Upper School Grades 5-8

Upper School at GCS is a time for students to find their voice, stretch their intellectual muscles, and learn what kind of student they want to be. It is also a time for them to learn what kind of person they want to be, as a more purposeful blending of faith, academics, and social dynamics guides these often-complicated years.

The program for 5th through 8th graders is the final phase of GCS’s deliberate sequence of skill-building—a process that ushers children from nascent learners into a world that revolves around them to accomplished students who understand their responsibility to serve a wider world. GCS upper schoolers embrace a myriad of opportunities that grow their mind, body, and spirit while preparing them for success at the most selective high schools.

Upper School students follow an increasingly demanding academic program that includes meaningful real-world applications and practice. 

English Language & Literature
● Literature selections explore various genres including coming of age, fantasy, historical fiction, and classics to discern nuanced meaning, write critically, and
   practice public speaking.
● Collaborative work, design challenges, research, and presentations, provide experiences that enhance understanding of content.

● Increasing number sense with real-world applications
● Exploring probability, data analysis, and problem-solving
● Building facility with complex mathematical equations

● Life sciences (cells to human anatomy, ecosystems, and evolution)
● Physical sciences
● Chemistry
● Engineering (energy, structures, and machines)
● Hands-on labs give students the opportunity to practice the full spectrum of scientific methods.

Social Studies
● Geography and the rise of civilizations
● Study of Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, Greece, Rome, and the Middle Ages & Renaissance
● Building on lower school foundations, students study Spanish for 40 minutes four times per week.
● Emphasis is on language acquisition and culture awareness.
● The profession of faith, worship & sacraments, community & service, Christian morality, and prayer
● Advancing knowledge and understanding of faith, liturgical education, moral formation, prayer, and missionary initiation
● Each grade builds on skills, vocabulary, and safe handling practices while increasing the ability for creative self-expression.
● Students work in a wide range of media including drawing, painting, collage, mixed media, printmaking, fiber arts, and sculpture.