9th Grade Core Curriculum


Goals of the Program

The overarching goal of the Princeton Day School 9th Grade Core Curriculum is to provide a common, foundational experience for all 9th grade students. There is a strong focus on the enduring relevance of the liberal arts and the traditional academic disciplines, as well as a drive to explore connections through a number of interdisciplinary courses. The 9th Grade Core prepares students for the interconnected 21st-century world we live in through a global studies approach. Character skills are also promoted through teaching skills such as resilience and self-efficacy, and guiding students in developing a growth mindset. Finally, there is an intentional and thoughtful approach to health and wellness and teaching the whole student.

Integrated Math, Science, and Technology Curriculum

Math

The mission of the Mathematics Department is to develop a mindset of mathematical thinking that is essential to understanding the world around us. Crucial to that mindset is the development of logical and spatial reasoning, which creates the foundation for students to model and solve real-world problems and to communicate and justify their solutions. Geometry, the curriculum in which nearly eighty-five percent of our 9th Graders enroll, teaches students to use the language and notation of mathematics in making arguments and is the foundation of disciplines as diverse as logic, engineering, and trigonometry. We have three levels of Geometry: Regular, Accelerated, and Honors.

Science

All 9th Graders take a foundational Biology and Life Sciences course focused on the investigation of the natural world through a process of guided inquiry. Young scientists develop higher-order cognitive skills, including empirical observation, interpretation of data, and the art of hypothesis. Rather than the traditional mode of passive learning via teacher-centered lecture, this course adopts a student-driven approach that provides the support and structure for students to acquire fundamental scientific literacies essential to their education. The course approaches science not as a static body of content but as a dynamic way of thinking and understanding the world around us. Major units of study focus on Evolution; Homeostasis; Energy, Matter, and Organization; Continuity and Development in Living Systems; and Ecological Interactions and Interdependence.

9th Grade Steaminar

As part of their Math / Science education, every 9th Grader will also participate in a seminar that integrates the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Industrial Design. This interdisciplinary experience combines the scientific method, algorithmic and mathematical processes, computational thinking, coding, statistical literacy, and design thinking, all deployed in the service of providing every student with literacy in STEAM disciplines and facility with solving complex problems of the sort they will encounter in their future lives.

Integrated Humanities Curriculum

World History and World Religions

Required of every 9th Grader, this course investigates how world religion, philosophy, and history provide meaning to the human experience. During the first half of the course, students acquire a foundational understanding of the major families of religion and philosophy by exploring the relationship between the individual and society. During the second half of the year, students examine how these worldviews change and maintain their traditions as they come into contact throughout world history. The course uses a case study approach to explore themes of intellectual evolution, cultural assimilation, and syncretism. Throughout this curriculum, students acquire foundational writing, research, and study skills, as well as habits of mind and heart like resilience, empathy, and integrity.

English

Our 9th Grade English curriculum introduces students to the diversity of literature as a form of human exploration and self-understanding. Students read texts from many different cultural traditions that connect with the subjects they are studying in our World History and World Religions course, equipping students with a global perspective on the complexity of the human experience. Students learn how to read strategically, critically, and actively; to engage confidently and thoughtfully in small group, seminar-style discussions; and to improve the clarity and sophistication of their writing.

World Languages

As part of Princeton Day School’s commitment to fostering global literacy and cross- cultural competency, every 9th Grader also takes a World Languages course. Students may choose to continue a language they have previously studied or they may begin a new language. We offer Spanish, French, Latin, and Chinese from Level 1 through Advanced Placement courses.
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