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 skill level 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 our Creativity and Design Program, with Creators Class, a course takes place in our Center for Creativity & Design that focuses on using the design process to make hands-on projects with 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.

List of 11 items.

  • Mathematics

    In seventh grade, most students are placed into either Pre-Algebra or Pre-Algebra Advanced. After Pre-Algebra, students take Algebra I Part 1, Algebra I, Algebra 1 Advanced, or Extended Topics in Algebra and Geometry (ETAG). Following coursework in algebra, students take Geometry or Geometry Advanced, which is then followed by Algebra II, depending on prior mathematics coursework, standardized testing, and/or teacher recommendation.

    Based on a student’s ability to work independently and persevere with problems, along with their past mathematical performance, they are 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 writing skills with particular emphasis on well-structured paragraphs and more abstract thinking and writing. Writing with precision is emphasized and practiced through frequent composition assignments. Students focus on identifying and understanding the elements of grammar in 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, focusing their attention on stories of immigration, homecoming, and belonging, beginning with Jerry Craft’s New Kid as a summer reading text, and continuing with Adi Alsaid’s collection Come on In and Julia Alvarez’s Before We Were Free. Seventh graders are introduced to the work of Shakespeare through an in-depth examination of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, after which they read a wide selection of myths from Edith Hamilton’s classic Mythology, many of which are connected to the Ancient World Cultures curriculum. As they read, students learn the main tools of literary analysis, focusing their attention on plot, setting, irony, theme, and character, mood, and the basics of poetic rhythm and meter. 
    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 and learn to  identify sentence elements such as subjects, predicates, and direct and indirect objects. This grammar instruction, coupled with a workshop-style writing curriculum, cultivates deep thinking and builds confidence in written and oral expression. As with all grades in the Upper School, seventh graders participate in the Upper School Speech Contest and the Scull Essay contest.
  • Ancient World Cultures

    Ancient World Cultures is a comprehensive study of seven different ancient civilizations, each of which made significant contributions to the growth and development of culture around the world. Students study the prehistoric tribes of Ethiopia and the first formal civilization of Mesopotamia; then students explore the cultures, economies, and governments of ancient Egypt, India, Greece, Rome, and China. The year culminates with an in-depth look at the Inca, Aztec, and Mayan peoples of Latin America, focusing on how they laid the cultural foundations for the modern civilizations throughout the region. In addition to looking at the cultural universals of each civilization, students learn the basic geography of each region and explore advancements in art, religion, literature, and architecture. Students practice note-taking, critical thinking, debate, analytical writing, and historical research through class discussions, short essays, and other project-based assessments.
  • 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  and build on the practices from the Lower School. Students who demonstrate success in Upper School science courses will be able to:
    • Ask questions and define problems
    • Construct explanations and design solutions
    • 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 learn the structure and function of organs and organ systems within the human body. Students learn principles of 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 help students to build upon the analytical skills acquired in lower grades. Throughout the year, students produce independent projects that develop 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 options that include Bass or Treble Chorale, Bells, String Ensemble, Band, and Music Exploration. The courses 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’ 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
    • Ceramic mask-making
    • Principles of linocut
  • Drama 7

    Seventh grade drama is a year-long course in which students pursue a holistic exploration of theater arts. As students participate in units on acting, directing, design, and playmaking, they develop an appreciation for the collaborative nature of the theater and an understanding of each essential component of a successful theatrical production.
  • Creators Class

    In seventh grade, Creators Class takes place in Fay's Center for Creativity & Design 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 generate 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
    Through a series of hands-on design briefs, students practice identifying problems, ideating through understanding, crafting, iterating solutions and presenting their ideas to peers and industry experts.
  • Wellness 7

    Topics in seventh grade Wellness classes include identity, accepting others’ differences, stereotyping, bullying prevention and response, mindfulness, conflict resolution, boundaries, stress management, and substance use and abuse through the lens of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Wellness classes allow students to feel comfortable exploring challenging topics in a way most relevant to their experiences, focusing on self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.

  • 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.
main number 508-490-8250
admission 508-490-8201