On any given day in Daystar's Middle School, the beginning of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program, you are likely to see a class boarding a bus, clipboards in hand, heading off to one of Chicago's many educational destinations. They will have already spent time earlier in the morning going over what they have learned in their Individuals and Societies unit, and will later return to complete a reflective journal asking what piqued their curiosity. Meanwhile another class is sprawled across the floor of their classroom dreaming up their ideal house layout using a ruler, cardboard, and recently learned geometry skills. Still another class is in the Art Studio, lined up to wash the quickly drying clay from their hands while they admire their pottery sitting on the counter awaiting a kiln.
Each one of these classes demonstrates how the IB program teaches students to be global learners. They embrace the communities around them, whether near or far, applying their classroom learning to real world application. As a faith-based school, Daystar students then take that learning and view it through the lens of God's truth, asking what it means to be a person of faith who loves God and loves others.
About the IB Middle years program
The MYP is a challenging framework that encourages students to make practical connections between their studies and the real world.
The MYP is a five-year programme, which can be implemented in a partnership between schools, or in several abbreviated (two, three or four year) formats. Students who complete the MYP are well-prepared to undertake the IB Diploma Programme (DP) or Career-related Programme (CP).
Taken from the International Baccalaureate website.
In the IB Middle Years Program there are eight subject areas that are constantly intersecting as students learn throughout the program. Students are introduced to the concept of grouping their learning around these subjects in 6th grade and follow this idea through middle school and into high school in 9th and 10th grade.
- Language & Literature
- Individuals & Societies
- Physical Education & Health
- Language Acquisition
Individuals and Societies:
MYP Individuals and Societies encourages learners to respect and understand the world around them and equips them with the necessary skills to inquire into historical, contemporary, geographical, political, social, economic, religious, technological and cultural factors that have an impact on individuals, societies and environments. We will continuously consider local and global contexts. The study of individuals and societies helps students to appreciate critically the diversity of human culture, attitudes and beliefs. We hope to foster in each student a lifelong interest in the human story.
MYP science students move through a 3 year rotation of physical science, earth/space science and life science. Using the Next Generation Science Standards and the IB-MYP science objectives as a guide, students explore the created order through unit studies in that year’s science discipline. The program is designed to introduce scientific content through hands-on experience and inquiry, allowing students to gain an understanding of the laws God has established to govern creation, recognize how creation is intricately interdependent and make responsible and service-oriented choices when using Earth’s resources. Classroom and onsite investigations engage students in developing hypotheses, making observations, collecting and interpreting data and discussing results, as well as other skills essential for the development of scientific literacy. Special effort is made to observe and study the natural world and technological innovation at close range. To this end, learning excursions are taken to places that provide a variety of opportunities for students to interact with ecosystems, plants and animals as well as places where students can observe scientific principles at work. In the past some of these places have included Lake Michigan beaches, Chicago parks, the Brookfield or Lincoln Park Zoo, Shedd Aquarium, the Garfield Park Conservatory, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Method Factory, Johnny’s Ice House and the Ignite Glass studio. Students also use their understanding of scientific principles to design, engineer, and test products in cooperation with their Design class.
Physical education and Health:
Physical and health education at Daystar focuses on learning about physical activity and learning through physical activity. Physical and health education units will focus primarily on the concepts of communication, relationships, and change through the lens and context of health, fitness, and sports. Students will participate in and learn about a variety of team sports, individual sports, recreational sports, cooperative games, and movement activities. Students will be expected to pursue improved physical fitness through active class participation and class focused fitness activities. Physical and health education helps students appreciate and respect the ideas of others and develop effective collaboration and communication skills; they create meaningful connections among people, nations, and cultures.
Language Acquisition (Spanish):
Language acquisition courses focus on interpersonal, interpretive and presentational competence while fostering cultural understanding. Our curriculum aligns with Illinois Foreign Language Learning Standards within the MYP IB Language Acquisition framework. While developing language skills through the study and use of a myriad of written and spoken material, students explore the culture(s) connected to it. Materials extend from everyday written and oral exchanges to texts which relate to the culture(s) concerned. Through their studies, students build the necessary and appropriate skills to read, write, speak and listen at the level that will be assessed through their receptive, productive and interactive skills. Spanish is offered to all students; those who are fluent in speaking, reading and writing Spanish may take an online course in another language.
Students engage in sophisticated and in-depth learning of mathematics, using an approach that seeks to bring application to investigating patterns, communicating, and exploring real world situations. Students build skills and conceptual understanding that help them master math standards in Algebra, Geometry, and Statistics. Through the use of Common Core Standards, integrated within the IB framework, students are challenged to think critically about global issues.
Throughout the year, students will be challenged to apply practical and creative-thinking skills to solve design challenges and problems. In Design class students learn to approach these challenges with the use of the Design Cycle which takes them through stages of investigation, planning, creation, and evaluation. Inquiry and problem-solving are at the heart of design; however, much of our attention will also go into developing empathy and raising awareness of our responsibilities when making design decisions and taking action.
Daystar’s visual arts curriculum seeks to nurture in our students an understanding of visual expression, representation and communication. Students will explore what it means to be made in the image of God while being challenged to think creatively, critically and analytically. This year’s curriculum is specifically designed to further enhance student understanding of art in context, while allowing students to work with a variety of media and techniques. Concepts explored will include form, identity, culture, aesthetics and perspective. Along with our curriculum studies, students are responsible for maintaining and keeping up with weekly sketch assignments which derive from the unit being studied at the time. Assignments will be used to both help students develop skills as well as expand creativity and problem-solving skills. In a rapidly changing world, the visual arts curriculum ultimately seeks to help students build a sense of identity, perseverance, and develop intercultural understanding as students begin to see themselves as creators and transformers of the world around them.
Program Overviews by Academic Year
Daystar Middle School Parent
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