Middle School Curriculum


Each middle school student works one-on-one with a dedicated advisor who serves as both supporter and advocate from day one. Students have the same advisor throughout their middle school years. Advisors not only give students guidance, understanding and perspective, they provide an opportunity to build a deep and trusting relationship over time. For families, advisors are an important touchstone –– a person to approach with questions or issues and who knows their child well. Parents meet with advisors during regular in-depth conferences as well as any time they feel the need to connect. Advisors also meet weekly with all faculty advisors and teachers to discuss specific students who need extra attention or special intervention. Along with having a dedicated advisor, students also gather once a week with their advisory groups (and once a month with same-sex advisory groups) –– a safe harbor to nurture compassion and empathy within our social and emotional curriculum.


We offer four levels of math classes that cover pre-algebra, algebra and geometry and incorporate creative strategies to ensure our students have a deep, foundational understanding of applied mathematics. Using Design Thinking, we inspire students to see the significance of math in real world contexts and to embrace it as a rich and meaningful language.

Course highlights:

Math for Grade 6:

  • Fractions: Computation; Equivalence; Forms of Fractions; Conversions; Equivalent, Mixed, Improper
  • Operations w/decimals; Rounding; Place Value/exponents; Comparing
  • Probability Statistics
  • Geometry Design; Vocabulary; Triangles; 2 & 3-D objects; Graphing; Pythagorean Theorem; Transformations
  • Perimeter, area, volume, surface area;
  • Ratios/proportions; scale
  • Basic algebraic equations; Writing expressions/equations/inequalities; Inverse operations; Translating word problems; Independent & dependent variable

Pre-algebra for Grades 6 and 7:

  • Graphing
  • Vocabulary; formulas; transformations; art; patterns; coordinating graphing; circles; Pythagorean Theorem; graphing linear equations
  • Perimeter; area; volume; surface areaExponents; Decimals; LCM/GCF; Properties; Ratios; Proportions; Rounding; Conversions; Scale; Congruence; Modeling
  • Order of Operations; Expressions/Equations; Algebraic terms; Variables; Evaluating; Problem Solving; the real number system; Algebraic terminology

Algebra for Grades 7 and 8:

  • Real Number System; Solve Algebraic Equations w/ Real Number Systems
  • Coordinates; Graphing Linear equations; Slope-intercept form; Standard Form; Point-slope Form; Equations of Lines; Function Format; Tables & Patterns;
  • Variation: Quadratic Equations; Computation & Solving; Combined inequalities; Absolute Value; Systems of inequalities
  • Perfect squares; Quadratic formula; graphing; problem solving; Trig ratios; Tables; Angles
  • Integers; Properties; Distributive Property: Reciprocals; Word Problems: Evaluate: Translation; Irrational & Rational Numbers; Decimals; Conversions; Square Roots; Pythagorean Theorem
  • Inverse Operations: Addition/Subtraction/Multiplication/Division; Word Problems & Problem Solving: translations, charts & diagrams; Exponents; Properties; Mono & Polynomials; Formulas: Factoring; Arithmetic w/ polynomials

Geometry for Grade 8 (advanced):

  • Midpoints; Equidistance; Parallel Lines; Slope, Proofs; Lines & Planes; Perpendicularity; Parallel Planes; Graphing Equations; Equation of Lines; Systems of Equations; Inequalities
  • Measurement; Vocab; Assumptions; Proofs; Deductive Reasoning; Logic; Probability; Perpendicularity; Complimentary/Supplementary; Congruence; Properties; Vertical Angles; Ways to prove congruence; Overlapping triangles; Types of Triangles; HL Postulate; Triangle Theorems; Formulas for Polygons; Ratio/Proportion; Similarity
  • Distance Formula; Families of Right Triangles; Trigonometry; Pythagorean Theorem; Chords; Area; Secants; Arcs; Tangents; Angles; Inscribed & circumscribed polygons; Circumference; Area of Triangles; Quadrilaterals; Ratios; Surface Area of Prisms; Pyramids; Cylinders; Circles; Volume; Square; Quadratic formula; Trig ratios; Tables; Angles
  • Comprehensive Review of Algebra 1 for high school placement and readiness for Algebra 2


Students read both contemporary and canonical fiction connected to overarching themes and share their thoughts and analysis in literature circles. They hone both creative and analytical writing skills in a workshop setting and develop and expand vocabulary to enhance their understanding of the English language and how to communicate more effectively. They also practice editing, proofreading, grammar and mechanics in the context of the texts they read and create.

Grade highlights:

  • 6th Grade: Introduction to the formal essay, The Giver Epilogue Project, Junk Food Presentations inspired by Chew On This

  • 7th Grade: Cuba Research Presentation, Realistic Narrative, Romeo & Juliet scene study and performance

  • 8th Grade: Personal Narrative, Compare/Contrast Essay, Multimedia Book Trailer

Social Studies

Our Social Studies curriculum inspires students to develop a nuanced understanding of past societies and their impact on the present world. They immerse themselves in ancient and medieval cultures including those of China, the Middle East, Greece, Rome, Europe and Japan and the pre-Industrialism history of the United States. Through interactive presentations, hands-on projects and online materials, our students not only learn history, they inhabit it.

Grade highlights:

  • 6th Grade: Shang dynasty tomb excavation, tour of Athens in the Golden Age, exploration of Chinese philosophy

  • 7th Grade: Medieval Town simulation, exploration of Renaissance Florence, investigation of Mayan ruins

  • 8th Grade: Study of Slave narratives, Civil War reenactments, pioneer journey simulation


Through interactive projects and real world problem solving, our students study elements of the physical world and the dynamic interactions within it, including atomic structure, evolution, volcanoes, the elements of stardust, cellular biology, modern genetics, the principles of energy and the origins of the universe. Our science program seeks to excite students about the wonders of the world they live in while teaching them the tools of science to explore that world.

Grade highlights

  • 6th Grade: How did our planet form, and why does it look the way it does? 6th grade science begins the year with the theme of “the active earth”, a study of our planet’s dynamic geologic processes. Students examine the structure of the earth, and understand in particular how the planet’s moving plates create conditions that have allowed life to flourish.

  • 7th Grade: How does one define life scientifically, and how did it begin? 7th grade science begins the year with the theme of “the diversity of life”. Our opening unit in cell biology looks at how life may have begun on this planet, and how it has changed over time. Our review of cell structure introduces students to a new topic, DNA, which will serve as the basis for understanding genetics and the amazing history of life on earth. Mars Rover Project, Cartoon Pedigree presentations, “Life’s Long Calendar” Project

  • 8th Grade: Are we alone in the universe, or could there be other life out there? 8th grade science begins the year with an opening unit in astronomy. The unit builds on 7th grade life science with a focus on the idea of life beyond earth. Our study of the solar system serves as a springboard for a look at objects in the universe as a whole. The universe provides a context for basic physics, where ideas from Newton to Einstein illustrate current knowledge of objects in space and how we might explore them.

Jewish Studies

Through study and discussion of Jewish text, history, cultures, values and traditions, students at Brandeis Marin build a personal connection to Jewish life and explore their own heritages. Our program explores the contemporary and the ancient, building an understanding of the richness and the complexities of a diverse and dynamic people. Study builds toward a 2 week experience in Israel for all eighth graders.

Grade highlights:

  • 6th Grade: Jewish Court of All Time (JCAT) asks students to research a person from history in order to discern and, through role play, present that person’s perspective on a contemporary issue through debate.

  • 7th Grade: Tzedakah Project - Jewish tradition obligates us to pursue justice through our actions, our time, our talent and our resources. As partner to the bar or bat mitzvah year, the Tzedakah Project guides the students through multiple steps to investigate issues in our world, study ways to address those issues and then collaborate to be part of change in the world.

  • 8th Grade: Israel Trip - Our students explore the diversity of the land and people of Israel. Through diverse experiences such as traveling the land, spending time with peers at sister schools and connecting their learning at school to their experiences in Israel, our 8th graders forge their own relationship to this special place and grapple with what it means to be global citizens.


Students learn Hebrew as a modern language using a whole language approach. It’s joyfully and lovingly brought to life through reading, speaking, music, song, poetry and drama and awakens a deep appreciation of the Hebrew culture. By studying Hebrew as a second language, students enhance their memory as well as organizational and communication skills. Hebrew also serves as a bridge to Israel and allows students to engage the texts and ideas of the Jewish tradition more deeply.


Students learn Spanish through reading, speaking, conversation, music, song poetry and drama. Over time, they build a foundation for fluency that will enable them to expand their interactions and competencies at home and abroad.