Middle School

In grades six through eight, Triangle Day School’s Middle School students benefit from small classes, supportive teachers, and a dynamic academic experience. Students receive solid instruction in the areas of language arts, math, science, social studies, Spanish, physical education, Arts, and electives. Combining time-tested methods with innovative techniques, lessons focus on critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, written and oral communication, and creativity. In addition, every Middle School student has an Advisor. Advisory in Middle School at TDS comprises small, grade-level groups that meet in homerooms, conduct school-based community service, and engage in bi-weekly discussions about the school’s Core Values of respect, responsibility, compassion, resilience, and integrity.  The Advisor is one of the student’s academic teachers and plays an additional role of liaison between home and school. The Advisor is a strong advocate for his/her advisees throughout the year.

The rigorous academic program in the Middle School prepares students to meet the challenges of any high school setting. Daily study halls where every teacher is available for questions and enrichment teach students about time management, self-advocacy, and to see their teachers as allies. Students graduate from Triangle Day School as confident, lifelong learners, equipped with a sound academic foundation and the life skills necessary for success.


Language Arts


Students read, analyze, appreciate, and enjoy high-level texts representing a variety of genres.  Through discussions, independent and group projects, writing, and presentations, students explore literature, grammar, the mechanics of writing, and vocabulary. They exercise critical thinking skills as they respond to quality literature and to differing viewpoints.

6th Grade
Wordly Wise 7 Vocabulary, Novels: Wonder, (R.J. Palacio), Three Cups of Tea (Greg Mortenson),The Westing Game (Ellen Raskin), The Hobbit (J.R.R Tolkien)

7th Grade
Wordly Wise 8 Vocabulary, The Write Source online program, Novels: Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card), Treasure Island (Robert Louis Stevenson), Lord of the Flies (William Golding), The House of the Scorpion (Nancy Farmer), And Then There Were None (Agatha Christie), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (William Shakespeare), Old Man and the Sea (Ernest Hemingway)

8th Grade
Wordly Wise 9 Vocabulary, The Write Source online program, Novels: Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens (Sean Covey), To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee), Diary of Anne Frank (Anne Frank), Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain), Who Moved my Cheese (Spencer Johnson), Animal Farm (George Orwell), The Underground Railroad – Authentic Narrative and First Hand Accounts (William Still)



Middle School math focuses on providing a strong algebraic foundation for students. Students participate in group discussions, independent activities, traditional presentations and skills practice, small group exploration, writing out solutions with logical reasoning, projects, and problem-solving activities with a real-world focus.  All of these methods combine to ensure that students are learning concepts and applications in a challenging yet supportive atmosphere.  Students begin Middle School in a Pre-Algebra course and progress through Algebra or Geometry by the end of 8th grade.  Students typically follow one of these three pathways:

6th grade Pre-Algebra → 7th grade ½ Pre-Algebra, ½ Algebra → 8th grade Algebra

6th grade Pre-Algebra → 7th grade Algebra → 8th grade Geometry*

*Students who complete the Geometry course in 8th grade will receive Geometry or Common Core II credit for high school.



Science invites students to take an active role in their learning and to refine their investigative skills as they examine a range of scientific concepts and understandings. Using hands-on activities, inquiry-based labs, scientific readings, research, and discussions, teachers encourage students to apply their knowledge of science to real-life situations and events. The integration of math and technology helps students analyze and present scientific data and findings. As students work, they are encouraged to apply the skills and problem solving strategies employed by people working in scientific fields.

6th Grade: Earth Science
Geology, Meteorology, Astronomy, Oceanography
Examples of Labs:

    Calculating the Circumference of the Earth:

    Recreating the calculations used by Greek scientist, Eratosthenes when he compared shadow lengths and shadow angles over 2000 years ago

    Measuring the Density of a Penny:

    Finding mass with scales and volume with water displacement to determine densities

    7th Grade: Life Science
    Regulation and Behavior, Reproduction and Heredity, Diversity and Adaptation of Organisms, Populations and Ecosystems, Structure and Function of Living Things
    Examples of Labs:

    Bacteria Everywhere:

    Exploring reproduction rates by sampling, culturing, and observing (using compound microscopes) bacterial colonies around us.

    Heart Dissection:

    Investigating the structures and functions of the human heart through dissection of a pig heart.

    8th Grade: Physical Science
    Scientific Method, Properties of Matter and changes to them, Motion and Forces, Transfer of Energy
    Examples of Labs:

      Marble Run:

      Engineering design challenge to apply concepts in physics and simple machines to create a track that takes exactly 30 seconds for a marble to travel.

      Signs of a Chemical Reaction:

      Investigating changes in states of matter and how atoms rearrange to form new substances.

Social Studies


Using a variety of instructional strategies in a seminar style environment, students participate in discussions, lectures, research projects, and simulations beginning in Ancient Civilization, weaving through globalization, and concluding with the Obama presidency.  Teachers strive to fully engage their students in the study of history and its connections to the present and future. Students build critical thinking and investigative skills as they relate to people, events, and cultures, and they develop an awareness and understanding of different perspectives on history. Throughout their coursework students engage in research activities designed to help them ask thoughtful questions and seek and evaluate answers.

6th Grade: Ancient World Cultures
First Civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and India, Greece and Rome, Middle Ages in Europe

7th Grade: Global Studies
Aspects of Civilization and Religion, Trade and Encounters, The First Global Age, Revolutions, Innovation and Catastrophe, The Modern World

8th Grade: United States History (Reconstruction to Present)
Civil Rights, Industrialization, Great Depression & New Deal, WW II, Expansion of Communism, Post-Industrial US, Social Movements & Equal Rights, Conservativism, Globalization



Coursework becomes increasingly academic to promote fluency in Spanish speaking, reading, and writing.  Students also gain exposure to Spanish cultures and traditions around the world.  Gateways to effective communication and world citizenship are opened as students prepare for more intense foreign language study in high school.  By the end of eighth grade, most students have completed the Spanish II course and should be ready to take Spanish III in high school.

6th Grade
Topics include an understanding of Spanish speaking countries and their capitals, present tense regular verb conjugations, possessive adjectives, noun/adjective agreement, intterogation words, basic vocabulary, some irregular verbs, cultures of España, Puerto Rico, México and Estados Unidos

7th Grade
Topics include negative and affirmative commands and words, ser vs. estar, reflexive verbs, preterit of irregular verbs, present progressive, indirect object pronouns, demonstrative adjectives, cultures of Costa Rica, Argentina, Ecuador, and República Dominicana

8th Grade
Topics include direct and indirect object pronouns, regular and irregular preterit verbs, demonstrative adjectives and pronouns, reflexive verbs, present progressive, the imperfect tense, formal commands, double object pronouns, the subjunctive, por and para, the future tense, details of the cultures and Spanish dialect of Ecuador, República Dominicana, España, México, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Costa Rica, y mucho mas!

Physical Education


PE promotes fitness and healthy lifestyles. Students participate in a movement based curriculum as they are challenged to understand the relationships involving self, space, equipment and others around them.  Group activities, cooperative games, and problem solving are integrated into more physically demanding situations, allowing students to challenge their skills while building their concept of self.  They are taught to lead their own warm-up exercises, and they learn advanced skills and strategies for team games like badminton, soccer, and basketball.

Students also participate in health classes.  6th graders take an Emotional Health class as they enter their adolescent years. 7th and 8th graders address a variety of health topics including nutrition, alcohol and drug use, CPR & first aid, sex education, and fitness.


Arts courses include choices of visual, performing or musical arts.  6th graders participate in Studio Art and one Musical Art.  7th and 8th graders choose one or two art classes for the full year.

Visual Arts

One semester for 6th grade, full year for 7th/8th grades(2x/week)

Students in 6th grade take Studio Art.  They focus on using the elements of design and various media to create pieces of self-expression, as well as works that weave into their academic subjects.  For example, students attempt Chinese brush painting as they learn about Ancient China in Social Studies. In order to foster an appreciation for art, artworks are connected to artists and art history movements.

Students in 7th and 8th grades may choose to work with clay, glazes, and learn more advanced drawing and painting techniques that can culminate in creating a memorable 8th grade painting.  

Musical Arts

Full year for 6th/7th/8th grades (2x/week)

Musical arts courses include beginning and advanced hand chime choirs and a chorus.  Students learn to read music, work together to create harmonies and melodies, and perform multiple times throughout the year.  Performance venues off campus include Durham Bulls Athletic Stadium, Shopping Mall stages, and more!

Watch this video of parents and alumni performing “Chariots of Fire” directed by Ali Carnes, our Chimes instructor.

Performing Arts

Full year for 7th/8th grades (2x/week)

Students in performing arts begin with an introduction to the acting process and lead up to participation in multiple plays throughout the year.  Students are exposed to many different types of acting techniques through games and practice.

Complements and Electives

7th and 8th graders have a choice of various elective classes that each run for a semester (2x/week)

ForensicsStudents explore how chemistry, physics, and biology concepts are used to collect evidence and help solve crimes while developing observational and critical thinking skills.

ClassicsClassics focuses on learning some of the foundational myths of Greek and Roman culture, all of which are still referenced today. Some of the basics of Latin will be taught and examined in the ways that it influences our own language.

Coding – Students are introduced to coding using the programming language Python. Students will explore the fundamentals of coding including variables, strings, input and output, conditional statements, and loops. Having mastered these basics, our young programmers will put their new skills to use in a graphics environment using Python’s built-in drawing module, called turtle.

Digital Storytelling – This class uses computer-based tools to tell stories. These include digital documentaries, digital essays, electronic memoirs, interactive stories and others.  Using graphics, audio, video and web publishing, this class concentrates on the art of telling stories through a variety of multimedia

Yearbook – Students work to create the school’s yearbook for the academic year.  They learn skills in formatting, editing, time management, teamwork, photography, and creative thinking.

Competition Math – Students work individually and in teams to solve challenging math problems in preparation for Math Counts, a local, regional and national annual math competition.


TDS is a member of Google Apps for Education and every student has his/her own school email address.  Each student is equipped with an individual Chromebook for use in all classes.

6th grade class for one quarter (2x/week)
Intro to Technology with a focus on Digital Citizenship: Technology in Middle School focuses on responsible use, digital citizenship, plagiarism awareness, and acquiring research skills.  We use common sense media as a framework for our Digital Citizenship curriculum.

7th/8th grade Electives:
Introduction to Coding/Programming
3D Modeling and Printing

In addition, TDS students express themselves through technology.  Check out the latest “Tornado Times“, a student newspaper run by a group of Middle Schoolers!