The Emek math department is designed to produce students with strong higher-order thinking and problem solving skills, who are able to communicate in the language of mathematics, and are willing to take educational risks and try alternative approaches to problems. Our students learn how to work successfully in both individual and cooperative situations.
The math curriculum is aligned with California and Common Core standards. It focuses on teaching concepts, computation, and problem solving with an emphasis on advancing study skills so that students learn how to become effective students of mathematics. The students engage in concept-based learning and utilize manipulatives and coursework to solidify conceptual understanding and master computational skills. Lessons take into consideration students’ learning styles and the instruction is differentiated to provide opportunities for accelerated students who need an extra challenge as well as extra help for those students in need of assistance.
The math department works as a team, providing a department-wide, integrated framework for optimum instruction for all of our students. Teachers plan together and share ideas. Grade level teams agree to the pacing and topics to be covered, projects, assessments, and grading rubrics, thereby aligning the classes.
The Middle School humanities program at Emek is an integration of English and history. All literacy standards are taught through exploration of historical content while aligning with California State and Common Core standards. It focuses on the development of reading and writing, critical thinking and analysis of historical events, as well as proper communication skills.
Analysis of literature and writing play a large role in the humanities program. Instruction focuses on the literary elements of plot, setting, theme, purpose, point of view, characterization, and text structure. Figurative language, including simile, metaphor, personification, and onomatopoeia are discussed. Heavy emphasis is placed on different forms of writing in our middle school. Students write narratives, expository essays, research reports, letters, poetry, and persuasive essays. Structure and content are both explored and taught in depth. Teachers use the Socratic method, debate, experiential activities, and discussion techniques to extend and reinforce the student’s knowledge of history, culture, geography, politics, and economics.
The literature selections in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade are organized around different time periods that integrate the history curriculum. Sixth graders explore the Ancient Civilizations of Egypt, China, Greece and Rome in the novels Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos, The Secrets of the Terra-Cotta Soldiers, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, The Mystery of the Roman Ransom, and the Holocaust through The Devil’s Arithmetic. Seventh graders study World History, which covers Fuedal Japn, European Middle Ages, the Renaissance, Mesoamerica through the novels The Samurai’s Tale, A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver, Shakespeare Stealer, Middleworld, and the Holocaust in The Long Journey Home (part 2) Sol Teichman. Eighth graders focus on the history of the United States beginning with the American Revolution, Westward Expansion, the Industrial Revolution, the Civil War and Reconstruction in the novels The Notorious Benedict, Which Way to the Wild West, Lyddie, Narrative of Frederick Douglass, and the Holocaust in The Long Journey Home (part 3) by Sol Teichman.
At Emek, our science instruction cultivates and builds upon students’ curiosity and sense of wonder. It effectively engages students in enjoyable learning experiences through lab work and demonstrations. In a world of rapidly expanding knowledge and technology, students gain the important scientific and technological skills they will need to understand and function responsibly and successfully in the world.
Our science curriculum is organized into three main courses that align with the California State Standards: Earth Science, Life Science, and Physical Science. The Earth science course covers topics including rocks and minerals, earthquakes, volcanoes, erosion, oceans, weather and climate. The Life science course delves into the areas of cell biology, genetics, and the structure and function of living systems. The Physical science class includes the ideas of physical and chemical changes, mixtures and solutions, states of matter, motion, gravity, energy and heat.
Every science course offered at Emek includes an investigation and experimentation component. Students are encouraged to ask questions and follow the steps of the scientific method in conducting their experiments. They utilize appropriate tools and technology to perform tests, collect data and communicate their results.
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