth graders use ‘Course 2’ texts, seventh graders complete their pre-Algebra study with the ‘Course 3’ texts, and eighth graders receive a full year of Algebra.
All book content is fully accessible to students and parents directly from the Holt website. Along with book content, this website contains a wealth of other resources including online video tutorials, interactive games, study guides, and more.
The middle school mathematics curriculum at Saint Mark’s addresses the following areas over three years of study:
- Basic Principles of Algebra and Algebraic Reasoning: variables, simplifying expressions, adding/subtracting/multiplying/dividing real numbers, order of operations, integers/whole numbers/rational/irrational, absolute value, GCF, LCM, decimals, fractions, estimation
- Powers, Exponents, and Roots: properties of exponents, scientific notation, squares and square roots
- Ratios, Similarity, Proportions, Percents: ratios, rates, dilations, similar figures, dimensional analysis, solving proportions, percent increase/decrease, simple interest, customary and metric measurement, scale drawings and models
- Foundations of Geometry: points/lines/planes/angles, parallel/perpendicular lines, classifying polygons, congruence, transformations, symmetry, tessellations
- Perimeter, Area, and Volume: relating to rectangles/parallelograms/triangles/trapezoids/prisms/cylinders/cones/pyramids
- Data and Statistics: samples and surveys, measures of central tendency, variability, organizing and displaying data, misleading graphs and statistics
- Probability: experimental and theoretical, sample space, independent and dependent events, odds, counting principles, permutations and combinations
- Equations and Inequalities: solving one/two/multi-step equations/inequalities, solving equations/inequalities with variables on both sides
- Linear Functions: graphing, using intercepts, rate of change and slope, slope-intercept form, point-slope form, direct variation, slope formula, transforming linear functions
- Exponential and Radical Functions: square-root functions, adding/subtracting/multiplying/dividing radical expressions, solving radical equations
- Rational Functions and Equations: inverse variation, rational functions, simplifying/multiplying/dividing rational expressions, dividing polynomials, solving rational equations
- Polynomials: simplifying, adding/subtracting/multiplying/dividing, special products
- Factoring: by GCF, prime factorization, polynomials, special products
- Quadratic Functions and Equations: graphing, transforming, factoring, using square roots, completing the square, Quadratic Formula, discriminant
- Systems of Equations and Inequalities: solving systems by graphing/substitution/elimination, solving systems of linear inequalities
Sixth grade focuses on the study of Earth Science. Students study our planet starting at the interior of the earth and move outward towards its surface. Using Google Earth, students investigate the tectonic processes that create mountains, volcanoes, and earthquakes. Investigations involving Vernier sensors allow students to capture their own data in regards to temperatures and sunlight while studying weather. Projects include modeling subduction, creating a world-wide tour of volcanoes, and investigating landforms. Sixth graders also participate in a robotics unit, in which students learn about what these machines are, why they are so important, and how to design, construct and program them using Lego NXT Mindstorm kits.
Seventh graders study the physical sciences involving force, motion, electricity, light, and properties of gasses. Students also continue to learn about robotics, advancing their design, building, and programming skills.
Eighth grade focuses on life science. Students learn about cells, cell division, classification, organisms (specifically humans), environments, ecosystems, and their relationship with the atmosphere. More advanced robotics involves combining Vernier sensors with the NXT robots to simulate real-life situations that rely upon robots to perform.
Grades six, seven, and eight use the Holt Language Arts program entitled Language and Literature, and we house a class set of hardcover books for each grade. In addition to these, the program incorporates spelling, writing, and vocabulary lessons for the entire school year. The entire curriculum is available online so that students access the work with their laptops, leaving the heavy books in the classroom. The online component has an incredible assortment of extras, including digital storytelling tutorials, writing and grammar notes, an interactive vocabulary tutor, novel assistance, interactive graphic organizers and writing models, and tips on research writing in the digital age.
In addition to these resources, whole-class and individual novels are incorporated into the curriculum to enrich the program and provide learning opportunities across disciplines and subject areas. For example, students read a memoir about a survivor of the Holocaust before visiting the Holocaust Museum during their Washington, D.C. trip.
The language arts classes at Saint Mark’s offer a rigorous program that addresses the many needs of our students. There are reteaching, on target, and advanced assignments available for each lesson, enabling the teacher to tailor every concept to a student’s specific needs without calling attention to the various skill levels within our classroom. In this way, we are able to create a truly differentiated Language Arts classroom for all our middle school students.
Sixth grade religion classes use the We Believe: We are God’s People text, published by Sadlier. It is divided into four units spanning the Old and New Testaments. Topics include the following:
- Forming the Covenant
- Building the Covenant Nation
- Redefining the Covenant People
- The Covenant Fulfilled in Jesus
Middle School Religion
Sixth graders also team with first grade buddies for many religion and writing projects throughout the year.
In seventh grade, we begin the year with our New Testament text, published by Sadlier, a course on Jesus Christ and His Disciples, which covers Jesus’ life as a historical figure to whom Jesus is as the Messiah and what that means for the world. Our second text, Morality, also published by Sadlier, is a course on Catholic living. We discuss the relevance of Jesus’ teachings, such as what the beatitudes and commandments mean to us in the world today and how we live as God’s people in relationship to our society. We also use VISIONS magazine, a local weekly Catholic publication that includes Sunday’s gospel and modern stories that relate the gospel to our lives. It also introduces students to Catholic Social Teachings and helps them to understand the Church’s role in helping the underprivileged.
Seventh graders also pair up with preschool buddies for weekly Mass. In addition, seventh graders are the proud presenters of Saint Mark’s annual Nativity play and complete a number of service-learning projects throughout the year.
Eighth graders begin the year with Creed, a course on Catholic belief, which discusses the teachings of the Catholic faith, from the arguments for the existence of God to how we carry on Christ’s mission through the Church. We then move on to Liturgy and Worship, a course on prayer and the sacraments, in which we study the meanings of our liturgy, sacraments, and prayers. We end with a little bit from our book, Church History, in which we discuss the development of the Church after the time of Jesus. All eighth grade texts are published by Sadlier. We continue to use the VISIONS magazine in eighth grade as well.
Eighth graders continue their work with service-learning projects and also complete a saint research paper in preparation for Confirmation.
Middle School Social Studies
Fifth grade uses the Our Nation textbook and units of study include the following:
- The First Americans
- Native Americans
- The Age of Exploration
- The Settlement of North America
- 13 English Colonies
- A Fight for Independence
- Slavery and Emancipation
- The Modern Era
Our sixth grade text, The Ancient World, allows us to spend our year focusing on:
- The Beginnings of Human Society
- The Fertile Crescent
- Ancient Egypt and Nubia
- Ancient India
- Ancient Greece
- Ancient Rome
- A student country of choice
Seventh graders begin the year by focusing on economics and participate in stock market analysis. We then change focus to U.S. History and begin a pre-civilization unit. As our study of U.S. History continues, our units discuss:
- Exploration and Colonization
- The Thirteen English Colonies
- A Crisis in the Colonies
Eighth graders pick up where they left off in seventh grade and continue their study of U.S. History. Topics include:
- The Revolutionary Era
- The Early Republic
- An Era of Expansion
- Division and Reunion
- Immigration and Industry
- World War I
- World War II
- The Civil Rights Movement
- The Cold War
- 1990's - Present Day
Every unit in each grade level includes a large project and/or presentation.