This program recognizes the fact that students in the sixth grade are quickly moving into adolescence, and as such have different physical, emotional, and cognitive needs. Students meet weekly to collaborate on several projects, such as community service projects, the planning of their year-end trip to Montreal, and a field trip to a working organic farm, for example.
In addition to their regular curriculum in mathematics and geometry, sixth grade students participate in a weekly algebra seminar. Over the course of the year, they are exposed to concepts that are typically covered in seventh and ninth grade algebra. Using hands-on materials, students learn to factor polynomials, multiply the factors to produce the polynomial or quadratic equation, and divide one factor into a polynomial to produce the other factor. The students work individually or in small groups, often coaching one another.
The sixth grade year culminates in a trip to Montreal, Canada. Students begin fundraising in the fall, selling honey and running coat checks at school events, among other things. In addition to raising all the monies for this trip, they research, budget, and plan for all aspects of their trip, making it their own. Collaboration, consensus decision making and shared leadership are all components of the trip and the entire Sixth Grade Leadership Program.