The Foundation for a Meaningful Life
Kindergarten - Grade 9 in Southborough, MA
Upper School

Grade Seven

Grade Seven Overview

Our seventh grade includes day students from Fay’s Lower School, new day students from surrounding communities, and seventh grade boarding students from around the nation and the world. Courses in math, English, history, and science are required for all seventh graders, and differentiated instruction in small classes allows close teacher-student connections to flourish. Mathematics and world language placements ensure that students study material appropriate to their level of ability and move at a pace that allows them to build on previous knowledge. All seventh graders take art, music, and wellness. In addition, students are immersed in the Innovation Lab with the Creator’s Curriculum, a course that focuses on designing and making hands-on projects using both simple and sophisticated tools, such as 3D printers and laser cutters. Throughout seventh grade, a focus on critical thinking, introspection, and problem solving helps students establish a solid academic foundation.

Download: Grade Seven Program Overview

List of 10 items.

  • Mathematics

    Based on a student’s ability to work independently and persevere with problems, along with his or her past mathematical performance, he or she is placed into one of our Upper School math courses. We recognize that students at this age develop at different rates and appreciate that there is more than one path through the math curriculum; for that reason, we conduct careful student placement in the spring of each year to ensure that each student is appropriately challenged. Click here to see detailed descriptions for all Upper School math course offerings.
  • English 7

    Seventh grade English stresses the development of good writing with particular emphasis on the need for well-structured paragraphs and more abstract thinking and writing. Frequent composition assignments continue the emphasis on writing with precision. Students focus on identifying and understanding the elements of grammar in conjunction with their own writing. In the study of literature, students begin to identify themes and their relationship to life experiences as well as examples of figurative language. Students study vocabulary in order to develop a more sophisticated written and spoken command of English.

    Students build reading comprehension and analytical skills through their reading. The year begins with an in-depth study of poetry, including poems from Czeslaw Milosz’s international anthology A Book of Luminous Things. Students also read a wide selection of novels. Examples from recent years include Iqbal by Francesco D’Adamo, Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba, Samurai’s Garden by Gail Tsukiyama, The Only Road by Alexandra Diaz, and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

    Students may also read a range of short stories.  By focusing on plot, setting, irony, theme, and character, all students are able to take notes and produce discussion questions in unique ways. After mastering the fundamental elements of story and structure, students move on to more contemporary and diverse forms of literary expression.

    Throughout the year, seventh graders review and expand their grammar skills, with a focus on using parts of speech correctly, varying sentence beginnings, formalizing language, and using proper punctuation and capitalization. Students also explore sentence structure, learning to identify sentence elements such as subjects, predicates, and direct and indirect objects.
  • World Cultures

    In World Cultures, seventh graders explore the ideas, concepts, and influences that contribute to the development of culture, such as geography, economics, government, history, and religion. Over the course of the year, students explore different regions around the world and examine the aspects of culture in order to develop an understanding and appreciation of each region’s unique cultural identity or identities.

    As students explore each region, the read and analyze information from a range of media. Using primary and secondary sources, maps, and a variety of digital resources, students work to further develop their abilities to interpret and articulate their understanding of the topics and perspectives presented. Students engage in class discussions, presentations, and debates, and they develop research and writing skills.
  • Life Science 7

    Upper School science practices have been adopted from the National Resource Council’s A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (2012) and directly build upon the practices from the Lower School. Students who demonstrate success in upper school science courses will be able to:
    • Ask questions (for science) and define problems (for engineering)
    • Construct explanations (for science) and design solutions (for engineering)
    • Plan and carry out investigations
    • Analyze and interpret data
    • Use mathematics and computational thinking to solve problems
    • Develop and use models
    • Participate in evidence-based arguments
    • Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information

    Life Science introduces students to the basic principles of biology and health science. Students learn to classify living organisms and begin to study relationships between humans and other animals on Earth. They study cell structure and function, and they also learn the structure and function of organs and organ systems within the human body. Students learn basic genetics and explore how genetic variations of traits in a population increase a species’ probability of survival. Students study the anatomy of the human body, and they also study the biology of the natural world with an in-depth look at our local water systems.  Films, microscope slides, computer simulations, laboratory exercises, and outdoor activities complement the text and allow students to build upon the analytical skills acquired in lower grades. Throughout the year, students produce independent projects stressing vital problem solving skills they will use in future science courses.
  • World Languages

    Upon entering the Upper School, students select a world language to study. Students choose from French, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, and Latin. Placement in all levels is based upon the student’s prior experience in the language, teacher recommendations, and a placement test. 
    Click here to see a detailed list of all Upper School world language course offerings.
  • Music

    The music faculty is committed to the concept of "learning by doing" and recognizes the value of performance in every student’s experience. Each year, Upper School students choose a music course from an array of options that include choir, bells, string ensemble, band, and basic musicianship. The courses are designed to extend the theory and performance skills developed in the Lower School, but students new to Fay will also find that they can succeed in a beginning-level ensemble with little or no previous musical experience. Click here to see a complete list of music offerings.
  • Art 7

    The seventh grade program is designed to develop students’ small motor skills, social skills, and visual literacy. Students participate in interdisciplinary and multicultural projects, learn about art history, and take advantage of resources within the school and community. Students learn about the proper care and use of materials and are encouraged to respect the work of others. Students have regular opportunities to practice and refine their drawing skills. Projects include painting, collage, sculpture, printmaking, cut paper, ceramics, and other two- and three-dimensional works. Exhibit opportunities exist in the larger community, our online gallery, and the School.
    Students who successfully complete the seventh grade art program will be able to use media and tools appropriately, maintain a clean and productive workspace, and demonstrate understanding of the following concepts:
    • Facial proportions
    • Shade and gradient with pencil
    • Two-point perspective
    • Cultural diversity through ceramic mask-making
    • Principles of linocut
  • Creators Class

    In seventh grade, Creators Class takes place in Fay's Innovation Lab twice per rotation. The course is designed to build each student's creative confidence and focuses on the following themes:
    • Design thinking, an empathy-based problem solving mindset and process, to help students identify problems and possible solutions
    • Basic electronics, to do basic programming of circuit boards
    • Digital fabrication, to design and build 2D and 3D objects using the school's laser cutter, vinyl cutter, and 3D printing technologies
    Our ultimate goal is to give students the ability to isolate a problem they want to solve and to spend the latter part of the year designing and building solutions.
  • Wellness 7

    Seventh grade Wellness classes are gender-specific. Topics may include sexual development, nutrition, accepting others’ differences, stereotyping, bullying prevention and response, mindfulness, conflict resolution, boundaries, cyber safety and responsible use of technology, keeping one’s self safe, stress management, and tobacco and alcohol awareness. The single-gender classes provide students the opportunity to feel comfortable exploring challenging topics in a way that is most relevant to their experiences.
  • Athletics

    The athletics program takes place every day following academic classes. All students in grades seven through nine are required to participate daily in all three terms. Students choose from an array of interscholastic sports and intramural activities (one per term). Students may try out for competitive interscholastic teams or join an intramural team or activity. However, all students are required to participate in at least one interscholastic sports team each year. Click here for the complete list of athletic options.