School Life » Middle School Curriculum

Middle School Curriculum

Middle School is the time when our students really come into their own.  By this time, students have mastered the basics and learning progresses in leaps and bounds.  ITBS test results show that the longer a student stays at Holy Family, the stronger they perform. By the time they leave us in 8th grade, most students are testing at high school level.  Many will take honors classes in high school.  Others will go on to the International Baccalaureate Program in Palisade.  So many of our alumni return to tell us how well we prepared them for the challenges of high school and even college.  Expand the sections below to find a summary of the academic programs at Holy Family Middle School.
Religion:  As a Catholic school, Religion is at the heart of who we are.  We join together as a whole school for Morning Prayer.  School Masses are held throughout the year with each class getting the chance to serve as greeters, lectors, choir members and servers.  Reconciliation services are held twice a year during Advent and Lent.  Our students are expected to participate in various service activities as part of their religion grade. All of our students have a daily Religion class.  These classes have a strong academic curriculum which follows the Sadlier religion series We Believe and We Live Our Faith.

6th grade follows We Believe:  We Are God’s People, which focuses on the Old Testament and our journey as the people of God.  

7th grade follows We Live Our Faith as Disciples of Jesus which focuses on God the Father, the life of Jesus, the Sacraments and Discipleship. 

8th grade follows We Live our Faith as Members of the Church.  This year the focus is on Morality, Church History and what it means to be a Catholic.

Science:  Science classes contain many exciting projects for the students to get involved in.  Students learn how to use the scientific method and have the opportunity to participate in a school wide science fair. Many will also compete in the regional science fair held at Colorado Mesa University.

6th grade students focus on Earth Science, studying geology, oceanography, meteorology and astronomy. Some of the projects 6th grade students look forward to participating in include: making solar cookers and an egg drop.

7th grade students focus on Biology.  Students learn about living things, their structures and their environments.  Students get to perform dissections to help them understand body systems and functions.

8th grade students focus on Physical Science.  They learn about the properties of matter and energy.  They will learn about light, sound and electricity.  Students make hot air balloons as part of their investigation of density.  They have even gotten to contact the International Space Station! 8th grade students also learn about forensic science and participate in a crime scene investigation.

Mr. Goldsworthy's FlagsSocial Studies:  All students enjoy learning countries and capitals by playing Around the World and participating in the National Geographic Geography Bee.

6th grade Social Studies focuses on World History covering the time of the Stone Age until World War II.  Students are introduced to the classical world of the Greeks and Romans, the medieval world and the Renaissance.

7th grade Social Studies focuses on World Geography.  Students learn the locations of countries and capitals as well as major geographic features.  Students draw maps of countries and continents and give speeches about places they would like to visit if given the chance.

8th grade Social Studies focuses on American History from the Civil War until the 9/11 attacks.  Students in this class learn about the civil war battlefields, create a Monopoly game of American History from 1920-1945 and create an interview with their favorite person from American history

Technology: Middle School students are introduced to many aspects of technology. Most students are fairly competent with keyboarding by the time they reach Middle School since a big emphasis is put on that skill during the Intermediate grades. Everyone masters the basics of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneDrive.  We also use Google Apps for Education which includes Docs, Sheets, Classroom, Email, Google Drive, and Google Earth  Students are introduced to how computers work and file management.  They  practice photo, sound and video editing.  They acquire some programming skills using Logo, html and  They study 3D modeling and get to print their own models on a 3D printer.  Students get a chance to experiment with robotics using LEGO Mindstorms. 


CreateArt: Students who choose art as their elective develop their creativity, critical thinking and problem solving skills while learning various 2D and 3D mediums/techniques, and most importantly expressing themselves throughout the semester long class. Middle school students come to art three times a week and begin with a 2D drawing unit. Color theory, 3D sculpture/clay and painting are explored with lessons individualized and geared towards student’s interests. Students choose the subject matter while application of techniques, originality, and procedures are graded. Current and past artists are studied along with art across the ages and the world. The Colorado Visual Arts State Standards are taught in every unit of study. Students are given the opportunity to participate in various art shows and contests, including the annual spring middle school Altrusa Art Show hosted by the Art Center in Grand Junction and the HFCS yearbook front cover contest. Sketchbooks are created at the beginning of the semester and used for brainstorming, medium practice and bell ringer sketch prompts. HFCS purchased the first school kiln in 2019 where clay classes have thrived from. Students are taught proper art studio behavior that coincides with our school’s mission. Art class provides an enriching  opportunity for students to reflect, learn from mistakes, self-critique, and experiment while developing an appreciation for themselves, their peers and societies through the lenses of our Creator.


Language Arts:  Middle School Language Arts consists of spelling, grammar, and writing. Grammar is taught with an emphasis on diagramming sentences and carrying over what is learned into their writing pieces. Throughout middle school, students focus on specific skills (depending on the type of writing), build strong sentences using a variety of techniques, and incorporate literary devices to improve writing. All students complete narratives, creative stories, and compare/contrast papers. In eighth grade, students spend a semester devoted to writing a research paper and defending a thesis.

Literature: The Middle School literature classes are designed to introduce students to different book genres and to instill a love of reading that students will carry with them throughout their lives. Students have access to an extensive classroom library as well as the school library.

Students in the sixth grade are introduced to the novel through excerpts from novels that illustrate the elements that make up good literature. Then they read example novels through a series of Book Circles.  Sixth grade students focus on independent reading and critical thinking.  

Seventh graders enjoy an extensive study of Greek and Roman Mythology with presentations and projects. We read the novela The Outsiders and The Giver. We also learn Wonder Words, a vocabulary study from the SAT list.

In eighth grade, students read a version of the Trojan War and the Odyssey to complete their study of Mythology. We explore and study the Holocaust through literature and background research. We read a variety of texts including, The Diary of Anne Frank as a Readers’ Theater, Night by Elie Wiesel and the graphic novel Maus.  We watch witness video interviews and clips and write a reflection paper and project from what we learned. SAT words are our vocabulary. We also have a special writing-creative project entitled “I Imagine” for parents at graduation.

Physical education is an important aspect in childhood development.  Within this class the students learn to foster an understanding about being a good citizen as well as teammate.  My focus is having the students embrace the unknown and be comfortable outside their comfort zones.  My challenge for all the students is to embrace everyday with the mindset of no regrets.  The goal of physical education is to give students the tools and resources to foster healthy and active lifestyles outside of school.  Here at Holy Family Catholic School we participate in middle school athletics with the district.  We offer boys and girls basketball, boys and girls track, and girls volleyball.

6th grade: This is a transitional year into middle school. Topics include operations with fractions, decimals and percents, ratios and rates, integers, algebraic expressions and equations, surface area and volume, and statistical measures and data displays. 6th graders enjoy applying their knowledge of rates and ratios to plan a summer road trip.

7th grade: In seventh grade, students extend and apply many of the concepts they've learned in sixth grade in order to discover new types of relationships, new and efficient ways to solve problems, and new ways to analyze and look at data and associations. Topics include operations with rational numbers, solving algebraic equations, rations, proportions, and percents, circles, angles, probability.

8th grade: Students are preparing for their transition to high school. The goal is that students will be able to communicate mathematical reasoning, use basic and higher-order thinking skills to solve problems, and make connections between mathematics and other disciplines. Topics include multi-step equations, inequalities, graphing linear equations, transformations, real numbers, volume, data analysis, square roots, and exponents.