Mequon-Thiensville School District

Middle School

Core Curriculum

The middle school curriculum prepares students to transition successfully from elementary school to high school and into a wide array of postsecondary options. Rigor and relevance are key components of the core curriculum, which consists of English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.

English Language Arts

English language arts (ELA) is taught using the integrated literacy model of instruction. Reading, writing, speaking, thinking and listening are interrelated. Sub skills of the literacy program, such as spelling, grammar and vocabulary analysis are taught and reinforced through a unified curriculum. Technology is utilized as a research tool and curriculum crosswalks ensure students are taught digital citizenship.


The goals of the middle school mathematics curriculum are to help all students develop their abilities to reason logically, apply mathematical skills to real-life situations, and communicate and justify their mathematical ideas (strategies and solutions) and arguments in a variety of ways using appropriate vocabulary, equations, and visual models. As part of our approach to the curriculum, teachers ensure that students experience learning opportunities that connect conceptual understanding with real world applications to build powerful mathematical thinking and expand mathematical proficiency, develop critical thinking through high-level questioning, and use concrete and visual models and mathematical diagrams (appropriate to each grade) to bring meaning to abstract mathematical concepts, procedures, and properties. Finally, all students will be guaranteed an Algebra 1 experience by the time they leave middle school.


The science curriculum challenges all students to become scientifically literate. Across all three middle school grade levels, the curriculum includes units in the areas of earth, life and physical sciences. Studies promote curiosity about everyday experiences and the ability to describe, explain and predict natural phenomena. Units of study include a hands-on and a technology rich approach using inquiry, problem-solving, and critical/creative thinking. Students become familiar with modes of scientific inquiry, rules of evidence, logical argument, and skeptical review. Flexible grouping is used to meet the needs of all learners and prepare our middle school students for the “Biology First” experience they will experience in ninth grade.

Social Studies

The social studies curriculum helps students understand their world and their role within it. The curriculum teaches students about the past, while challenging them to connect past with the present, then consider implications for the future. Embedded throughout the course are studies in political science and citizenship, economics, behavioral sciences, geography, historical events and influences and current events.

Other Curriculum Areas

The middle school years are characterized by students’ growing development of their unique set of talents and interests. We provide opportunities for students to deepen their understanding of self through courses in visual, performing and related arts, world languages, and physical education.

Computer Science

As our world continues to utilize technology in all aspects of life, it is important that our students learn the skills needed to use technology effectively and efficiently. Our computer science programs provides introduction to those learning experiences through three perspectives: problem-solving, the Internet, and programming. The computer science courses not only provide hands-on computer work, but also numerous activities which require collaboration and team solution development.

Visual Arts

In art courses, students develop and enrich basic skills such as drawing, composition, design and color theory utilizing a variety of media choices explored through both two and three-dimensional projects. Students also learn about the impact of art on their daily lives through hands-on art activities. 21st century skills are infused into the art curriculum at all levels.

Performing Arts

Through course offerings in the performing arts three times a week, students in grades 6, 7, and 8 have the opportunity to develop their artistic gifts in the school’s band, choral, and orchestra programs. In these courses, students expand their knowledge of music history, music theory, and are exposed to musical literature in a variety of forms and styles while continuing to hone their craft leading up to high school. As students progress through the middle school performing arts programming, they showcase their talents and take pride in their musicianship.

World Language

The middle school World Languages program is designed to prepare our students to enter high school ready for the second level in French, Latin or Spanish. These courses focus on vocabulary development through the introduction of grammar points, verb conjugations and cultural aspects.

Project Lead the Way

This program prepares students to be the next generation of problem solvers, critical thinkers and innovators for the global economy by incorporating a variety of projects in the field of technology and engineering. Students will work independently and in teams to utilize computer aided drafting, geometry and project management skills to compete projects that reflect real world problems and issues.

Family and Consumer Science

Family and Consumer Science curriculum consists of a variety of topics, such as health and nutrition, dietary needs, leadership, teen issues, family, careers, community service, entrepreneurship, job skills, managing life, consumerism, culture of food, food customs and traditions along with goal setting, babysitting safety, kitchen safety and sanitation. This course is an interactive course where students have the ability to refine their skills through numerous hands-on projects.

Financial Literacy

This course provides students with practical money management skills and introduces them to career assessments and financial planning. Students explore careers, the fundamentals of money management and consumer responsibility, bank services, credit and credit scores, and risk management. Junior Achievement is also utilized via the Economics for Success coursework.


The seven dimensions of wellness (physical, nutritional, social, intellectual, emotional, occupational, and environmental) are introduced in this course. Students take part in a variety of activities and assessment that broaden their knowledge in each dimension of wellness. Students learn basic nutrition information, appropriate first aid techniques, the components of fitness and how drugs affect behaviors and decisions.

Physical Education

Physical education is a part of all students’ curriculum throughout middle school. Physical education classes provide each student with the opportunity to participate in a comprehensive program consisting of skill development, team sports and physical fitness activities. The curriculum is designed to enhance the cognitive, motor, affective and fitness development of each student. Students receive instruction in rules and strategies associated with a variety of sports, as well as learning experiences that prompt students to question, analyze and communicate concepts. Students also have the opportunity to participate in individual sports, which encourage lifelong involvement in physical activity. The program promotes the spirit of cooperation, leadership, fair play and friendly competition.