Grade 6 Overview

Sixth Grade Curriculum Overview

The middle school years represent the biggest growth period in a child's life, other than birth to two. It is a period of many "firsts", including having more than one teacher, changing classes, and assuming more responsibility for learning and additional homework.

In order to provide for a smooth transition from grade to grade during this time, teachers, administrators, and support personnel are invested in providing a safe and healthy school environment which is imperative for the growth and development of each child. Our middle schools are staffed with teachers who are experts at teaching young adolescents. They use instructional methods that prepare all students to achieve high standards and a variety of assessment methods for students to demonstrate what they know and understand. By working in partnership with each student and his/her parents, every child is involved in rich and successful learning experiences that support student learning, healthy development and the Mission Statement of the Newington Public Schools.

The following information about the middle school curriculum describes the student's journey through the middle school years, grades 5 through 8. Based on State and National Standards, the middle school curriculum provides a comprehensive, diverse and challenging curriculum to meet the learning needs of all students.

This curriculum overview articulates by content area and grade level what students will know and understand (concepts) and what they will be able to do (skills) as a result of what they know and understand. As you view this middle school curriculum brochure, read it "looking through the eyes of the learner" to frame a picture of the blend of high expectations and exciting learning experiences.

Language Arts

Students will know and understand that:

  • reading, comprehending and responding to a variety of genres is essential in becoming a well-rounded student

  • good readers use many strategies before, during and after reading to understand a variety of genres

  • there is a consistent set of elements in expository writing as well as other genres

  • written and oral responses to text should be supported with evidence

  • proper grammar, spelling, capitalization and punctuation need to be utilized when speaking and/or writing

  • there are a variety of ways to communicate effectively

As a result of what students know and understand, they will be able to:

  • select and apply strategies to understand what they read

  • write with effective focus, organization, elaboration and mechanics to express ideas

  • use details and examples from texts and background knowledge to support ideas

  • speak and write using Standard English for a specific audience or task

  • increase word recognition and vocabulary skills

  • understand that society influences authors and readers

  • appreciate that literature has affected society and continues to do so

  • express ideas in a variety of ways

Using a variety of tools, strategies, and technology, students will know and understand that:

  • the understanding of and ability to use and manipulate fractions, decimals, and percents are important skills for daily living

  • there is a direct relationship between geometry and measurement, and it is important to develop strategies and algorithms for understanding this relationship

  • collecting, organizing, and displaying data helps us make informed and reasonable decisions about future events

  • a functional understanding of patterns and relationships is essential to solving real-world problems

As a result of what students know and understand, and by working with real-world problems through an inquiry-based approach, they will be able to:

  • develop an understanding of the relationships among factors, multiples, divisors, and products

  • identify the relationship among fractions, decimals, and percents

  • compare, order, estimate and perform computations with whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and percents

  • construct, draw, describe and compare 2 & 3-dimensional shapes  select and use appropriate strategies to estimate and measure length, mass, time, angles, perimeter, area, and volume

  • collect, organize, display and analyze data

  • investigate the probability of events using a variety of approaches

  • explore algebraic concepts through problem-solving involving one-step equations


Students will know and understand that:

  • thermal energy affects how atoms arrange to form molecules and changes in states of matter

  • new matter is formed in a chemical reaction based only on the rearrangement of atoms, not with the addition of new atoms

  • organisms are part of dynamic ecosystems that require a constant flow of energy derived from the Sun

  • human disruption to ecosystems can have negative and positive consequences

  • water is a valuable and limited resource that flows throughout an ecosystem

  • Earth is a dynamic planet undergoing changes both on and below the surface

As a result of what students know and understand, they will be able to:

  • ask questions and define problems

  • develop and use models

  • plan and carry out investigations

  • analyze and interpret data

  • use mathematics and computational thinking

  • construct explanations and design solutions

  • engage in argument from evidence

  • obtain, evaluate, and communicate information

Social Studies

Students will know and understand that:

  • our understanding and application of democracy has evolved throughout history 

  • political, economic, and societal structure can determine a nation’s success or failure

  • an island nation needs other nations to prosper

  • a nation’s economy and history is closely intertwined with its neighbors

  • Latin America is a diverse geographic region which has shaped its past and present

  • migration, colonization, and economic activity has shaped Latin American civilizations

  • the environment in which we live plays a role in both economic and political issues

  • the cultural, social, political, and economic characteristics of a region can have both positive and negative effects on that region

As a result of what students know and understand, they will be able to:

  • determine the kinds of sources helpful in answering questions, taking into consideration multiple points of view

  • identify evidence that draws information from multiple sources to support claims

  • construct arguments using claims and evidence from multiple sources

  • construct maps to represent and explain the pattern of cultural and environmental characteristics of our world

  • use maps, satellite images, photographs, and other representations to explain relationships between the locations of places and regions, and changes in their environmental characteristics

  • analyze the ways in which cultural and environmental characteristics vary among various regions of the world

  • compare historical and contemporary means of changing societies and promoting the common good

  • use questions about historically significant people or events to explain the impact on a region


Students will know and understand that: In order to be well rounded, it is essential to engage in learning experiences in the areas of art, STEM, wellness, library/media, music, wellness, and instructional technology.

As a result of what students know and understand, they will be able to: Demonstrate their learning through projects, activities, discussions, and performances in the Encore classes.


S.T.E.M. education is an interdisciplinary approach to learning where rigorous academic concepts are coupled with real-world lessons as students apply science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in contexts that make connections between school, community, work, and the global enterprise enabling the development of STEM literacy and with it the ability to compete in the new economy.

In Grade 6, Simple Machines and Pre-Engineering requires creative thinking and consideration of a variety of ideas to solve practical problems. Using LEGO machines and mechanisms resources students will learn machines, mechanisms and their related structures and mechanical advantages.

The sixth-eighth grade art curriculum provides opportunities for students to broaden special art interests and continue the process of transforming personal experiences into art forms.

Sixth grade activities include:

  • contour drawing

  • color painting

  • 3D design

  • portraiture

A healthy body and mind maximize children's ability to learn. The Physical Education experience centers on the development and wellness of the child. During all four years, students prepare for and participate in the State Physical Fitness tests. Throwing and catching, kicking, striking, movement, and team building concepts are taught through team sports. These include volleyball, badminton, basketball, hockey, and team handball. Additional activities are educational gymnastics, archery, dance, lifetime activities and cooperative games. The Wellness program empowers students with the knowledge to make responsible decisions about their behaviors. This is done through the discussion of a variety of issues facing adolescents including diseases and substance abuse. Students will learn disease prevention, personal safety, and refusal skills to maintain a strong mind and healthy body.


All students participate in General Music each year. All students in grades 5-8 have the opportunity to participate in performing groups including chorus, band, and orchestra. Students in grade 6 who choose to participate in chorus, band, or orchestra meet one or two times per week during activity period. Small group instrumental lessons are available to students for ½ hour per week. Concerts throughout the year showcase the accomplishments of each ensemble.

The General Music curriculum seeks to develop within students a medium for self-expression and a life-long love of music.

Areas of study in sixth grade include:

  • music theory and sight-reading skills

  • cultures and music

  • Medieval/European/American

  • the folksong (Ballad)

  • program music

  • musical themes

  • melodic, rhythmic and lyrical composition

  • opera (modern/rock)

Library Media

The library media program provides instruction, resources, and services to assist students in becoming critical thinkers and problem solvers in the pursuit and use of ideas and information. The library media program strives to ensure that all students have the skills and opportunity to access, evaluate and use information effectively and responsibly. Direct instruction in the steps and process to conduct research is provided in grades 5, 6, and 7 during the twenty-five-day Encore cycle rotation.

Students learn how to use critical thinking and research skills to identify, locate, evaluate, use, apply and communicate ideas effectively and responsibly. Students also learn Internet safety, note taking techniques, citation guidelines, and presentation skills integrating the use of technology.

The library program supports academic and recreational reading for students in grades 5-8.

Educational Technology
Sixth graders will have one 26-day cycle of educational technology. Students will explore design concepts through their understanding and creation of infographics, computer coding and expand their digital portfolio. There will be an emphasis on practicing positive digital citizenship.