Grades 6 to 10 IB Curriculum
The Middle Years Program Curriculum Guide
Dwight School offers the Middle Years Program of the International Baccalaureate in Grades 6 through 10. What follows is the complete curriculum guide for this program.
Please note that while this guide reflects the current and/or upcoming academic year offerings, courses are subject to change. Families are encouraged to inquire with our Head of Middle School, Ron Posner, via firstname.lastname@example.org about any specific courses or subject areas of interest in grades 6-8; and with Head of Upper School, Eric Dale, via email@example.com about courses or subject areas in grades 9-10.
- Language and Literature
- Individuals and Societies
- World Languages
- Visual and Performing Arts
- Physical and Health Education
- Service as Action
- Student Activities
- Travel Abroad
The Middle Years Program (MYP) provides a framework of academic rigor that encourages students to embrace and understand the connections between traditional subjects and the real world. Learning encourages students to become creative, critical, and reflective thinkers through the use of the IB Learner Profile attributes.
The MYP is designed to:
- Teach a broad base of disciplines;
- Teach not only the subject content but also how to apply the content in different contexts;
- Promote learning in multiple subjects concurrently and identifying linkages through concepts;
- Encourage the use of a variety of teaching methodologies;
- Emphasize development of the whole student, including the affective, cognitive, creative, and physical; and
- Empower students to participate in service.
The MYP curriculum requires mastery of eight subjects: Language and Literature, Language Acquisition, Individuals and Societies, Sciences, Mathematics, Physical and Health Education, Design, and Arts. Through the approaches to learning, students develop communication, social, self-management, research, and thinking skills to be successful in the classroom and beyond. MYP teachers use internationally published IB assessment criteria as a benchmark for their grading. Dwight teachers use these criteria regularly in our courses to help students track progress and identify possible areas for improvement. Teachers provide a variety of assessment tasks, such as open-ended activities, investigations, organized debates, hands-on experimentations, and reflections, allowing students to demonstrate their achievement according to the determined criteria. In addition, the MYP provides experiential learning through service, whereby students take planned action and reflect on their personal growth.
The MYP culminates with the submission of a Personal Project in grade ten, an independent, eight-month long assignment that showcases the skills that students have developed throughout the five years of their MYP studies. The project is a rich opportunity for students to create an extended piece of work that challenges their own creativity and thinking about personal issues and to share their experiences throughout the process with the school community at an exhibition. Graded against a rigorous set of IB criteria, the Personal Project is not only an integral part of the MYP, but also a continuation requirement for students moving towards the Diploma Program.
Dwight’s English Department strives to help students become better readers, writers, listeners, speakers, and thinkers. The curriculum design and instruction are based on the belief that incisive questions have a value greater than the mere clarity of their answers. Through this philosophy, students are helped to see the merit of inquiry and reflection. A strong foundation in writing conventions such as grammar, vocabulary, mechanics, and style is also an integral part of students’ intellectual development. Dwight students are consistently encouraged to improve their writing through proofreading, editing, and revision. Through the internationally published MYP Language and Literature Criteria, grades 6-10 students are assessed on the following areas: analyzing, organizing, producing text, and using language.
English teachers at Dwight love literature, and their passion fuels classroom discussions on a daily basis. Students respond to literature through oral and written communication, enabling them to develop and refine their command of the English language. They read novels, poetry, and drama from a diverse range of authors, cultures, and time periods, in order to understand how literature can be both a mirror and a magnifying glass — reflecting and focusing us on aspects of our own identities as well as the world around us.
The English Department demonstrates and celebrates these values through writing contests, performance competitions, and an unceasing commitment to Dwight’s students.
- Language and Literature 6
- Language and Literature 7
- Language and Literature 8
- Language and Literature 9
- Language and Literature 10
Grade 6 Language and Literature incorporates all of the fundamental skills of literacy. Students examine themes that directly impact their lives, such as change, choice, identity, and community. They also explore literary elements and figurative language through the close study of works including selected scenes from William Shakespeare; Lois Lowry’s Newbery Medal-winning novel The Giver; Linda Sue Park’s novel A Long Walk to Water; and short stories from a wide variety of authors, time periods, and perspectives. Summer reading is integral to the start of the year while supplemental workshops encourage and facilitate independent reading throughout the school year. Woven into the literature curriculum is a sharp focus on grammar, mechanics, spelling, and vocabulary. Students strengthen their knowledge of vocabulary through multiple types of assessments and practical applications in the WordlyWise program. Writing includes essays, memoirs, fantasies, poetry, and personal speeches.
Grade 7 Language and Literature students read a range of texts including Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders, William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and short stories and poetry from a variety of authors, time periods, and perspectives. Each text is examined through both a thematic and a stylistic lens, dictated by the unit’s guiding questions. As a means of deepening their connection to the literature, students are consistently asked to make text-to-self connections and generate personal responses to the readings. Writing skills are a focus in the classroom and in assessments. Students practice organizing and drafting formal essays, with particular emphasis on the use of textual evidence and argument. Other assessments include analytical tests, group and individual oral presentations, visual projects, acting performances, debates, and creative writing pieces. In addition, students are consistently presented with vocabulary, spelling, and grammar-building exercises designed to improve their writing and language skills. Students strengthen their knowledge of vocabulary through multiple types of assessments and practical applications in the WordlyWise program.
Grade 8 Language and Literature is a literature-centered course that emphasizes the development of active reading and comprehension skills. Students learn to generate clear, concise prose and apply textual evidence in their writing. Vocabulary, spelling, grammar, and mechanics are regularly incorporated into the literature curriculum, which, in part, runs parallel to the social studies curriculum. Themes of self-assertion, prejudice, integrity, and injustice are explored in Sherman Alexie’s Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian; Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, and Nobel Prize Winner William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, while linguistic devices and plot techniques are studied in William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Assessments for the course include persuasive and personal essays, visual projects, unit tests, weekly quizzes, speeches, and regular written exercises. Students strengthen their knowledge of vocabulary through multiple types of assessments and practical applications in the WordlyWise program.
Grade 9 Language and Literature is a course designed to build upon the Middle School curriculum and to develop the more challenging reading, writing, and critical thinking skills demanded of the International Baccalaureate program. Students read and analyze Octavia Butle's Parable of the Sowe, J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in The Rye, Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, and selected poetry and short stories. Despite the differences in style, voice, and genre, these units share common themes centered on free will, fate, and the evolution of one’s own identity. Class discussions compel students to ponder how cultural, religious, and political contexts affect the development of the individual and of society. Written assessments include formal essays, personal reflections, persuasive speeches, and various creative pieces. The writing curriculum is enhanced through regular lessons and assessments on grammar, mechanics, and vocabulary.
Grade 10 Language and Literature is the last course of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program, ultimately preparing students for the rigors of the two-year Diploma Program. The curriculum includes Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, Reginald Rose’s Twelve Angry Men, William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, selected poetry, and short stories. As students read and analyze these texts on the turbulent intersections of identity and fate, they make connections to past works and to their own lives. They also learn to trace the development of recurring themes, narrative perspectives, and literary devices that transcend genre, time, and culture. The course provides a range of opportunities for oral and written expression, including tests, essays, dramatic scenes, Socratic seminars, and debates. The curriculum is supplemented by regular lessons and assessments on grammar and vocabulary.
The ultimate goal of the Mathematics Department is for students to gain a thorough understanding of the key concepts in math and to be able to apply these concepts at the level appropriate to their mathematical development and aptitude. Students are expected to know and use mathematical concepts and skills appropriately. Students are encouraged to develop computational and manipulative skills that will help them in all aspects of problem solving. Whenever possible, students will appreciate the cultural and utilitarian aspects of mathematics and its applicability to other subjects and everyday life. Through the internationally published MYP Mathematics Criteria, grades 6-10 students are assessed on the following areas: knowing and understanding, investigating patterns, communicating, and applying mathematics in real-life contexts.
Our math teachers understand the learning needs of our students and employ different techniques to accommodate different backgrounds and cater to their learning styles. We strive to make our courses enjoyable, accessible, and appropriately challenging for each student. Starting in grade 6, we offer different levels of math, accelerating those who have a strong aptitude one or even two levels beyond their grade. We also offer courses designed to focus on strengthening foundational skills for those students who need it. At all levels, the focus is to enhance students’ problem solving skills and develop their analytical abilities.
We regularly encourage students to participate in the American Math Competitions and in summer courses for talented students conducted by our online school, Dwight Global, or well-known universities.
- Math 6
- Algebra I
- Geometry with Algebra
- Geometry with Algebra Foundations
- Geometry Honors
- Geometry Foundations
- Algebra II & Trigonometry
- Algebra II & Trigonometry Honors
- Algebra II & Trigonometry Foundations
- Advanced Algebra & Calculus I
- Advanced Algebra & Calculus I Honors
The Mathematics 6 course is designed for students to use their critical thinking skills and recognize the existence of mathematics in the world around them. The curriculum provides students with a strong background in numbers, operations, and arithmetic, allowing them to be successful in subsequent mathematics courses. Throughout the course, students work collaboratively and independently, and learn to critique their peers’ work. Students apply their skills towards graphing, logic, rational numbers, order of operations, data analysis, probability and statistics, and geometry. This course provides students with many opportunities to demonstrate their mastery of mathematics.
Pre-algebra is an introductory algebra course. The course is designed to introduce students to abstract mathematics concepts and thinking and begin to develop the concept of pro-numeration. Students learn how to apply mathematical expressions, equations, and graphs to various real-life examples and how to represent situations using multiple facets. Students apply their algebra skills through graphing, order of operations, linear equations, linear inequalities, logic, rational and irrational numbers, radicals, proportions, and applications of percentages. This course provides students many opportunities to demonstrate their mastery of pre-algebra.
Algebra I focuses on the elementary rules of mathematics, building a strong foundation for future mathematics courses. The curriculum includes solving and graphing linear equations and inequalities, simplifying exponential and radical expressions, and exploring polynomials. Students learn various ways to solve quadratic and rational equations. Discussions are frequent to relate these topics to various real-life situations.
The first part of this course focuses on elementary rules of mathematics, providing students with the skills needed for future mathematics courses. Students focus on solving and graphing linear equations and inequalities, as well as polynomials.
The course then transitions to Geometry with a focus on the theorems of Euclid with some formal proofs, but an emphasis on the understanding of the concepts and properties of these theorems and an application to numerical and problem-solving situations. After the study of triangle properties, students are introduced to the three basic trigonometric ratios and their application to real-life situations. Students work on problems involving two and three-dimensional objects and the calculation of area, surface area, and volume.
The curriculum is supplemented by content and strategies designed to help prepare students for the mathematics component of the SAT and ACT standardized tests.
The first part of this course focuses on elementary rules of mathematics, building a strong foundation for future mathematics courses. Students focus on solving and graphing linear equations and inequalities, as well as polynomials.
The course then transitions to Geometry with a focus on the theorems of Euclid with an emphasis on the understanding of the concepts and properties of these theorems and an application to numerical and problem-solving situations. After the study of triangle properties, students are introduced to the three basic trigonometric ratios and their application to real-life situations. Students work on problems involving two and three-dimensional objects and the calculation of area, surface area, and volume.
The curriculum is supplemented by content and strategies designed to help prepare students for the mathematics component of the SAT and ACT standardized tests.
This course focuses on the theorems of Euclid, with some formal proofs, but an emphasis on the understanding of the concepts and properties of these theorems and an application to numerical and problem solving situations. After the study of triangle properties, students are introduced to the three basic trigonometric ratios and their application to real-life situations. Students work on problems involving two and three-dimensional objects and the calculation of area, surface area, and volume. The curriculum is supplemented by lessons on content and strategies designed to help prepare students for the mathematics component of the SAT and ACT standardized tests.
The Geometry Honors curriculum is presented within a problem-solving context, linking traditional geometry concepts to both previously learned and newer algebraic concepts. These problems presented to the students encourage flexibility in thinking and require students to examine problems using familiar concepts, but in novel situations. Students study Euclidean theorems requiring formal proofs. From similarity in triangles, students proceed to the study of trigonometry and the right triangle using the three basic ratios of sine, cosine, and tangent, followed by a study of three-dimensional solids including prisms, cylinders, pyramids, cones, and spheres. The course concludes with coordinate proofs and geometric transformations. The curriculum is supplemented by lessons on content and strategies designed to help prepare students for the mathematics component of the SAT and ACT standardized tests.
The goal of Geometry Foundations is to provide a strong foundation in basic math concepts, while covering the essential aspects of the geometry curriculum. The focus of the class will be on the understanding of basic Euclidean statements and their application to numerical problems, without emphasizing formal proofs. The introduction to trigonometry through a study of the right-angled triangle allows students to develop a firm understanding of the basic ratios. Students will strengthen their understanding of algebra using mathematical models to represent and understand quantitative relationships, analyzing change in various contexts, and solving multi-step equations. The curriculum is supplemented by lessons on content and strategies designed to help prepare students for the mathematics component of the SAT and ACT standardized tests.
The Algebra II & Trigonometry course allows students to develop an understanding of mathematical concepts and principles and apply their skills to solve problems related to real-world contexts. The curriculum includes algebraic systems of equations and inequalities, sequences and series, direct and inverse variation, statistics, probability, permutations and combinations, and the study of various types of functions.
The course concludes with a study of trigonometry, focusing on triangle trigonometry, trigonometric identities, and trigonometric graphs.
In Algebra II & Trig, there is emphasis placed on building skills needed to prepare students for a smooth transition to the Diploma Program.
The Algebra II & Trigonometry Honors course offers students a more in-depth study of the topics offered in Algebra II & Trigonometry. Students are expected to analyze problems and apply skills both graphically and algebraically in both theoretical and real-world applications. The curriculum includes algebraic systems of equations and inequalities, sequences and series, direct and inverse variation, statistics, probability, permutations and combinations, and an in-depth study of various types of functions. The course concludes with a study of trigonometry, focusing on triangle trigonometry, trigonometric identities and n introduction to trigonometric ratios and trigonometric graphs
In Algebra II & Trig Honors there is emphasis placed on building skills needed to prepare students for a smooth transition to the Diploma Program.
As a modified Algebra II & Trigonometry course, the main concepts from Algebra II & Trigonometry are taught in depth, but at a more methodical pace. The course begins with a thorough review of linear equations and graphs, and then students learn multiple ways to solve different systems of equations, while discussing problem-solving tactics throughout. The course includes a study of exponents, factoring, quadratic equations, and trigonometry. Students also develop test-taking strategies, as this course involves a great deal of standardized test preparation. After completion of this course, most students will be prepared to take IB Mathematical Studies SL.
This course offers students an integrated approach to precalculus and calculus. It includes the elements of algebra and analytic geometry necessary to study calculus of one variable. Topics covered in this course include functions, limits, continuity, differentiation of algebraic functions, and applications of differentiation. Assessment consists of homework, in-class quizzes and tests, and investigations.
This is a class for students who are looking for the most challenging mathematics class, with a view of taking the Higher Level IB mathematics course in their junior and senior year. During the year, students will build on the skills they developed during the Algebra II Honors course, becoming better at analyzing problems, working accurately, and explaining their methods. They deepen their knowledge of trigonometry and algebra and are introduced to the differentiation and integration of simple functions. They also use these calculus skills to solve problems involving slopes of lines and areas under curves, and to solve kinematics problems. Assessment consists of homework, in-class quizzes and tests, and mathematical portfolio assignments. Students will take the IB Mathematics Standard Level examination at the end of their junior year.
At Dwight, the study of science is a balanced learning experience in which the interests and abilities of every student are supported and developed. Along with an understanding of scientific concepts and processes, we also emphasize opportunities for creativity and the development of individual interests. Whether through structured inquiry in the classroom or extra-curricular clubs and competitions, our students have many avenues for individual expression and collaboration with peers. We also support the scientific pursuits of students through the Eighth Grade Showcase and the Grade 10 Personal Project. Such activities fit within the larger IB science curriculum model in which the scientific method is a way of thinking, science is a way of knowing, and the student as a scientist is developing as an international citizen. Whether this citizen becomes a researcher, engineer, or layperson, our aim is that he/she will be a scientifically and technologically literate member of society who forms opinions supported by evidence and reason, and who takes action ethically and responsibly. Through the internationally published MYP Sciences Criteria, grades 6-10 students are assessed on the following areas: knowing and understanding, inquiring and designing, processing and evaluating, and reflecting on the impacts of science.
- Science 6
- Science 7
- Science 8
- Biology 9
- Chemistry 10 Standard, Chemistry 10 Honors
- Physics 10 Standard, Physics 10 Honors
In this course, students study an introduction to chemistry, biology, and physics. Students learn about science safety, science equipment and the scientific method to test a hypothesis. In chemistry, they learn about the behavior of matter. We focus on the Bohr model of the atom, the periodic table, classification of matter and how matter is manipulated and changed. They perform various experiments to determine whether there is a physical or chemical change. In biology, students observe plant and animal cells to see their similarities and differences and learn how to categorize organisms. They also explore genetics and the processes that are necessary to support life. In physics, students explore energy and discuss their research and implications of renewable energy. They also engage in investigations to explore how energy can be changed.
For all units, the students write lab reports to analyze their findings. They write research papers, complete homework assignments, and take quizzes and tests to focus their learning on the above key content areas. Finally, participation in group discussions and group work, and effort in all areas, are assessed.
Students will continue their studies of biology, chemistry, and physics with applications to student led units such as astronomy and Earth science. In chemistry, students will focus on the behavior of matter and are introduced to acids and bases. Here, students explore the behaviour of chemical reactions and investigate neutralization. Students are tasked to make an indicator to see if common liquids like orange juice and detergent are acids, bases, or neutral. Students also explore environmental chemistry through experimental investigations and research. Students research the implications of Climate Change and discuss scientific solutions to Global problems. In Biology, ecosystems and biomes will be studied from an experimental and experiential point of view. Students also become Ecologists for a day while assisting during a field study on the River Hudson. In physics, we study the movement of matter and will focus on electricity and magnetism. For all units, students will be assessed summatively through unit tests, as well as experimental lab reports and projects.
In this course, students build on their previous year’s work in biology, chemistry, and physics to engage in original experimental design through controlled investigations in the study of the scientific method. Students explore genetic principles and relating factors that contribute to variety in our species. They learn about Isaac Newton’s laws as well as work, power, and simple and compound machines. Students are able to use Bohr models to draw compounds, both ionically and covalently, and balance equations with polyatomic ions. The Law of Conservation of Matter is “discovered” as students change matter with energy and determine if mass is created, lost, or neither. Students undertake experimental inquiry units that examine chemical reactions and explore the relationship between reactants and products. Our search for Earth-like exoplanets will comprise the focus of the astronomy section of the course. Students will also partake in an overnight NASA space camp. For all units, students write lab reports to analyze their findings. They write research papers, take quizzes and tests, and complete homework assignments to focus their learning on the above key content areas.
This course provides an introduction to the unity and diversity of life from the molecular to the community level from an evolutionary perspective. It focuses on the interrelationship between the structure and function of living things, along with exploring the effects of human interaction with the natural environment. Frequent laboratory experiences will augment knowledge gained through class study. This course provides students with an exceptional basic background for further study in biology or other sciences.
This class explores how the world is constructed on an atomic scale. Students learn how these tiny atomic and molecular constituents give rise to larger material behavior and how people can use this understanding of matter to impact the world in a variety of ways (i.e. politically, socially, environmentally). Students learn to shift scales and make valuable predictions by mastering conversions and manipulating equations. Beyond regular homework assignments, quizzes, and exams, the course provides opportunities for students to express themselves creatively with labs that emphasize problem solving, a research essay exploring the need of science in light of pressing world concerns, and multimedia atomic history presentations.
Both the Standard and Honors Chemistry 10 courses prepare students for continuing the study of Chemistry in the Diploma Program in grades 11 and 12. The Honors course will move at a faster pace and explore each topic more thoroughly to prepare students for DP Chemistry at the Higher Level.
This introduction to physics serves as a bridge between Middle Years sciences and Diploma Program physics. We study an introduction to Kinematics, Forces and Newton’s Laws, Work, Energy & Power, and Momentum. Conservation Laws form an overarching theme and provide a basis for a mathematical treatment of simple physical situations. Hands-on Investigations feature a combination of children’s toys and sports objects as well as modern electronic sensors and computer interfaces.
Physics 10 Honors is designed for students who are comfortable with mathematics and who are interested in the option of pursuing further study of Physics in the Diploma Program at either Standard or Higher Level. Physics 10 Honors offers more mathematical support and practice at a slower pace, but does not serve as a prerequisite for DP Physics.
Dwight’s Individuals and Societies classes encourage students to respect and understand multiple perspectives on historical and contemporary issues. In this way, teachers work toward the IB mission to help students see how “other people, with their differences, can also be right.” To facilitate this mission of open-mindedness, we use an inquiry approach. Teachers empower students to investigate historical trends and key concepts such as change, systems, and global interaction. Students learn to research, write, present, organize ideas and develop time management skills. Through the internationally published MYP Individuals and Societies Criteria, grades 6-10 students are assessed on the following areas: knowing and understanding, investigating, communicating, and thinking critically.
- Individuals and Societies 6
- Individuals and Societies 7
- Individuals and Societies 8
- Individuals and Societies 9
- Individuals and Societies 10
This course explores how humans have created structure throughout history, covering the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Rome, India, and China, continuing through the Middle Ages in Europe. Students examine how these civilizations defined governmental and religious systems, as well as how those systems influence us today. Major themes include the achievements of societies, the origins and influence of religions, the development of political systems, how ideas spread, and how geography affects the development of civilizations and the growth of cities.
Art history and architecture are important aspects of the course. The students visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the MET Cloisters and begin to recognize art from different periods studied. Interdisciplinary lessons are planned with art, design, and English classes. Students begin developing proficiency in writing a research paper by gathering information from various sources while also learning note-taking, outlining, paraphrasing, summarizing, categorizing, paragraphing, bibliography writing, and citation.
This course is the first year of a two-year thematic study of American history. In this first year, students study how conflicts have shaped U.S. identity and history. The year begins with an analysis of the causes and events leading up to the American Revolution and students explore how the struggle for independence shaped the new nation. The second major conflict explored is the American Civil War. Commencing with the socioeconomic and political differences between the North and the South, the course covers the major events leading up to the war, the war itself, and how that war reshaped American identity. The final unit focuses on American involvement in the two world wars of the 20th century — the reasons behind American involvement, the impact of the wars domestically and globally, and how American perceptions changed. We will also investigate other international civil conflicts. While the primary textbook for the course is History Alive: The United States, students also use primary sources, supplementary readings, and film to gain further understanding of the subject matter, as well as to appreciate perspectives. Organization, note-taking, presentation, and research skills are a few of the areas that are stressed throughout the year. Assessments include quizzes, tests, debates, group projects, oral presentations, and written summaries and responses. Students put these skills to work while researching and writing their LaGuardia research paper in the third trimester.
This course is the second year of a two-year thematic study of American History. Eighth grade students examine U.S. history starting with a unit that covers the evolution of the American political system, including a study of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, key Amendments, as well as important Supreme Court decisions. The next unit focuses on the ongoing challenge of extending the founding fathers’ ideals of freedom, equality, and rights to previously disenfranchised segments of the population — and specifically as it applies to the experience of Native Americans, African-Americans, and other minorities. Immigration is a separate unit, and is studied in the context of the Industrial Revolution and the Progressive Era. Finally, current events, examined and placed into a historical context, and geography, enrich student understanding of America’s development and American identity today. Note-taking, writing, presentation, and research skills are stressed throughout the year. While the primary textbook is History Alive: The United States, students also peruse a number of supplementary readings and analyze films that provide different perspectives on the material. Assessments include quizzes and tests, written summaries and responses, debates, visual projects, and oral presentations. In addition, students develop their writing and researching skills through completion of their independent research LaGuardia paper.
In this course, students explore global history by focusing on concepts of identity and change. The course is built around three themes: globalization, revolutions, and imperialism. For each theme, students will closely examine a specific case study on the theme as a class before choosing another case study to pursue and share in group research. We will start in the 1500s-1700s with globalization, move on to the 1700s and 1800s with revolutions, and finish with imperialism in the 1800s and 1900s. During the course, students will engage with primary and secondary sources, practice the skills of historical thinking, and learn the art of historical argumentation and analysis.
In this course, students explore U.S. history through the conceptual lenses of systems, change, and global relations. Students begin the year by examining how ideologies shape government systems. They research varying perspectives on the role of government in the U.S. and current debates in politics, as well as historical trends dating back to the American Revolution. The culminating project of the trimester is the Museum of Controversy, designed for the Dwight Community to inform all about issues in American politics today. The following trimester, students evaluate methods of change used in reform movements such as the abolitionist, women’s, labor, and civil rights movements. In collaboration with the English classes, students also look specifically at the role of legal change today through a Constitutional Debate. The final trimester focuses on and culminates in a study of global relationships fostered by the United States. Students explore how American foreign policy has changed over time, and debate how much the U.S. should intervene in foreign affairs. Students continue to develop key skills such as debating, cooperative group work, essay writing, public speaking and presentations, with an emphasis on research paper writing through the LaGuardia Research Project.
All MYP students at Dwight are required to study a world language. We offer Language Acquisition and Literature classes in Spanish, French, or Chinese (Mandarin). In addition, we offer German classes for a tuition supplement, with Dwight teachers. For other languages we draw upon the resources of a Manhattan language school to arrange classes for supplemental tuition. We offer beginner classes in grade 6 for French, Spanish, and Chinese (Mandarin) and in grade 9 for French and Spanish.
Students are required to choose a language in grade 6 or upon entry to the School. Once the language choice is made, we expect the students to continue with this language through grade 12. Requests for changes to the language studied are considered case by case. Students who join Dwight after grade 6 can only join a Mandarin class if they pass the entrance test for Mandarin. If they are not at the required level, they will be asked to join a French or Spanish class.
Language acquisition in the MYP aims to develop a respect for, and understanding of, other languages and cultures, and is equally designed to equip the student with a skills base to facilitate further language learning. Through the internationally published MYP Language Acquisition Criteria, grades 6-10 students are assessed on the following areas: comprehending spoken and visual text, comprehending written and visual text, communicating in response to spoken and/or written and/or visual text, and using language in spoken and/or written form.
*highlights a course for which there is an extra tuition fee
Please note that language A, B and ab initio courses in languages other than those taught at Dwight can be arranged through the Head of World Language for an extra tuition fee.
- French B 6
- French B 7
- French B I
- French B II
- French B III
- French B Foundations I (Grade 9 beginners)
- French B Foundations II (Grade 10)
- French A 6
- French A 7-8
- French A 9-10
- Spanish B 6
- Spanish B 7
- Spanish B I
- Spanish B II
- Spanish B III / Spanish B III Honors
- Spanish B Foundations I
- Spanish B Foundations II
- Mandarin B 6
- Mandarin B 7
- Mandarin B I
- Mandarin B II
- Mandarin B III
- Mandarin A 6-10
- German B 6-7*
- German B I*
- German B II*
- German B III*
- German A 6-10*
- Introductory Latin*
- Intermediate Latin*
This course covers a range of basic vocabulary and grammatical structures which will allow students to access the language throughout the rest of their school career. Students learn the French alphabet and numbers, how to describe where they live, and to talk about their homes and describe them. They learn to describe people and talk about their family, friends and pets, give opinions and express what they like or don’t like to do. Grammar includes the concept of feminine and masculine nouns, plural, forming negatives, possessive adjectives, regular verbs in the present tense and the irregular verbs “to have” and “to be”. Students start to learn a range of reading strategies, and to describe and respond to visual and written text. They start to produce language orally, working on intonation and pronunciation and in writing within the conventions of a limited number of text types.
This course covers the topics of towns, shopping, and finding one’s way around school and different school systems in the French speaking world, food, the best ways to stay healthy, leisure, and activities. Grammar includes conjugation of regular and irregular verbs and making negative statements. Reflexive verbs are introduced and possessive adjectives and numbers are reviewed. The perfect tense is introduced, as well as the immediate future. Students start to gain the skills they need to make comparison between their original culture and those of the French speaking world. They also gain a better understanding of writing with a sense of audience, purpose, and context, and begin to practice using a variety of text types.
This course covers the topics of holidays and traveling, family, helping at home, ordering food from restaurants in a French speaking country, clothes, parts of the body, and ailments. Grammar includes revision of the past and present tenses, the imperfect, use of adjectives, and negatives. Students continue to develop the skills needed to communicate clearly and in an authentic manner by learning to identify and express ideas and opinions, use appropriate conventions, and drawing conclusions from information they gather. Students learn to respond to texts and visual stimuli using a range of vocabulary and grammar structures and in speaking, they continue to use clear pronunciation and a good intonation.
This course reviews and deepens the topics of individuals and relationships, and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of a variety of places we live. It also covers the topics of culture in French speaking countries, with a closer look at French cinema, music and poetry, and finally, students will talk about the future, their plans, and career ideas. New grammar includes past, present, and future tenses, as well as the conditional, relative clauses and a variety of impersonal structures. Students will further develop the use of conventions in writing a range of text types. They identify ideas, opinions, and attitudes from visual and spoken texts and can construct meaning, draw conclusions, and give supporting details to express their own ideas.
French III is a stepping stone to the IB Diploma Program. Students hone their receptive, productive, and interactive skills via reading comprehension, essay writing, and daily conversation. Grammar plays an important role, and all the essential grammatical elements are taught in this class in preparation for IB Language B in the eleventh and twelfth grades. MYP projects include presentations on francophone countries, debates on current global issues, and media articles from newspapers, magazines, and the Internet. Students analyze visual and written texts and draw conclusions, they express opinions with a global perspective, and use elaborate, varied, and idiomatic language.
This course covers a range of basic vocabulary and grammatical structures which will allow students to access the language throughout the rest of their school career. Students learn the French alphabet and numbers, how to describe people and themselves, tell time, link weather and seasons to activities, give opinions and express what they like or don’t like to do, talk about food, and discuss their daily school schedules and overall routines. Grammar includes the concept of feminine and masculine nouns, articles, plural, forming negatives, regular verbs in the present tense and the irregular verbs “to have,” “to be,” "to do," to want," and "to be able." Students start to learn a range of reading strategies, and to describe and respond to visual and written text. They start to produce language orally, working on intonation and pronunciation, and in writing within the conventions of a limited number of text types.
This course builds upon the material covered in French Foundations I. Topics covered include, towns, shopping and finding one’s way around, planning a party, sports and leisure activities, exploring amusement parks, daily routine, and talking about vacations. Grammar includes conjugation of regular and irregular verbs and making negative statements. Reflexive verbs are introduced and possessive adjectives and numbers are reviewed. The perfect tense is introduced, as well as the immediate future. Students continue to gain the skills they need to make comparisons between their original culture and those of the French-speaking world. They also gain a better understanding of writing with a sense of audience, purpose, and context and begin to practice using a variety of text types.
This course covers francophone countries, giving opinions, knowledge of famous French people, school life, and leisure time. In exploring those themes, students read and analyze works of French literature by authors such as Molière, Patrick Modiano, Jules Verne, and Michel Tournier. They analyze and memorize poetry. The course covers the indicative and imperative modes, use of tenses, spelling rules, word categories, and basic sentence structure.
This course is devoted to reading literary excerpts and a few integral literary works. Students read and analyze a French play as well as works covering the major genres and eras of French literature (short stories, philosophical tales, poetry, excerpts of autobiographies, and novels). They also read excerpts of pertinent translated world literature. The selection of works, introducing themes and concepts studied in the later years of the IB program, is chosen amongst the recommended readings listed by the Education Nationale for these grades and by the IB, in preparation for the Diploma Program. Along with these readings, students review various points of grammar and practice essential aspects of literary analysis. They also produce creative writing integrating the conventions of each genre studied. This cohesive approach contributes to improving students’ writing and is done on a regular basis during the year.
This course is the final step to prepare students for the French Literature IB Course. Students read literary excerpts covering the major genres and eras of French literature (short stories, philosophical tales, poetry, excerpts of autobiographies, and novels) as well as a few integral literary works. They also read excerpts of pertinent translated world literature, in preparation for the Translated Works component of their DP program. Students refine their study of the various aspects of literary analysis. They practice creative writing integrating the conventions of each genre studied, oral and written commentary, as well as essay writing and oral presentations aligned with IB requirements.
This course covers a range of basic vocabulary and grammatical structures which will allow students to access the language throughout the rest of their school career. Students learn the Spanish alphabet and numbers, how to describe people and themselves, give opinions and express what they like or don’t like to do, and talk about food. Grammar includes the concept of feminine and masculine nouns, plural, forming negatives, regular verbs in the present tense, and the irregular verbs “to have” and “to be”. Students start to learn a range of reading strategies, and to describe and respond to visual and written text. They start to produce language orally, working on intonation and pronunciation, and in writing within the conventions of a limited number of text types.
This course covers the topics of towns, shopping, and finding one’s way around, planning a party, sports and leisure activities, and exploring amusement parks. Grammar includes conjugation of regular and irregular verbs and making negative statements, reflexive verbs are introduced, and possessive adjectives and numbers are reviewed. The preterit tense is introduced, as well as the immediate future. Students start to gain the skills they need to make comparisons between their original culture and those of the Spanish-speaking world. They also gain a better understanding of writing with a sense of audience, purpose, and context and begin to practice using a variety of text types.
Spanish I students begin to comprehend the perspectives, practices, and products of the Spanish-speaking world. Via “perspectives,” students learn through culture about the world views, attitudes, and belief systems that frame what Hispanics think and do. By the end of this course, students are able to name all regions where Spanish is the official language, the typical foods enjoyed in these regions, as well as some different customs practiced by its people. In addition, students in Spanish I will be familiar with, and comfortably conjugate, regular and irregular verbs in the present tense and other grammatical facets of the target language, as well as pertinent vocabulary for this level.
Spanish II is a prerequisite for Spanish III. This course is designed to give students the opportunity to communicate in the target language as well as continue to develop world language skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students in Spanish II will develop and expand upon their prior knowledge and communicative skills at their own pace but, with a common goal. At the conclusion of Spanish II, all students will be able to engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions in both the present and past tenses of the target language.
This course is a prerequisite for IB Spanish I. It encourages students to practice every element of the language skills to increase proficiency in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The course also provides review and amplification of grammatical structures previously taught, and introduction to more advanced structural concepts. Students continue to advance their knowledge on culture, history, geography, and literature of Spanish-speaking authors. Honors students also read, discuss, and analyze excerpts of literature, introducing themes, which will be studied in the IB program.
Students of Spanish Honors will improve their reading comprehension through various types of selections including authentic materials, such as newspapers and magazine articles, as well as short stories written by famous Spanish and Latin-American writers. Students work individually and in groups to prepare oral presentations and written essays, which are evaluated internally using the MYP criteria.
This course covers a range of basic vocabulary and grammatical structures which will allow students to access the language throughout the rest of their school career. Students learn the Spanish alphabet and numbers, how to describe people and themselves, give opinions and express what they like or don’t like to do, talk about food, and discuss their daily school schedules. Grammar includes the concept of feminine and masculine nouns, articles, plural, forming negatives, regular verbs in the present tense, and the irregular verbs “to have” and “to be” as well as the verb gustar. Students start to learn a range of reading strategies, and to describe and respond to visual and written text. They start to produce language orally, working on intonation and pronunciation, and in writing within the conventions of a limited number of text types.
This course builds upon the material covered in Spanish Foundations I. Topics covered include, towns, shopping, and finding one’s way around, planning a party, sports and leisure activities, exploring amusement parks, daily routine, and talking about vacations. Grammar includes conjugation of regular and irregular verbs and making negative statements. Reflexive verbs are introduced, and possessive adjectives and numbers are reviewed. The preterite tense is introduced, as well as the immediate future. Students continue to gain the skills they need to make comparisons between their original culture and those of the Spanish-speaking world. They also gain a better understanding of writing with a sense of audience, purpose, and context and begin to practice using a variety of text types.
Mandarin B 6 is an introductory course of Mandarin Chinese. The course is designed to introduce students to the principles of character and phonetic (pinyin) writing, tones’ pronunciation, and basic vocabulary.
The written and spoken aspects of the language are equally emphasized. General vocabulary and elementary grammar skills are developed. Students learn basic greetings, numbers, dates, and vocabulary relative to family, occupations, time, and daily routines. A last but not less important goal of the course is to present to students the fascinating universe of Chinese culture (including festivals, the calendar, traditional medicine, and cooking). We ask questions such as: How are Chinese characters structured? Why did the Chinese people never move away from this complicated writing system? What are the advantages of character-based writing?
Mandarin B 7 is designed to build on the foundations established in Mandarin B 6 and to advance students’ knowledge of basic grammar, vocabulary, and writing. The written and spoken aspects of the language are equally emphasized. General vocabulary and elementary grammar skills are further developed and students acquire competency to converse about topics such as likes and dislikes, clothing, transportation, physical appearance, Chinese and world geography, school, health, and hobbies. A last but not less important goal of the course is to present to students the fascinating universe of Chinese culture (including festivals, the calendar, traditional medicine, and cooking).
Mandarin B I is an advanced beginner course of Mandarin Chinese. The course is designed to further develop the language competence established in Mandarin B 6 and 7 and to advance students’ knowledge of general grammar, vocabulary, and writing. The written and spoken aspects of the language are equally emphasized. General vocabulary and more complex grammar skills are developed. Students acquire competency to converse about food, shopping, restaurants, pastimes, the home, and the neighborhood. A last but not less important goal of the course is to present to students the fascinating universe of Chinese culture (including festivals, the calendar, traditional medicine, and cooking). Students are guided to identify the unique aspects of Chinese culture and to compare it to their own culture, thus helping them to develop critical thinking skills.
This course aims to develop interpretive communication skills in Mandarin and builds on a solid foundation in character writing. The course emphasizes spelling with the Pinyin system, tone accuracy, character writing, and covers a range of topics and grammar structures. In-class writing drills, vocabulary quizzes, and conversation practice are done on a regular basis. Online learning and computer-based learning activities are also given as a way to immerse the students in Chinese.
The course is designed as a solid preparation for the IB Chinese exam. This class emphasizes analyzing the basic structure of Chinese literary pieces and building up a solid foundation in Chinese idiomatic phrases. There is also a comparison of the styles of different literature pieces in Chinese. The course includes daily drills on listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
For native speakers in grades nine and ten, the instruction for each of these grades is a preparation for the IB DP literature exam. Literary analysis based on selected texts, essay writing, oral presentations and discussions are important features of the curriculum. The courses are adapted to individual students in the class and vary according to the participants.
In German 6 and 7, students build on the sixth grade curriculum in developing language and literature comprehension skills for advanced non-native speakers. A total immersion approach ensures that students become more fluent in German at an accelerated pace. Emphasis is placed on preparing students to use German in a range of areas and situations. Grammar skills are honed by incorporating exercises connected with texts and stories dealt with during the trimester. A further aim of this course is to help students develop advanced reading and writing skills and become more aware of linguistic similarities and differences between German and their native language.
In German I, language and literature are integrated to include a reading segment on contemporary short stories, poems, and other writings. Students at this level develop their writing more extensively by focusing on the process of brainstorming, short essay writing, and editing techniques. Included in this course is a more formal approach to written work, such as letter and journal writing, creative writing, and essays. The reading segment consists of texts with a focus on short stories containing a certain element of surprise in order to maintain and develop close reading skills.
The language skills acquired in German B I are developed at a more intensive level, with an emphasis on a structured approach to German grammar. Listening, speaking, reading, and writing components become more integrated within a total immersion approach. Short stories form a basis for vocabulary-building and conversation exercises. One of the main goals of this course is to cultivate listening, reading, and writing skills in order to develop a holistic approach to foreign language learning at the pre-IB level. Students read texts that are aimed to expand individual communicative skills and introduce them to typical aspects of German life.
This course is the last year of German classes taught before the two-year IB Diploma Program. Essay writing, reading and listening comprehension, discussions, and conversation form a significant component of preparation for IB Language B SL or HL in the eleventh and twelfth grades. An important segment in this course covers an extensive grammar review.
For native speakers in grades 6-10 only, the instruction for each of these grades is based on the “Deutschbuch” series textbooks and workbooks, (currently used in the “Gymnasien” in Germany). Literary analysis based on selected texts, essay writing, oral presentations, and discussions are important features of the curriculum. The courses are adapted to individual students in the class and vary according to the participants.
The method used in the Latin classes is a reading-based Latin language course, where the students are able to read and translate stories from the very first class. This deductive process of language learning is achieved through graded readings and vocabulary. The introductory course begins the formal study of grammar, including recognizing nouns, adjectives, and verbs as distinct parts of speech. The study includes declensions, conjugations, gender, number, and agreement of subject/verb and noun/adjective.
This intermediate course is a continuation of Introductory Latin, which uses the reading-based method of language learning. This deductive process is achieved through graded readings and vocabulary. It allows students to learn the grammatical constructions and vocabulary directly from the reading exercises. In addition to the study of the Latin language, the course incorporates listening, speaking, reading aloud, and writing skills. Roman culture, word building, and English word derivation continue to be essential components of the course. The intermediate course continues the study of present and imperfect tenses of regular and irregular verb conjugations, declensions, and prepositional phrases. In March, the students participate in the National Latin Exam — an international assessment.
It is Dwight’s philosophy that all young people are artists, and we strive to open doors, both metaphorically and literally, through which their artistic expression can emerge in as many disciplines and forms of expression as possible. Through individual and group settings, we utilize our facilities and those of New York City – the great arts capital we inhabit – prepare our students for college and the world. Through the internationally published MYP Arts Criteria, grades 6-10 students are assessed on the following areas: knowing and understanding, developing skills, thinking creatively, and responding.
Students in grades 6-8 study Visual Arts, Drama, and Music, which rotate by trimester. Students in grades 9-10 select from one of the following arts to study for an entire year: Visual Arts, Theater, Music, and Digital Media.
- Digital Media 9
- Digital Media 10
- Music 6
- Music 7
- Music 8
- Music 9
- Music 10
- Theater 6
- Theater 7
- Theater 8
- Theater 9
- Theater 10
- Visual Arts 6
- Visual Arts 7
- Visual Arts 8
- Visual Arts 9
- Visual Arts 10
Depictions and Deceptions: Representations and transformations through the photographic image
This course explores the impact of the photographic image as a tool to document and transform the everyday world to communicate ideas and meaning. The photographic image and video has never been so easy to create and circulate as it is today. Our daily experience is saturated with visual content, all competing to gain our attention, with many created and shared using the smart technologies that we carry around with us. The development and continual innovation of digital technologies has created highly accessible and intuitive platforms to capture, manipulate and distribute images for a range of purposes.
This course is designed to educate students on the ever-changing digital world, as well as to provide hands-on experience with industry standard software and equipment. Students learn about photographic and film traditions and conventions, as well as creative techniques to compose, capture, edit and present. Through initial exploratory practice, students apply learnt skills to create and present a portfolio of works that include photography, digital-image manipulation and short films based on specific themes, historical studies, collaboratively developed ideas and personal intentions.
Specific units of study include:
- Learning to see creatively (portfolio of studio and outdoor photography): This unit provides students with hands-on experience in taking photographs in both the studio and outdoor settings, as they explore creative ways to capture subjects and ideas across a range of genres and styles.
- From real to surreal (digital artmaking - photography and image manipulation): This unit explores how photographic processes and images have been adapted by artists both historically and within contemporary contexts. Students use hands-on and computer manipulation techniques to create a range of photographic artworks inspired by the practice of significant photographic and digital media artists.
- Moving pictures (portfolio of short films): This unit introduces students to the language of film. Working in collaboration and individually, students create a portfolio of short films exploring techniques in video image capture and editing to communicate a range of narratives and ideas.
The Power of the Image: Culturally dominant images and how they work
This course continues the exploration of photographic and digital media technologies as a medium for artistic expression and graphic communication. The importance of the visual image as a means to transcend boundaries and reach a wide audience has never been more prevalent. Image-centered communication is today the most dominant mode of human exchange, with pictures becoming tools used to elicit specific and planned emotional reactions in the people who see them. The power of the image is not a new phenomenon. However, coupled with technological innovations, intuitive use and easily accessible modes of transfer and display, learning to view, critique and question the ideas and messages within an image has never been so important.
In this course, students work collaboratively and independently to create a portfolio of graphic designed, photographic and film works that explore the power of the image to entertain, inform and influence others. Students are able to further explore and develop a variety of production techniques applied to narrative, commercial, and experimental forms of digital photography and filmmaking in order to develop and create short films, advertising campaigns, photographs and digital artworks.
Specific units of study include:
- The hard sell (advertising campaign; photography, graphic communication and video) This unit explores the role and impact of commercial graphic communication. Students investigate the different styles and presentation of advertising and work individually and collaboratively to produce a range of print and video media advertisements.
- Re-Telling (student self-directed media project) This unit explores the importance of visual storytelling, from single image communication to major motion picture. Students investigate how stories entertain and educate us as well as questioning how narratives may be biased or can be interpreted in multiple ways. In response, students choose a narrative to “re-tell” from a different perspective, using a digital media practice of their choice.
- Moving pictures (portfolio of short films) This unit explores film as an expressive language, investigating how the elements of film can be combined and manipulated to communicate ideas and narratives through different stylistic approaches.
In Music 6, students will explore, experiment and reflect on the overall theme of rhythm. They will learn practical elements of rhythm for their own essential sake, and will also understand how rhythmic skills are used to heighten melodic musical ideas. In doing so, students will concentrate on three aspects of rhythm: melodic rhythm, harmonic rhythm, and rhythmic pacing as drum beats (percussion) to a song. Students will learn how to identify and use note values to create melodies through the use of poetry written by middle school students from around the world. They will also work with triads and chord progressions in the practice of creating rhythm through harmonic pacing. Finally, students will engage in live percussion by performing rhythmic progressions alone and with others, creating an original rhythmic pattern that will blend in with their final composition. Students will have the opportunity to use digital platforms to create their music, including Noteflight, Novation Launchpad, and Garageband, and student works will be recorded and performed in a virtual setting. The final unit of study will comprise of students listening to, analyzing, and reflecting on the rhythmic styles and traditions of music from cultures around the globe, recognizing the power of music to unite, inspire, and transform.
In Music 7, students will continue to hone their skills in reading musical notation, exploring rhythmic concepts, and composing harmonic progressions. The new musical concept that appears throughout Music 7 is the study of texture in music. Students will learn about what texture means as it is applied to music, and will listen to, analyze, and reflect on different styles of music from around the world. Based on the common types of musical texture—monophonic, homophonic, and polyphonic—students will create motives from triads and scales to form new compositions based on certain textural goals. Throughout this study, students will spend time considering: “Once I have a single, simple musical idea, how does understanding texture allow me to expand that idea into a musical arrangement?” Students will have the opportunity to use digital platforms to create their music, including Noteflight, Novation Launchpad, and Garageband, and student works will be recorded and performed in a virtual setting. While listening to and creating music, students will be encouraged to reflect on the power of music to unite, inspire, and transform.
In Music 8, students build on their music fundamentals and composition skills from grades 6 and 7 and begin a trimester-long study of form and structure in music. Students will spend time considering: "Once I have a single, simple musical idea, how does knowledge of form and structure allow me to turn it into a complete, sensible, music composition?" An introduction to form and structure across multiple styles, genres, and time periods of music history will embolden students to develop and execute skills in looping, sampling, and sequencing music within structural parameters. Students then use these skills to work on individual and group projects that incorporate these digital skills with instrumental and/or vocal composition and performance. Project options include digital composition on GarageBand and/or Noteflight, original songwriting and recording, and composing music for film/television/video games. In addition, students study the role and input of the composer, arranger, lyricist, producer and other roles associated with creating music that successfully aligns with modern form and structure. While listening to music, students will be encouraged to reflect on the power of music to unite, inspire, and transform.
The Upper School music journey at Dwight is a continuous learning process sparked by student-driven inquiry. In Grade 9, aspiring instrumentalists, vocalists, and producers alike will all discover the benefits of serious, full-year music study through active involvement in listening to, composing, and performing music, all the while reflecting on its social and cultural significance.
Students undertake detailed studies of many different styles, cultures, and genres of music, learning the appropriate theoretical and analytical skills to respond to them along the way. In Trimester 1, students partake in a "Music Fundamentals Crash Course", where they will enhance their current skill sets with individualized, project-based composition and performance tasks. In Trimester 2, students will embark on their "Music to Film" journey, utilizing live instruments and/or digital technology to create a soundtrack to a film/television clip with special attention given to mood, emotion, and atmosphere. In Trimester 3, Music 9 will culminate in a "Musical Style" unit in which students will create a portfolio of music composition and performance based on their chosen genre. The creation of original music is encouraged throughout the year, as is submission to Dwight’s educational record label. Students will have options for individual and group projects, live instrument and/or digital production utilizing the Dwight Recording Studio, and performance opportunities both in and out of the classroom.
The Upper School music journey at Dwight is a continuous learning process sparked by student-driven inquiry. In Grade 10, aspiring instrumentalists, vocalists, and producers alike will all discover the benefits of serious, full-year music study through active involvement in listening to, composing, and performing music, all the while reflecting on its social and cultural significance.
Students undertake detailed studies of many different styles, cultures, and genres of music, learning the appropriate theoretical and analytical skills to respond to them along the way. In Trimester 1, students begin with a "Music to Film'' unit where, building on their Music 9 introductory unit, will now execute the complete creation of the musical soundtrack for an extended film clip with attention to technique, theory, mood, emotion, and atmosphere. In Trimester 2, students compose and perform music based on a "Musical Style" of their choice (which to provide breadth of musical knowledge, will be different from their chosen genre in Music 9). Finally, Music 10 culminates in the completion of a “Music Portfolio” and submission of original and/or cover material to Dwight's educational record label. Throughout the year, students will have options for individual and group projects, live instrument and/or digital production utilizing the Dwight Recording Studio, and performance opportunities both in and out of the classroom.
In Theater 6, students begin a three-year introductory exploration into how and why humans have created theater across cultures and throughout history. We begin with the idea that theater artists recreate life on stage as a mirror for individuals and societies to reflect on their comedic and tragic tendencies, develop empathy, examine cultural values, pass on histories and traditions, and sometimes, to inspire change.
The students’ first task is to observe a specific person in order to recreate that person and their world through acting, staging and design. Through peer feedback, students learn what creates effective performance and impact on their audience. Students experiment with sound, light, sets, costumes and props to tell theatrical stories. These foundational experiences are utilized in their second major task of creating a play in which they bring to life a story from an ancient civilization they are studying in their Individuals and Societies class. Using playwriting, research, imagination, design and acting skills, students plan, rehearse, and perform their play at the conclusion of Theater 6. Throughout the trimester, special emphasis is placed on students’ abilities to joyfully learn and grow as theater artists, collaborate as a class, and be risk takers both onstage and off.
In Theater 7, students explore how to create theatrical worlds. Students consider what defines a world—exploring the realms of inner worlds and outer worlds, and the bridge that human expression builds between these worlds. As part of their inquiry process, students collaboratively create a new world through writing, designing and performing an original scene. This short scene is developed in stages, from improvisation through devising a completed script. The scene is then performed live and filmed in order to compare the different ways of creating worlds through theatrical and film processes.
In the second part of their inquiry, students study Shakespeare with the goal of shaping his words into real worlds on stage. Students learn how to create these worlds through physicalizing text, design, fabrication and stage combat. This unit is taught in Grade 7 to reinforce the academic literature program and help prepare students for eventual participation in the English department’s Upper School Shakespeare Competition. Throughout the course, students use reflective and creative writing and process journals. In all tasks, special emphasis is placed on students’ abilities to joyfully learn and grow as theater artists, collaborate as a class, and be risk takers both onstage and off.
In Theater 8, students explore the act of transformation as essential to creating theater. Throughout three inquiry projects, students investigate how to use the process of transformation to create theatrical characters and environments in both monologues and collaborative scenes. Students imaginatively transform a given text into performance in two fundamental ways: by using vocal and physical expression to create characters who are different from their daily selves, and through transforming the environment into the world of the character through theatrical design elements of sound, lighting, costumes, props and set. A major emphasis of this course is using observations of real life in service of creating theatrical realities. Throughout the course, students use reflective and creative writing and process journals. In all tasks, special emphasis is placed on students’ abilities to joyfully learn and grow as theater artists, develop positive, constructive peer feedback skills, and tools for self-reflection that each student artist uses to maximize the impact of their work on their audience.
The Upper School theater journey at Dwight is a continuous learning process sparked by student-driven inquiry. In Grade 9, aspiring theater artists, actors, directors, and designers will discover the benefits of serious, full-year theater study through active involvement in learning about and making theater. Students explore theater history and practice through reading, writing about, viewing, critiquing, making and presenting theater.
In Trimester 1, students "Write and Perform an Original Monologue", where they will enhance their current skill sets with project-based composition and performance. In Trimester 2, students immerse themselves in the cultures and genres of the “World Theater” tradition, creating new pieces inspired by a chosen world theater tradition such as the Italian Commedia Dell’Arte. Theater 9 will culminate in scene work with the “Acting in Shakespeare” unit in which students will select, analyze, memorize and perform a scene from a Shakespeare play. Throughout the year, students will have options for individual work as well as group collaborations. All students will be introduced to improvisational techniques by learning games and structures proven to liberate the young artist. Students are encouraged to participate in Scene Nights, which are public performance opportunities to bring their curricular work to life before a live audience in the fall and spring.
The Upper School theater journey at Dwight is a continuous learning process sparked by student-driven inquiry. In Grade 10, aspiring theater artists, actors, directors, and designers will discover the benefits of serious, full-year theater study through active involvement in learning about and making theater. Students explore theater history and practice through reading, writing about, viewing, critiquing, making and presenting theater.
In Trimester 1, students "Create and Perform an Original Solo Theater Piece", enhancing their current skill sets with project-based inquiry, reflection, practice and performance. In Trimester 2, students will embark on their Directing Unit, a journey from the page to the stage, in which they select, research, plan, cast and direct two moments from a published play. Theater 10 will culminate in the Theater of the Absurd unit in which students are introduced to Existentialism and Absurdism, particularly in contrast to other theater traditions. With a partner, students create their own absurdist scenario using the actual text of Waiting for Godot. Throughout the year, students will have options for individual work as well as group collaboration. All students will continue to expand on their improvisational technique, vocabulary learning, new structures, and games. Students are encouraged to participate in Scene Nights, which are public performance opportunities to bring their curricular work to life before a live audience in the fall and spring.
Conventions and Disruptions
The Conventions and Disruptions course focuses on how we traditionally recognise art, exploring established conventions and developing student’s understanding of how visual language is developed by artists through their choices of subject matter, composition arrangement and the use of personal, cultural and global recognised codes and symbols. In contrast, students also investigate how modern and contemporary artists ‘disrupt’ conventions and challenge our understanding of representation in art through their unique personal interpretation and representations of the world, adapting and transforming traditional ideas and styles. Students practice skills and concepts learned in class and explore their own interests when developing ideas for artworks. Art-making projects, including 2D and 3D forms, are designed to develop drawing, design, and perceptual skills, as well as encourage creative thinking and conceptual growth. Units include “The Significance of Objects” and “Broken Faces.”
Ways of Seeing
In Making Art: Real and Unreal, students build on the knowledge and skills learnt in the previous years course through more challenging projects, as well as greater freedom to solve them. Their growing confidence and independence is fostered through art-making activities that challenge their understanding of how we can experience, interpret and represent the world around us, emphasizing the importance of careful observation, visual perceptual skills, and thoughtful mark-making as essential descriptive tools. Risk taking is encouraged as students expand their artmaking repertoire using traditional art-making media as well as learning to use and apply new and innovative media and digital technologies. The later experience transports students art-making into digitally augmented and virtual reality environments, expanding their vocabulary of possible tools, techniques and purposes for the making and exhibiting of artworks. Units include “The World as We See It” and “Is it Appropriate?!.”
How Art Tells Stories
Images and objects tell stories. Stories that we can identify with, learn from, inspire and challenge our assumptions, providing us with different viewpoints and understandings of the world. This course further explores how meaning and personal expression is imbued into images and objects by artists and designers. Students explore art through different lenses to gain insights into the context in which artworks have been made, the motives that compelled artists to make them, and how they might be relevant to us today. Art-making activities, including sculpture and printmaking, encourage students to draw from their imagination, personal experiences and cultural and community identity, challenging students to make artworks with more sophisticated conceptual thinking and techniques. Units include “Power Objects” and “Where I Belong.”
Artists and Their Worlds
In the ‘Artist’s and their World’ course, students investigate the work and practice of specific focus artists, delving deep into their unique idiosyncratic approach to art-making. Students investigate how they develop a personal expressive visual language that may; borrow from past traditions and conventions, align with contemporary practices, or challenge our expectations and understanding of art through their choice of subject matter, use of materials, or their chosen modes of representation and display.
This course aims to excite students through the breadth of creative exploration while building technical skills and a sense of self-as-artist. Through learning about the work of others, students will learn to use tools for critical analysis to interpret artworks and inspire them to independently apply a creative process to produce artworks that begin to explore and develop their own unique visual voice. Art-making activities include mixed-media works on paper, sculpture and painting.
Specific units of study include:
- In Your Face (mixed-media work on paper) This unit explores the self-portrait. Students investigate self-portraits by several significant artists as well as exploring the concept of appropriation by adapting existing imagery to reinterpret past ideas with new meanings.
- What Lies Beneath (acrylic painting) This unit explores the ideas and artworks of Surrealist and other early modernist artists, adapting visual representations from dreams and imaginations into painted artworks.
- City Dreams (found-media sculpture) Through the lens of utopian and dystopian representation, this unit explores the design of architectural buildings and spaces, with students responding by creating bas-relief sculptures that reflect personal research on a chosen theme.
Power, Rebels, and Revolutions
In the ‘Power, Rebels and Revolutions’ course, students pursue an exploration of the visual arts with greater intensity and focus. They are encouraged to consider the power of artworks as a means to challenge dominant and prevailing views and issues of traditional and contemporary relevance; questioning the role and purpose of art across different times, places and cultural contexts. Through their learning, students address important themes of authority and status, expanding their appreciation of artistic, cultural, historical and global perspectives as well as challenging viewpoints and biases in order to understand and value those of others. Through this, they develop an understanding of how they, as artists, can create works that challenge assumptions and seek to make connections within their world. Art-making projects in this course explore both 2D and 3D forms, allowing students to experiment and develop skills in a range of mediums, processes and technologies that provide choice in how they create, present and express their ideas and personal viewpoints.
Specific units of study include:
- Mine - Yours - Ours (mixed-media on paper) This unit explores how concepts of personal, cultural and national identity are questioned, challenged and reformed through visual culture.
- A Force for Change (printmaking) With reference to the artworks by Goya and German Expressionist artists, this unit explores how art can be used as a tool for social and political change.
- A Seat at the Table (ceramic & found media sculpture) In this unit students are provided with the prompt, “A seat at the table.” Inspired by several contemporary artists, students respond to the prompt by creating a sculptural artwork based on their personal experiences or viewpoint of a social issue or concern.
It is the belief of the Dwight’s Physical Education Department and that of the IB, that physical education and health play a unique and significant role in the total development of the child. Dwight’s Physical Education Department aims to stimulate the mind, body, and spirit of every child that walks through our doors. Our philosophy focuses on more than just participating in sports and games but rather holistic learning, lifelong fitness, interdisciplinary connections, international mindedness, and the acquisition of motor skills. We empower our students to take ownership of their personal health while being accountable for their actions. In addition to physical education, students also participate in health education courses. This unique pairing of physical and health education provides students with a well-rounded approach to personal health. Through the internationally published MYP Physical and Health Education Criteria, grades 6-10 students are assessed on the following areas: knowing and understanding, planning for performance, apply and performing, and reflecting and improving performance.
- Physical Education and Health 6
- Physical Education and Health 7
- Physical Education and Health 8
- Physical Education and Health 9
- Physical Education and Health 10
In grade 6 Physical Education, students participate in international, recreational, and group games, as well as the exploration of movement composition. Students focus on skill building in these areas to prepare for more complex games and experiences as they progress through the MYP. Health education includes the study of personal health and hygiene, building positive relationships including anti-bullying, basic human anatomy and puberty education, simple nutrition, and decision-making skills that include a basic introduction to drug and alcohol education.
In grade 7 Physical Education, students focus on the application of movement skills and knowledge to team, individual, and dual physical activities. Knowledge of physical fitness concepts, principles and strategies, positive social interaction, and group dynamics, are taught through specific units of activity. These units include team sports, racket games, personal health and wellness, movement composition, recreational games, and lifetime activities. Health education includes the study of nutrition awareness, the physical and emotional changes that occur during adolescence and puberty, human anatomy of reproductive systems, peer pressure and decision-making skills, as well as drug and alcohol education.
In grade 8 Physical Education, students are exposed to the many ways the body can be active and to provide an atmosphere that encourages personal and social responsibility. Our cooperative games unit sets the stage for the rest of the year where students must learn to work together to accomplish group goals, recognize personal strengths and weaknesses, and to be open-minded in difficult or challenging situations. Throughout the year, students improve their skills, increase their knowledge, and most importantly, establish a healthy attitude towards physical activity. Health education includes the study of human growth and development, basic human anatomy, nutrition, decision-making skills, as well as drug and alcohol education.
In grade 9 Physical Education, students are exposed to a variety of sports, games, and fitness experiences. Units may include traditional activities such as soccer, basketball, track, handball, badminton, and volleyball, as well as international games, and movement competition. Throughout these units, character education as well as personal and social responsibility are emphasized. Students focus on the following areas: performance, movement composition, content knowledge, and health and social tasks. Health education includes the study of nutrition education, human growth and development, and drug and alcohol education.
Grade 10 Physical Education is the final year of formal physical education at Dwight. This class is a comprehensive course where students take their current knowledge and apply it towards building a personal fitness plan for their future. Experience in units such as team sports, racket games, strength and conditioning, movement composition, and lifetime activities allow students to explore potential lifelong physical activity connections. While improving their physical abilities, students also work on developing their social and personal living skills such as cooperation, accountability, and leadership. Health education includes the study of nutrition education, human growth and development, and drug and alcohol education.
Dwight School’s Design and Technology program strives to ensure that all Dwight students are critically engaged 21st century learners who are able to make responsible choices about how to use technology in a rapidly changing world. Fun, yet responsible, use is at the center of technology at Dwight as students learn to create, communicate, and collaborate in a number of ways. By using design-thinking skills, students make purposeful use of technology to investigate problems, design and create solutions, and evaluate and share their work with the world around them. Through the internationally published MYP Design Criteria, grades 6-10 students are assessed on the following areas: inquiring and analyzing, developing ideas, creating the solution, and evaluating. These four areas create the MYP Design Cycle.
Our faculty love investigating the “next big thing” in an effort to figure out how best to use it in the classroom. They also love exploring students’ interests in a piece of technology as they brainstorm projects, work collaboratively, and look to redefine what is possible.
This course is the first year of a five-year technology sequence in which students learn to solve problems using the MYP Design Cycle. In sixth grade, students are introduced to the stages of the MYP Design Cycle. Technology is infused into each stage of the process by using research tools to investigate; planning and sketching tools to develop ideas; and communication and collaboration tools to present and evaluate their work.
Students complete the stages of the design cycle three or more times throughout the year with investigations into digital citizenship topics, architecture, computer-aided design (CAD), coding, game design, and robotics. As students complete these projects, they learn how to create a variety of forms of media, 3-D models, computer programs, and programmable robots. The curriculum is designed to engage students to use technology effectively by researching, designing, creating, collaborating, and communicating as a tool to reach out beyond the confines of our classroom.
This course is the second year of a five-year technology sequence in which students learn to solve problems using the MYP Design Cycle. In seventh grade, students build on their investigations into the stages of the MYP Design Cycle.. Technology is infused into each stage of the process as students use a variety of tools for research, planning, creation, collaboration, and communication.
Students complete the stages of the design cycle three or more times throughout the year with further investigations into digital citizenship, graphic design, web design, and architectural design. In each project, students initiate thorough investigations through immersion into the deeper implications of the Design Cycle. Students are expected to solicit and provide structured feedback on several iterations of their creations and to reflect on feedback received from their peers in order to effect revisions of their designs.
This course is the third year of a five-year technology sequence in which students learn to solve problems using the MYP Design Cycle. Technology is infused into each stage of the process as students use a variety of tools for research, planning, creation, collaboration, and communication.
Students start the year with an interdisciplinary investigation into how different forms of media can influence an audience. In later projects, students explore design through the lens of programming, fashion design, and social entrepreneurship. As designers, students work through several iterations of the design process to create the best product possible, including frequent testing and feedback of their solutions.
This course is the fourth year of a five-year technology sequence in which students learn to solve problems using the MYP Design Cycle. In ninth grade students are (re)introduced to the stages of the MYP Design Cycle and learn to draw connections to other approaches to design thinking as it is used in businesses and higher educational institutions. Technology is infused into each stage of the process as students use a variety of tools for research, planning, creation, collaboration, and communication.
Students complete the stages of the Design Cycle three or more times throughout the year with investigations into design-thinking, programming, and innovation and entrepreneurship in preparation for creating their own technology-driven solutions produced in a variety of media from 3D-printed objects to programmable circuitry.
Inquiry and problem-solving are at the center of this design course, which is focused on providing students with authentic problems that require advanced skills in design, prototyping, creation, and testing. In tenth grade, students are immersed in the stages of the MYP Design Cycle. Technology is infused into each stage of the process as students use a variety of tools for research, planning, creation, collaboration, and communication.
Students complete the stages of the Design Cycle three or more times throughout the year with investigations into creative problem-solving strategies, engineering, computer-aided design, programming, electronics, and entrepreneurship and innovation in preparation for creating their own technology-driven designs produced in a variety of media, from 3D-printed objects to programmable circuitry.
All Middle Years Program students strive to be caring members of the community who demonstrate a personal commitment to service, and act to make a positive difference in the lives of others and in the environment. Service activities are opportunities for students to engage in action. Through responsible action, students can develop the kinds of attributes described by the International Baccalaureate Learner Profile that are essential for success in future academic pursuits and life beyond the classroom.
In keeping with our mission and the curriculum of the IB, all students have the opportunity to join several after-school service clubs and events. In grades 6-8 service derives primarily from classroom learning. Additionally, there are dedicated Service Days, time allocated to explore small-group service learning projects, and suggestions for on and off campus service experiences with community partners for students and families. Students in grades 9 and 10 are required to take action by self-selecting three service activities per year (ideally one per trimester). Students document what they have learned from their participation through written reflections and by posting evidence of what they have experienced in a portfolio on their ManageBac accounts. Please visit our website to access a current list of suggested service opportunities that are being held both at School and with our community partners.
Dwight School supports the philosophy that student activities are an integral part of a well-rounded International Baccalaureate education. All Middle Years Program students are encouraged to participate in at least one after-school activity per term. Our athletic program is run independently of the activities program and offers students in grades 7-12 opportunities to participate in interscholastic competition. For more information about activity choices and athletic teams, please visit our after-school pages.
An integral part of the Dwight journey is experiencing the world outside the classroom, whether on a team-building program in New York’s Catskills Mountains with the entire class, or a service-learning program with peers in Costa Rica.
As an international school, Dwight has sent students to China, Japan, Korea, England, Switzerland, Canada, Italy, France, Africa, Australia, Brazil, Peru, Russia, India, Costa Rica, and Saudi Arabia, with new programs being formed every year. Domestic programs include visits to Arizona, Maine, New Hampshire, Florida, Washington, DC, and Boston.
Starting in the fifth grade, Dwight offers travel opportunities through partnerships with our international campuses as well as with outside organizations. Each of the following programs embodies Dwight’s three pillars – personalized learning, community, and global vision – in its own unique way. Our seventh grade students have the opportunity to travel to our campus in Seoul, South Korea. Our ninth grade students can also travel to Asia, this time visiting our school in Shanghai, China.
Specific all-class highlights in the Middle Years Program include a one-night sixth grade orientation in The Catskills, a seventh grade trip to Boston, an eighth grade trip to Washington, DC, and a two-day ninth grade orientation trip to Frost Valley, NY.