Middle School | Gr. 6-8

Authentic Learning

Real World, Real Learning

When students engage in work for real-world audiences they learn on a deeper, more connected level. From 6th to 8th grade, we provide opportunities for students to value their work and connect that work to the world around them. Our teachers strive to create authentic learning experiences in every class, in every discipline.

Speak for a Cause, Inspire Change

Each 8th-grade student writes and delivers a speech that is both personal and research-based to advocate for a local, national, or global cause. The speeches are inspired by their summer reading, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, an extraordinary true story conveying that the human spirit, innovation, and advocacy can surpass struggle and hardship. The novel fosters the idea that the essence and power of a single person’s capacity can enhance the community and its people.

Many 8th graders say this is one of the biggest challenges of their middle school experience, but also the most satisfying. Delivering these speeches gives every 8th grader a chance to find their voice, explore their purpose, and encourage reflection and action in those around them. Click here to learn more.

Storytelling That Connects

Every May, 6th graders write and deliver "This I Believe" compositions. Modeled after the NPR program that asked contributors to share their core beliefs in a storytelling format, the project asks students to consider what they value in their lives and reflect on novels from their language arts study.

During the writing process, students reflect, "How do my values connect with the experiences, challenges, and worldviews of the characters I've read about this year?" The project encourages text-to-self connections and inspires our 6th graders to think deeply about their values. Then they bravely take the podium to share their reflections with classmates and parents as they say goodbye to their first year of Middle School. Read more about the project here. 

Shining a Light on Creativity

Middle schoolers can share their creative works — poems, short stories, visual arts, music, and more — at one of two coffeehouses sponsored by The Admirals' Pen literary magazine. This experience gives middle schoolers an authentic audience for their creative enterprises. Led entirely by our students with the support of their parents, the event embraces the true spirit of a coffeehouse complete with warm beverages and an artistic backdrop. 

The magazine itself is edited, formatted, and published once a year by students in The Admirals' Pen elective. The publication includes submissions from the entire Middle School community. This elective class is a creative outlet for aspiring writers and artists, one that builds camaraderie and provides our students with an authentic space to celebrate the many talents of their peers. Click here for the most recent edition of the magazine.

Designing for the Real World

We have several opportunities for students to develop the innovator's mindset during their middle school years. Part of our Transition to Teel program, every sixth grader takes Design Thinking and Innovation as an introduction to Severn's "Engineer by Design" methodology and all of the tools in the Graw Innovation Center. We also offer Innovative Design Challenges as an elective for 7th graders. And we dedicate a morning to communication, engineering and design challenges with Middle School Innovation Day each year. Click here to read about Innovation Day 2020!

Through each of these experiences, our students harness the power of the design thinking process to construct meaningful solutions to real-world needs, using sophisticated technology like 3D printers and a laser system. Beyond learning the tools of the trade, students learn to think like engineers as they apply their creativity and knowledge to better define, analyze and solve problems. These are the types of skills they will use in high school, college and beyond.

Lower School

Preschool-Grade 5
Chesapeake Campus
1185 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd
Arnold, MD 21012

Upper School

Grade 6-12
Teel Campus
Severna Park, MD 21146