The Middle School at NEST+m offers an accelerated curriculum with a firm grounding in Science, Social Studies, English Language Arts, and Mathematics, plus exciting courses in Computer Science, Mandarin, Spanish, Theater, Music, Studio Art, Physical Education, and Health. Students follow an A/B schedule, with some of the courses and science labs occurring on alternating days.

Middle Grades Course Sequence

6th Grade 7th Grade 8th Grade
Daily Classes
Honors Math Honors Pre-Algebra Regents Algebra 1
Honors Science Honors Science Regents Living Environment
Honors Social Studies Honors Social Studies Regents US History
PE World Language:
Spanish or Mandarin
World Language:
Spanish or Mandarin
Classes on Alternating Days
4 Specials:
• Studio Art• Band• Computer Science

• Theatre

3 Elective specials:
• Studio Art• Band• Computer Science

• Theatre

2 Elective specials:
• Studio Art• Band• Computer Science

• Theatre


Regents LE Lab

Middle Grades Course Descriptions
Art | English | Health | Library | Literacy | Math | Music | Physical Ed | Science | Social Studies | Theater | World Languages: | Mandarin | Spanish

6th Grade Studio Art: Students explore the fundamentals of drawing, painting and collage through a variety of art projects that explore The Elements of Design in a studio art environment. Students use a variety of mediums and build their art vocabulary and appreciation for the arts.
7th Grade Studio Art: Students further their knowledge of the principles and elements of design with an emphasis on perspective, proportion, scale, and point of view. They also learn about different artists, cultures, and movements and make interdisciplinary connections throughout the year.
8th Grade Studio Art: Students develop an ability to interpret and work in a variety of visual art forms through the study of the elements of design in drawings, paintings, sculptures, collages, and other media. top

6th Grade English Language Arts: The class explores and critically analyzes works of literature, thinking carefully about how they relate to our lives and the world around us. This year we explore the theme of “identity,” through discussions, writing assignments, projects, and literature. Students are expected to read at least 25 books as a way to develop a lifelong love of reading.
7th Grade English Language Arts: This year the class explores the theme of “perspective”: What is perspective and why is it important to explore other points of view? The class will read nonfiction articles from a variety of sources. Students will choose a current issue that is important to them, then research different points of view and write a feature article that examines two or more sides of the issue. The class also develops strategies for reading nonfiction and understanding the structure of nonfiction writing.
8th Grade English Language Arts: This class, which emphasizes reading from multiple genres, independent inquiry, and composition, is designed to prepare students for the rigors of high school English classes. Students will read, analyze, and compare works of American literature from the Civil War period through modern times (authors include Stephen Crane, William Golding, Elie Weisel, and Harper Lee). They will take the New York State ELA exam. top

8th Grade Health: Students follow the HealthSmart curriculum, which helps develop skills necessary for a healthy lifestyle. Topics include mental and emotional health; HIV/AIDS; abstinence and safe sex; tobacco, alcohol, and drug prevention; violence and injury prevention; nutrition; and physical activity. top

Library classes are integrated into classroom instruction. In collaboration with classroom teachers, students are taught research skills while investigating topics covered in their classes. In addition to the resources at the NEST+m library, students will learn how to find information on the Internet, gather sources from the New York Public Library, and use electronic databases. They will also learn how to avoid plagiarism and properly cite their sources. top


6th Grade Math:
In sixth grade there are five units of study:
(1) Rations, Proportions and Percentages
(2) The Number System: with an emphasis on number sense and algorithms for all operations with rational numbers including whole numbers, fractions, decimals and integers.
(3) Expressions & Equations
(4) Geometry
(5) Statistics

This course combines arithmetic, geometry, and statistics with an emphasis on real life mathematics and mastery of skills.  In this course you will be encouraged to make sense of the quantitative nature of our world.  The course has three major components:  conceptual understanding of mathematics, development of problem solving strategies, and the strengthening and expanding of basic skills.

7th Grade Pre-Algebra:
This course has four units of study: Rational Numbers and Exponents, Proportionality and Linear Relationships, Statistics and Probability, and Geometry. Each of these units will make use of both old and new mathematical skills. The work students do in each unit will explore both mathematical concepts and real-world issues.

Throughout this course you will be asked to make sense of mathematical information, develop effective communication skills, learn problem-solving methods, and make connections between mathematical concepts. You are expected to take risks, make mistakes, and learn from those mistakes.

8th Grade Regents Algebra I:
Students in this course learn from the following units of study:
1) Equations, Inequalities, and their Graphs (including Systems)
2) Descriptive Statistics
3) Linear and Exponential Functions
4) Quadratic and Polynomial Expressions, Equations, and Functions

This course culminates in the Algebra I Regents exam in June.  Upon successful completion of both the course and Regents exam, students receive two math credits for High School.  top

6th Grade Band: Students will participate in the Sixth Grade Concert Band (instrument choices include flute, oboe, clarinet, alto saxophone, trumpet, French horn, trombone, baritone horn, and percussion). They will develop instrumental proficiency and music literacy through performance of a repertoire including Western classical music and contemporary concert band literature.
7th Grade Band: Continuing their instrumental studies, students in Seventh Grade Band develop musicality, read music, and work as a team, playing a varied concert repertoire and learning scales, etudes, and chorales.
8th Grade Band: Students further refine their musical skills in Eighth Grade Band. In addition to expanding their range and sight-reading ability, students concentrate on proper intonation, phrasing, and musical interpretation. Selected literature focuses on pieces listed in the NYSSMA (New York State School Music Association) manual. top

The Physical Education program at NEST+m is designed to develop the mental, emotional, physical, and social skills to promote lifelong fitness. Students are introduced to the fundamentals of team and individual sports, which include skills, rules, game strategy, and physical fitness, as well as promoting activities they can integrate into healthy lifestyles. top

6th Grade Project-Based Inquiry Science: PBIS is a nontraditional curriculum that provides students with a rich and engaging experience, enabling them to consider and apply complex science ideas.
7th Grade Project-Based Inquiry Science: Continuation of the PBIS nontraditional curriculum.
8th Grade Regents Living Environment: In preparation for the Living Environment Regents Exam, students meet six times a week (including two lab sessions) to study life sciences. The seven units covered in this course include organization of life; heredity and genetics; evolution; reproduction and development; homeostasis; ecology; and human impact on the environment. top

6th Grade Social Studies: Students study world history from the formation of our planet all the way to the Medieval period. The class explores how our species developed, the beginnings of civilization, and the beginnings of agriculture. They will also study the great ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome.
7th Grade Social Studies: This year, students examine American history from European exploration in the fifteenth century to the Civil War and Reconstruction. One of the primary goals of this course is to utilize a variety of disciplines, including geography, anthropology, economics, and political science, to better understand the history of our nation. An emphasis is placed on the lasting impacts that history has on individual lives and the world at large.
8th Grade Regents US History: In this Regents course, students focus on a chronological study of the history of the United States, and particularly New York State, from the Civil War to the present. While students will look at the actions of presidents and other important figures, they will also focus on how common people lived and acted, comparing the different experiences of various ethnic, religious, and racial groups, social classes, and genders.


6th Grade Introduction to Theater: Introduction to Theater will introduce students to the fundamentals of theatrical expression and performance. We will address how to use the body, imagination, and voice as tools of expression.  We will also focus on the importance of collaboration and ensemble building.  Students will master basic theatrical vocabulary, gain confidence performing in front of an audience, develop a directorial sense of dynamic staging, interpret and analyze text for the purposes of design, direction, and performance, and practice writing for the stage.

7th Grade Acting Workshop: Students in Acting Workshop will learn techniques to hone their control of movement, breath, and voice and to analyze and interpret classical and contemporary texts in order to conceive and execute nuanced and informed performances. Students will engage in movement exercises as an ensemble, solo recitations, and scene study in partnerships and small groups.  Students will also workshop and perform two contrasting monologues as a synthesis of the skills learned in class and in preparation for future auditions.


8th Grade Students
prepare for their Proficiency exam, which will allow them to continue with year two of the same world language, as studied in 8th grade, in High School assuming they meet proficiency level in that language.

6th Grade Mandarin: This beginning course is designed for students with little or no Chinese language background. Over the course of the year, they will acquire the skills to communicate effectively in socially, culturally, and developmentally appropriate ways. They will also be introduced to the writing of Chinese characters and will explore cultural practices and perspectives of Chinese culture.
7th Grade Mandarin: In this course, the goal is for students to attain novice-mid to novice-high proficiency in Mandarin through a standards-based approach. They will give brief oral reports and presentations in each thematic unit, and also write sentences in Chinese characters on the topic covered.

6th Grade Spanish: In this class, students will acquire basic language skills, including listening, reading, speaking, and writing, and will also explore the cultural aspects of different Spanish-speaking countries around the world. Class activities include grammar and vocabulary games, songs, skits, and charades.
7th Grade Spanish: In this class, students continue to improve their listening, reading, speaking, and writing skills.
8th Grade Spanish: Students prepare for their proficiency exam, which will allow them to skip one year of foreign language in High School. By the end of the year, they will be able to communicate basic ideas in Spanish, read and write intermediate texts, and listen to authentic basic Spanish conversations.