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Academics

Middle School Curriculum
 

Students at Iron Academy are provided with a rigorous academic program based on our Targeted Learning Philosophy while being taught from a Biblical worldview. Our desire at Iron Academy is for each student to develop a strong personal relationship with Jesus Christ while growing into a biblical young man who can change the world.

Our school day is organized such that students have five academic courses and a study hall period each day.  We use a modified block schedule with History and Science classes being 90 minutes each day and lasting for one semester and Math, Bible, and PE classes being 45 minutes each day and lasting the entire school year.   Because we put a high emphasis on English Language Arts to build greater proficiency in reading and writing, our ELA curriculum is 90 minutes for the entire school year. Each 90 minute class period includes a “brain break” at the midpoint of the class period in which the students do a few minutes of rigorous physical activity, which research shows stimulates the brain and promotes better learning.  

Twice per year we take a break from our regular curriculum and offer elective courses in the format of all day courses for three or four days.  Our course descriptions below give details about these electives.

M.A.N. Training

A very unique experience for our middle school students is our Maturing Achieving Nurturing (M.A.N.) Training program. Each year of middle school brings its special challenges and opportunities. Accordingly, the IA M.A.N. Training targets each grade differently. 

Sixth graders get an entire year patiently devoted to building executive function skills (e.g., how to effectively use a planner, which books to take home, creating homework strategies, setting and achieving goals, organizing a locker, storing homework properly, exercising self-control). 

Seventh graders receive similar instruction in the first semester but transition to focusing more on honor-code living and relationship-building in the second semester, as chemical and physical changes turn them into creatures much more like eighth graders than sixth graders. 

For eighth graders, these young men are progressing rapidly through an uncomfortable, albeit necessary, transition in their bodies, their brains, their hormones, and their relationship with God. Though some of them might still benefit from executive training, the Iron community needs them to focus on who they are as individuals and how they interact with their immediate community. They must be shepherded carefully through this year. While none of us has any “control” over the decisions they reach about their faith, we all have a vested interest in helping them “survive” the eighth grade ready to thrive upon entering high school. We find young men who own their relationship with Christ after this eighth-grade struggle do indeed thrive in high school.

M.A.N. Training at Iron Academy is more than a clever acronym. It is a time for young men to grow in God-honoring ways from elementary boyhood to becoming veritable young men. 

Leadership Opportunities

Although our middle school students can look forward to having more leadership opportunities in their high school years, we do have opportunities for three 7th and 8th grade students to serve as their Middle School Tribe Leader  each quarter. The MS Tribe Leaders will assist their High School Tribe Leaders in managing their tribe’s daily chores. Students who are interested in being a tribe leader must submit an application that will be approved by school administrators and will be on a ballot to be voted on by their tribe members.

Middle School Curriculum

The middle school curriculum is designed to solidify students’ educational foundation and prepare young men for the rigor of our college-preparatory high school academic program. Below are brief course descriptions to explain our curriculum. 

English Language Arts: The underlying objective in all ELA classes is for each student to examine the worldviews that manifest themselves in language and literature and compare and contrast them from a biblical perspective. All students will develop age appropriate creative literary abilities and solid analytical skills while learning how to use them for the glory of God and the furtherance of the gospel. Reading is a vital part of knowing God and His Word. God desires that our thoughts and communications reflect HIS truth, goodness and beauty. An important part of developing such skills is mastering the ability to read those things which are true, good, and beautiful (Psalm 19:1).  Our ELA courses are very interactive with reading projects and critical thinking activities that appeal to middle school males.    

Mathematics: The underlying objective in math is for each student to have a greater understanding of God’s character by looking at the order and nature of His creation.   God is not a God of chaos, and arithmetic demonstrations the divine organization and structure of our world. In sixth grade, students use the Saxon Math Course 2 curriculum that reviews basic mathematical concepts and applies them to new algebraic and  geometric material. In seventh grade, students advance to the Saxon Math course 3 that combines many elements of math including: algebra, geometry, rates, and portions in preparation for Algebra I in eighth grade. The Algebra I course covers systems of equations, probability, and the nonlinear functions of quadratics, polynomials, exponentials, roots, and rational functions.  For students who are very advanced in their understanding of math, they may also take Geometry while in middle school.

Science: The goal of our science curriculum is for students to master using scientific tools to understand God’s creation. Our middle school science curriculum introduces students to the various studies within science to prepare them for high school science courses.  In sixth grade, we offer Human Anatomy and Physiology. In seventh grade, students take General Science that includes the history of science, scientific inquiry, experimental design and analysis, earth sciences, and life sciences.  All theory introduced is further supported with engaging labs to deepen understanding of the topics being taught. In eighth grade, students take our Physical Science course that introduces them to the concepts and skills of chemistry and physics.

History: The study of history challenges our students to see God’s work through human history and learn to contrast biblical principles with differences in human morals.  History will develop their critical thinking skills to judge and critique the values of ancient kings to modern day political leaders through the lens of biblical manhood.  Our sixth grade history course is Ancient World History, followed by the seventh grade course in World History. In eighth grade, students learn United States History.

Bible: The primary objective of our Bible courses is for each student to practice and value the skill of story-telling.  Students will gain confidence in sharing Scripture orally, which as believers we are instructed to share the good news of God’s Word (Mark 16:15).  The secondary goal is to show students the intricately woven plot of God’s story to us coming to fruition through His Son. Sixth grade will study the Old Testament, seventh grade will study the New Testament, and eighth grade will study the Life of Christ.  

Health and Physical Education: Our Health and PE curriculum engages students with active lessons on having a healthy lifestyle and learning the rules and style of play for various sports and activities.

Intensive Week Electives: Our Intensive Week courses develop students academically and in biblical manhood.  Both fall and spring semesters include Intensive Week courses. For sixth grade, students learn Orienteering each fall from a former Navy SEAL and study Art History I in the spring.  In seventh grade, students have a course in Life Skills (how to do various household tasks including car repair) in the fall and take Art History II in the spring. In eighth grade, students go on a camping excursion for the course titled “Unplugged: A Discipleship Campout” in the fall and take Fundamentals of Art in the spring.  Our art curriculum involves students in creating art pieces in various mediums and aligns with our history curriculum. Students may also receive elective credit for Yearbook and being a Tribe Leader.