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Middle School Curriculum


The Mission of the Manheim Township School District is to provide an environment where everyone will learn, grow and succeed.

The Mission of the Manheim Township Middle School, a bridge in the educational journey, is to ensure the academic success and social development of each young adolescent through an emphasis on life-long learning within an environment that fosters compassion, responsibility, personal wellness, and community involvement.


We believe that:

  • People thrive best in a nurturing environment
  • The family is integral to a successful community
  • The value of individuals is in their uniqueness, and this uniqueness when shared is valuable to the community.
  • Ethical behavior results from the struggle between good and evil.
  • A strong society requires ethical and responsible people.
  • Each person is responsible for his/her own actions.
  • The dignity of each person deserves respect.
  • Effective communication is fundamental to understanding.
  • An individual deserves the right to embrace his/her beliefs.
  • Each person deserves the opportunity to realize his/her potential.
  • Fairness is more important than equality.
  • Expectations which are challenging stimulate greater achievement.
  • Because people are innately curious, they seek knowledge throughout their lives.
  • Community success is dependent upon a diversity of people working for a common good.
  • Change requires growth; growth requires change.
  • Recognize the value of aesthetics as the creative expression of the human spirit.
  • Excellence is always worthy of pursuit.
  • Universal education is vital to a free society.

A Message to Students and Parents

This curriculum guide is designed to provide information to students and their parents concerning courses and programs available in the Middle School.

Unlike the high school where many courses are elective, the Middle School programs are mostly required and are designed to prepare all students as equally as their abilities and interests will permit.

Toward the end of eighth grade, students and their parents will work with guidance counselors to make course selections for ninth grade. One or two of the courses selected will be electives. In the Middle School the only elective offered is a foreign language.

A child’s greatest progress is made as a result of cooperative efforts between students, parents, teachers, and school counselors. This cooperation is actively sought and greatly appreciated by the school

It is the hope of the Manheim Township Middle School staff that you will find this curriculum guide to be helpful in understanding what the school is doing, and how it is being done, whether you are a family new to this area or a family with deep roots in the community.


Guidance services for Middle School students are provided through a variety of means. Individual counseling is an essential part of the program with referrals being made by the teaching staff, parents, administrators, counselors or the students themselves. Small group counseling is also utilized, and counselors develop and present a group guidance program based on the developmental needs of the students. Topics in the formal developmental guidance curriculum cover concerns dealing with peer relationships, adolescent growth and development, study skills, affective development, and grade level orientations.

Orientation programs are an integral part of Middle School guidance. Throughout the year, programs are provided to ease adjustment for students entering ninth grade, new to the building, and beginning a foreign language. In addition to counselors, students, administrators, and teachers also participate in these programs.

Another aspect of the counselor’s role is their involvement in team meetings. Serving as a consultant during these meetings, relevant information from the student’s cumulative file is shared to assist those involved with the students. The team meetings may be used for parent conferences, for gathering information to process a psychological referral and for gaining a better understanding of the student. This process enables counselors to create and maintain communications between home and school.

Counselors are also responsible for placement and scheduling of all students. Whenever a student transfers into the school district, the counselor working with that grade level is responsible for that student’s placement and orientation. Meeting student needs to best facilitate the educational process is the primary concern of the guidance counselor.

Standardized testing is conducted through class groups in those grades designated for these tests. After the results are returned to the school, the counselor visits the classroom to interpret the results to the students. Each student receives an individual report. The analysis of test results is a most useful tool to examine the strengths and areas of need in terms of the individual and the school’s curriculum.

Helping to facilitate communications between home and school or other agencies and the school is one of the counselor’s responsibilities. Avenues of improving communications are continually explored by the counselor. During the school year, counselors may also facilitate parenting classes and offer support groups.

Collecting and disseminating information concerning students’ potential retentions is processed by the counselor approximately four (4) weeks prior to the end of the school year. Information is collected and reviewed with the building principal. Individual needs are the primary consideration and all options are explored during this decision-making process. Summer school programs are explored to allow students the opportunity to remain with their age group. Counselors coordinate summer school recommendations and enrollments, and follow-up with students to ensure qualification and readiness for the next grade level.

Counselors oversee maintenance of students’ Report Cards, share responsibility for communications related to the academic status of students, and counselors are involved in all dimensions of the special education process. Initial referrals for entrance into the special education program are screened and coordinated by counselors. They remain an integral part of the ongoing process, and facilitate communications associated with the special education effort.

Counselors remain flexible to provide crisis counseling in relationship to parental concerns and student needs. This may include activating the Crisis Intervention Team.

The Guidance Office serves as a resource to teachers and others in planning career exploration activities. As necessary, the counselor also refers students to the school nurse, school psychologist, the hearing or speech clinician or other services in the school or community. The counselor coordinates cooperative efforts by the staff to help a student.

Compiling, updating, and interpreting student cumulative records is also a responsibility of the Middle School counselor. Teachers and parents may examine these records to review the past achievements, test results or other data contained in these records. Maintaining the confidentiality in collecting, recording and revealing students’ records is handled according to the district policy and state and federal law.

Additionally, counselors participate in the Student Assistance Program process, and serve on department and building committees.

Media Center

Students today live within a society that is increasingly dependent on information. They must become skillful consumers and producers of information in a range of formats to thrive personally and economically in the information age. A dynamic, student-centered library media program fosters information literacy and lifelong learning–the basis for true information power.

The mission of the Manheim Township Middle School Media Center focuses on providing programs and services that are centered on information management and that are created around active, authentic student performance.

The goals of the program include:

  • To provide an active, technology-rich learning environment with an array of information resources–resources that have been carefully selected and systematically organized and that represent a wide range of subjects, formats and level of difficulty which support curricular and recreational goals of the entire school.
  • To provide integrated, interdisciplinary learning experiences that help students and staff become discriminating consumers and skilled creators of information through a comprehensive instructional program that encompasses the full range of media and technology.
  • To provide a program that functions as the information center of the the school.
  • To provide access to information and resources within the global community – providing the bridge between formal school-based learning and independent lifelong learning.

The library media specialist is the key factor in library media programs that contribute to student achievement. Working with teachers, the library media specialist plays a critical role in designing student learning experiences that focus on authentic performance-based learning, information literacy and meeting standards and encourages the use of technology as a tool of active learning. The library media specialist is knowledgeable about current research on teaching and learning and its application to a variety of situations–especially those that require students to access, evaluate, and use information, produce new information, and create products and presentations that communicate ideas efficiently and effectively.

Seventh Grade Program of Study


The seventh grade Language Arts program is a continuation of the language skills begun in elementary grades. Areas of study are (1) language structure, (2) oral and written communication, and (3) literature. The purpose of the program is to provide skills in clearer communication. Experiences are provided through oral and written composition for application of the language in practical situations. A guided exposure to literature encourages appreciation in the use of our language by various authors.

Each individual teacher has sufficient flexibility to exercise her/his own creative talents in the pursuit of a common goal–clearer spoken and written communication. Students in grade seven have numerous opportunities for reading, writing, speaking, and listening, framed by the State Standards for English/Language Arts.


Reading is a thinking process that involves a person’s total resources as she/he brings meaning to the printed word. It is a skill, and as such it must be developed and practiced to bring it to an effective level of use.

Middle School students need the opportunity for expansion of skills in the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domain enabling them to use printed materials as a continual tool.

These pupils are undergoing dramatic changes in their physical, mental, and emotional development often creating a climate of uncertainty of their personal worth, their values, their abilities and potentials. They need frequent opportunities to perceive themselves in positive ways. The reading program, geared to individual needs, is a great asset in obtaining this desired goal.

Instruction includes vocabulary development through the use of specific reading materials and content area materials. Skills will be developed which will enable the student to read for acquisition of facts, to draw inferences, and make judgments. Effective ways to implement word analysis skills are included in the instruction.


The first semester of 7th Grade Mathematics focuses on the completion of the students’ experiences in pre-algebraic mathematics. The program is delivered via a flexible grouping system in which all students are introduced to four major topics and have the opportunity to qualify for enriched studies on each topic. The determination of placement in enriched sections is made solely on the student’s performance in the introductory phase of the unit. The four units consist in extensive treatments of Quantitative Geometry with emphasis on the development of formulas for perimeter, area and volume. Algeblocks – a concrete approach to integers, Ratio and Proportion, and Percent. In addition, students will enjoy a mini-unit dealing with Data Analysis and Statistics during the first semester.

Based on student performance during the 1st semester and on an evaluation of student readiness for abstract mathematics, students are placed into either a formal Pre-Algebra course or Regular 7th Grade Mathematics. The Pre-Algebra course establishes a foundation of concepts, processes, properties and elementary skills that will be enhanced and extended in our 8th Grade Algebra course. The Regular 7th Grade Mathematics Program focuses on additional pre-algebraic topics including Probability, Spatial Visualization and the Language of Algebra.


There are two basic assumptions behind the design of the general science program.

A. That the students should learn “how” scientific information is acquired. The course is designed to promote understanding of science concepts through participation in various learning experiences.
B. That students should experience an introduction to three major fields of Science: biology, chemistry, and physics, with an emphasis on Life Science.
The seventh grade course is based upon an inquiry system of teaching and learning. This system includes observation, investigation, interpretation, reference to appropriate literature, and critical study of conclusions that have been drawn.

The course of study focuses on the interaction between living organisms and the physical environment. Students are challenged to investigate environmental problems and are motivated to work toward a solution.


The Seventh Grade Social Studies program explores one’s role as a citizen in a diverse, ever changing world through the examination of ancient cultures. A variety of teaching techniques are used to create a stimulating, student centered learning environment aimed at fostering this exploration.

The Seventh Grade course of study begins with an introduction to geography, an integral part of history, which will provide students with a thematic method of cultural inquiry (the Five Themes of Geography). This method will be used consistently throughout the year and will provide students with the opportunity to broaden their understanding of culture as it exists in ancient and contemporary contexts.

Following geography, the course touches upon the prehistoric era, stressing the roles of archeology and anthropology as a means of discovery and continues chronologically through ancient civilizations. Particular emphasis will be placed upon the early development of government, economic, religious, and social systems.


Students selecting a world language will complete the First Semester of Level I during the seventh grade. The program is designed to be practical, meaningful, and enjoyable. Maximum student participation, a variety of activities, and the use of audiovisuals will promote a feeling of self confidence and understanding of the new culture. Materials have been selected according to the interests and abilities of the students. Listening and speaking skills are emphasized, as are world language study skills.

Eighth Grade Program of Study


The eighth grade Language Arts program builds on the skills and competencies taught in grade seven. Grammar, usage, composition, vocabulary, and literature study are all integral parts of the eighth grade course of study, as are the skills involved in oral communication. Students in grade eight have numerous opportunities for reading, writing speaking, and listening, framed by the State Standards for English/Language Arts.


Reading is a thinking process that involves a person’s total resources as she/he brings meaning to the printed word. It is a skill and as such it must be developed and practiced to bring it to an effective level of use.

Middle School students need the opportunity for expansion of skills in the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domain enabling them to use printed material as a continual tool.

Instruction is geared to preparing the student for the increased academic demands of the high school. It includes vocabulary development, factual inferential, and judgmental reading skills, emphasis on study skills; and directed reading activities help to develop the student’s ability to read critically and think logically.


8th Grade Algebra
The Algebra I course is a rigorous program that mirrors the 9th Grade Theoretical Algebra I course. Students who qualify for placement in this course experience an axiomatic approach to Algebra with emphasis on concepts, procedures and skills as well as critical analysis, reasoning and justification. Topics include linear equations in one and two variables, graphing, polynomials, problem solving and axioms and theorems of the Algebra of Real Numbers.

Regular 8th Grade Mathematics
The first semester of this program extends the student experience with pre-algebraic topics including Angle Relationships in Geometry, Ratio, Proportion and Percent, Elementary Trigonometry and Elementary Pre-Algebra. These topics are delivered through a flexible grouping system so that all students have access to enriched studies in each topic. At the beginning of the 2nd semester, students are placed either in Enhanced Pre-Algebra or Regular Pre-Algebra. Placement in these programs is determined on the basis of student performance and an evaluation of readiness for algebraic topics. The Regular Pre-Algebra contains topics necessary for the successful pursuit of Algebra in the High School Regular Academic Strand of courses in the High School. The Enhanced Pre-Algebra course includes an intensive treatment of set theory, and is designed specifically in preparation for the High School Theoretical Strand.


The two basic assumptions behind the design of the general science program are:

A. That the students should learn “how” scientific information is acquired. The course is designed to promote understanding of science concepts through participation in various learning experiences.
B. That students should experience an introduction to earth science, chemistry, and physics. The emphasis for the eighth grade course is on earth science.
In addition, the course includes the study of earth features and processes that change the earth, interpretation of weather data, and how to apply knowledge of earth materials to identify unknown materials or the age of an artifact. The investigation of fossils of past life and how it relates to the study of living environment today are also included. Other topics studied are energy transfers, waves, force, and motion.


The social studies department uses varied teaching techniques to make available learning opportunities for the interests and needs of each student. The varied learning experiences will facilitate understanding of the skills essential for making viable decisions in the future. The social studies program provides for the exploration of the contributions of all cultures to our society and the significant impact of these contributions on the development of our society.

The eighth grade course of study places its emphasis on the geographic, economic, political and social foundations of early United States of America. The first century of our existence as an independent nation utilizes a chronological approach to the period of colonization, the development of the United States Constitution, the lifestyles of the 1800′s and culminates with the Civil War and Reconstruction Period. 1876 marks both the end of Reconstruction and a century of beginnings and achievements that set the stage for the future direction of our nation.

Primary and secondary sources are included in order that each student will gather data and infer his or her own conclusions. Each student is encouraged to ask questions of history and learn a method of historical inquiry which will be useful throughout the student’s life experiences.


Students continuing a world language will complete the Second Semester of Level I during eighth grade. The program is designed to be contemporary, relevant, and enjoyable. The student will feel a sense of accomplishment and develop an appreciation of the similarities among cultures through activities that explore cultural values. The emphasis of the course is on the development of listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. Supplementary materials are selected and integrated in the program according to the interests and the abilities of the students.

Specialized Programs for Students

The Pennsylvania Special Education Standards, which reflect both State Board Regulations and federal legislation, require and individualized education program (IEP) for each exceptional student identified as needing special education or related services. This requirement extends to all exceptional students in Pennsylvania, in public and approved private schools.

Writing an IEP is a three-step process involving the child, his parents, and school personnel in: (1) defining a child’s interests or needs, (2) identifying how much and what one can reasonably expect him/her to learn by the end of the year, and (3) determining the steps to be taken in achieving annual goals and the means to measure the student’s progress.


This program for students of superior intellectual ability allows for special activities and services not ordinarily provided in the regular classroom. Students may be assigned to this program if they meet the standards established by the state. An individual psychological evaluation is necessary to determine if admission standards are met.


The Learning Support program will be available to those students who are handicapped in their ability to meet the expectation of a regular classroom. Basic to this concept is the belief in mainstreaming a student into a regular classroom whenever there is evidence that he/she can function effectively in that environment. Types of youngsters who will be able to receive assistance in the learning support program in varying degrees of time during the school day are children with learning disabilities, physical disabilities, certain mild social or emotional disorders, and children with impaired intellectual development.


The Reading Center is an area devoted to individualized and small-group instruction. The Reading Center uses several different types of instruction in order to meet the needs of the students. Students who score two or more years below grade level as indicated on a standardized reading test attend the Reading Center where they participate in an individualized reading program. Specific skills, vocabulary development, and overall comprehension are taught via computers and print media.


For those students who cannot participate in the regular physical education program, adaptive physical education periods are built into the schedule. The process used to implement assistance individually is: 1) recognition of a physical problem by the physical education teacher, school nurse, family or a physician; 2) counseling with the school nurse; 3) consultation with the family physician; and 4) implementation of the physician’s prescribed program by the physical education instructor.

Introduction to the Related Arts Curriculum

Formatting the school year into trimesters has enabled two significant changes to occur in the instructional delivery process at the Middle School which are intended to benefit our students. The first change has allowed the teams of academic or core subject teachers to expand to include the related art teachers. The second change has enabled our students to receive instruction from the related arts teachers for sixty consecutive days.

The curricular offerings noted in this document are reflective of Manheim Township’s commitment to providing students with an excellent education which encompasses a vast array of experiential opportunities which ultimately will place a student on a career pathway.


Unified Arts is a twelve-week program that encompasses drama, art, dance, and music. During the course, students work on stage presence with an emphasis on self-confidence during presentations. Exercises begin with “low-risk” games and scripted readings that build toward writing activities and improvisational work to encourage students to express themselves comfortably. Acting techniques and vocal exercises that focus on volume, clarity, rate and expression help students achieve self-confidence.

Four types of Art Learning integrated in the program are:

  1. Learning to be aesthetically aware and sensitive to a broad range of visual forms.
  2. Learning from works of art or art criticism.
  3. Learning about works of art or art history.
  4. Learning to make art.

Students work on a major presentation which includes a directed art project. This may take the form of Reader’s Theater, puppetry, or stage shows, and is presented to the student body and, when time permits, to parents. The shows may also call the students to learn about make-up, lighting, and other technical aspects of the theater. Regular quizzes, tests, and homework assignments are a part of this course


Eighth grade students will experience a variety of 2D and 3D artistic media, as well as be introduced to new techniques and approaches to the creative process. The elements and principles of design will be emphasized and incorporated into the students’ creative production. Critical thinking, problem solving and observation skills are promoted, as well as allowing students to express themselves creatively and grow in art.

Students will focus on questioning techniques when viewing their own art, the art of other students, and when looking at the intent of the artist in his/her creation of art in its social, political, historical, and cultural context.

Students are made aware of the importance of art as communication, as a means of recognizing and appreciating differences and similarities in others and themselves, and as a major part of their daily living.


During the 12 weeks in the course, the students cover Macintosh computer basics to ensure that they have the skills for using the computers in the lab. Then the topic switches to the AppleWorks program. AppleWorks is an integrated program that allows us to cover word processing, database, spreadsheet, drawing, and integrated applications such as mail merge and pasting spreadsheets onto word processing documents. We also cover topics such as the parts of a computer system, using proofreader’s marks, and how the computer is used as a tool in various jobs.


Students in 7th and 8th grade will be introduced to four Family and Consumer Science modules during the course of the trimester. The modules for 8th graders will be: The Food and Nutrition Link and Family Connections. Seventh graders will be introduced to modules which are entitled The Textile Experience and The Consumer’s Role.

Classes will meet every day through the trimester. The teachers will change grade level midway through the trimester. Students will receive a mid-trimester grade upon completion of the module. This grade will be issued when interim reports are generated and will also appear on the report card at the end of the trimester.


The seventh grade health curriculum focuses on various aspects of health and fitness through study of the selected body systems. Through guided activities involving student research, assigned reading, worksheets, class lectures, videos, and demonstrations, the students will gain an understanding of the human machine as it responds to exercise. When applicable, first aid practices are taught as well.

Also, materials will be presented to the students with regard to the human body’s reaction to chemicals introduced into the body. Specifically, students investigate the effects of some gateway drugs (steroids, tobacco, inhalants, marijuana and alcohol) on an individual’s health and well being.

Evaluation and application of this knowledge of material is accomplished through individual and group projects, reports and tests. Students will be assigned homework as needed, and credit for homework is awarded only when it is completed on time. In all aspects of the seventh grade health curriculum, emphasis is made on making wise, healthful choices.

Students receive instruction in Heimlich maneuver, rescue breathing and CPR techniques in accordance with American Heart Association’s training program. The students will participate in the D.A.R.E. Program with cooperative teaching from the Manheim Township Police Department’s Instructor/Officer.


With the constantly changing health issues in our society, it is important that young people stay informed of these changes. Issues such as drug use, teen pregnancy, AIDS, and unhealthy amounts of stress are all part of our global society and pose a serious threat to one’s health.

At Manheim Township, teaching responsibility for personal behavior is a high priority. It is our belief that the information obtained through the health curriculum, coinciding with family influences, will aid students in making health decisions in a global society. Throughout each grade level, emphasis is placed on responsible decision making as well as accountability for the consequences. Avoidance of high-risk situations is stressed. The eighth grade curriculum takes a social and mental perspective on health. The topics covered include: stress management, self concept issues, goal setting education, sexuality education and other issues dealing with adolescence, anti-drug/smoking issues and other assertiveness training skills, abstinence education, and AIDS education.


Eighth grade music is a twelve week western culture history course that delves into the music of the eras in history and how the sociological occurrences of these periods are mirrored by that music.

Starting with the Renaissance and Baroque eras, a two-week discussion focuses on faith and the music. Similarly, the Classical and Romantic eras focus on logic and emotion for another two-week period. The music and composers of the Modern era had an impact on society at large. During this three-week period students complete an essay project. The remainder of the course focuses on music technology of all types.


A variety of musical performing ensembles are available to interested students.

Curricular Ensembles include:

  • 7/8 String Orchestra
  • 7/8 Band
  • 7/8 Chorus

These large performing groups each rehearse two days a week during REM and perform a minimum of two public concerts each school year.

All instrumental students receive one additional period of instruction each week in the form of a small group sectional lesson. This sectional lesson is a component of the graded course of study for instrumental music and stresses the development of individual music skills.

Extracurricular Ensemble Opportunities available to students participating in the Curricular Ensembles may include:

  • Ensemble Singers
  • Jazz Band
  • String Chamber Ensemble
  • Other ensembles deemed appropriate by the curricular directors

Participation in the Extracurricular Ensembles is by audition and/or director recommendation. The performance schedule of these ensembles may vary but at least one public performance is scheduled each school year.


Seventh Grade Technology Education is a twelve week program that involves an articulation of knowledge and skills gained from the sixth grade program. The seventh grade program is based on the basic manufacturing and construction principles: of design, build, test, and analyze.

Throughout the trimester, students will work individually and with a team to problem-solve, cooperate, and use critical thinking to explore and discover technology through activity-based learning. With an emphasis on safety, students will realize the uses and importance of technology, machinery, and hands-on activities.


Communication Technology is a twelve week exploratory program that provides an opportunity for students to examine the different ways that people communicate. Course content includes: Graphic design, digital photography, technical drawing, architectural drawing, screen printing, computer control and audio/visual production. During the trimester, students are divided into smaller groups and rotate between the graphics room and TV studio.

Students learn through individual and group projects designed to place students in real world problem solving situations. As a result of these activities, students learn the dynamics of working with others to solve problems as they become aware of career opportunities related to the curriculum.


Seventh grade physical education meets daily throughout the trimester. The primary focus of the program is on physical fitness with emphasis on the cardiovascular system. Activities and events are selected to facilitate the development of fine and gross motor skills, coordination skills and sports related skills. Each unit provides opportunities to develop hand/eye coordination and individual creative expression.

Every class includes a 7-minute fitness circuit ranging from moderate to intense levels of exercise focusing on upper body strength, flexibility, agility and endurance. One day a week is dedicated to improving cardiovascular fitness by running one to two miles and participation in other nonstop activities.

Each student is expected to show improvement in skill development in a selected sport area such as basketball, volleyball or juggling. A positive attitude and development of personal characteristics such as cooperation, leadership, team play, fair play and sportsmanship are expected outcomes of this program.

Students and parents may prepare for physical education class by reading the guidelines in the Middle School student handbook.


The following goals will be the focus of your child’s twelve week physical education course:

  1. To learn, review and practice motor skills necessary to participate in a wide variety of physical activities.
  2. To demonstrate an understanding of each unit’s skills and concept and apply them during interactive play.
  3. To behave in ways that are personally and socially responsible in physical activity settings.

The eighth grade curriculum is based on team sports and personal fitness. Activities include wrestling, self-defense, circuit training in our MS Fitness Center, hockey, soccer, basketball, volleyball, handball, and a selection of seasonal activities. Criteria for evaluation will be based on daily preparation, participation, cooperation, and performance in class.