Sixth graders tend to be very practical, employing cause and effect thinking, and are keenly interested in facts and conditions. Their core curriculum supports this with Roman and Medieval history; world geography and cartography; mineralogy; astronomy; physics (acoustics, optics, electricity, magnetism, heat); geometric drawing with instruments; business math and arithmetic; biographies; composition, spelling, grammar, and reading. The Romans were conquerors and masters of the practical world and appeal deeply to the sixth grader. The students also study the European Middle Ages, including the feudal system and particularly the Knight’s Code of Honor. This study of the Middle Ages is capped by a Knighting Ceremony.
Sixth graders study the syntax of simple and complex sentences. Research skill-building continues, as students are required to complete short biographical reports and topical research. Individual writing continues in journaling and letter composition, and is expanded through records of observation in science classes. Sixth graders develop their awakening powers of thinking as they learn to compare and contrast various subjects in their writing.
In math, the sixth grade curriculum, taught by the middle school math specialist, reflects the practical interests of the student. The application of percentages is practiced in business mathematics and extends to the formula of interest. Business math is applied to real life through work with the school farm stand. Students learn to work with formulas and their conversions, which leads to work with algebraic concepts. Their studies include geometric drawings and proofs, as well as skill work with compass and straight edge.
In science, the children gain a comprehensive picture of the earth’s plant and animal life through their study of world geography, climates, and astronomy. The students study astronomy and geology. The children scientifically study the minerals and crystals they viewed as magical objects in Kindergarten and learn the differences between igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks. The students’ faculties of observation are further developed through experimentation in physics. Acoustics, optics, thermal dynamics, static electricity and magnetism are introduced through phenomena demonstration and hands-on experimentation and observation.
The study of their chosen musical instrument continues. In spring, students meet with other Waldorf sixth graders for the Medieval Games. Sixth graders receive additional instruction in Spanish, German, handwork, eurythmy, games and movement, farming and gardening, and music.