Curriculum

The curriculum of the Senior School is designed to provide an enriched and rigourous broadly-based academic education that will prepare Armbrae students to enter a wide variety of post-secondary universities and programs. Advanced Placement (AP) courses are available for even greater enrichment at the high school level.

Courses

Grade 7

English

The grade seven English course covers a range of literary forms and grammatical concepts. Through class novel studies as well as independent reading, students are asked to think about and discuss themes and aspects of the author’s writing style that make a novel both effective and enjoyable. We also look at a Shakespearean play through in-class reading and dramatization as well as the school-wide Shakespeare Festival to gain an appreciation of the beauty of Shakespeare’s writing and the relevance of his characters. As well, students explore the short stories and poetry of others and apply what they have learned in their own creative expression. Grammar focuses mainly on the parts of the sentence and the parts of speech as a basis for understanding the mechanics of the English language. Students have the opportunity to share their thoughts on these topics in a variety of forms: creative and critical, written and artistic.


Mathematics

The primary goal of Grade 7 Mathematics is for students to continue to become active, confident mathematicians who can use their knowledge and logic to solve a variety of problems. Students are encouraged to think creatively and enjoy the beauty of Mathematics as well as enhance their mental Mathematics skills. It is in Grade 7 that students are formally introduced to algebra and integers, and many activities are concrete in nature which is intended to help students explore mathematical concepts and bridge the gap between the familiar and abstract. Students are encouraged to demonstrate their understanding through written explanations addressing the “why” and “how” of the mathematics they are using.

Social Studies

Canada's Origins to 1763

Grade 7 Social Studies is an energetic hike through a multitude of exciting events that would eventually lead to a new country being formed: Canada! Hardy, entrepreneurial natives would trek from Asia to the Americas. Shorelines, rivers, lakes and wilderness barriers would yield to them. 14,500 years later Europeans would do the same thing. Today archaeologists, forensic anthropologists and historians continue to dig for details that will fine tune our picture of this huge adventure story. We will study that story and how artifacts, bones and documents speak to the storytellers!

Science

The Grade 7 science curriculum is an integrated program with an emphasis on discovery and exploration. Students engage in labs every week, deepening their understanding of core content and developing lab skills with activities such as ecosystem sampling, distillation, and constructing their own devices. Critical thinking is emphasized and students learn to design their own experiments.

French

The aim of Armbrae’s French program is to graduate students who will be able to: communicate in French orally and in writing, understand oral and written work, and express their opinion on a variety of topics.

The emphases in French 7 are to continue helping students develop positive attitudes towards learning and using French, while building upon and solidifying their existing skills, as well as considering the importance of possessing a second language.

Students explore a wide variety of themes, including: personal preferences, family life, and the futuristic classroom.

Art

The Grade 7 Art Curriculum is based upon the understanding of several genres of art their artists and style and to which movement they belong.

The study of visual imagery that speaks or sends a message to the viewer based upon popular culture of the day. Local artisans are also looked at and the study of the fundamentals of art are taught.

Music History

The grade 7 Music History course is structured in chronological order. It begins with the earliest musical records and it continues through the years, touching on various composers and musicians until it reaches the music we know today. Students learn about famous composers and musicians and how they have continued to change music through the years.

Research Skills

The Grade 7 Research Skills course is designed to help students further develop the basic skills and knowledge of inquiry and research, in order to become information literate. Topics include avoiding plagiarism, use of primary and secondary sources, note-taking and citing, organizing material, time management, web evaluation, and preparing for exams.

Healthy Living

The Grade 7 healthy living course provides a forum for discussion of a variety of topics and issues of relevance to students at this level: organization and other academic survival skills, money management, human reproduction, sexuality and gender issues. There are also opportunities for activities and outings to promote an active lifestyle and team building.

Physical Education

The purpose of the Physical Education program is to contribute to the physical, social and emotional development of the student through the learning and practice of physical skills in a positive social setting. Its goals include allowing students to decide if they would like to participate at a more competitive level and, if so, preparing them to enter into interscholastic leagues.

Grade 8

English

Grade 8 English is an adventure. Throughout the year we will explore, analyze, and practice different modes of self-expression, touching on the following key questions:

  • How do we communicate with the world around us?
  • How have others communicated their ideas in the past (and present)? How does adherence to specific conventions aid or inhibit communication?
  • How can we communicate more clearly?

Our adventure will consist of a great deal of reading and writing, both fiction and non- fiction, and will also take us into the realms of drama, poetry, and film. The overlap and interplay of these mediums will also inform our studies.

Coursework will include some common texts as well as some individually chosen reading with the goal of reading consistently and with momentum. Writing exercises will be varied and focused on developing a sound toolkit from which to draw for any type of academic or personal writing.

Mathematics

Math is fascinating, and Math 8 focuses on integrating the various areas of mathematics. For example, skills with algebra, rational numbers and the coordinate plane are used to solve problems involving measurement, statistics and linear equations. The activities in this course challenge students to think critically, make connections, work independently, work together, stay organized, and be persistent. The work invites many questions, and students are encouraged to find as many answers as they can. Math 8 also asks students to communicate clearly, both verbally and on paper, and to take responsibility for their own work. The goal is for students to become more accurate, efficient, and confident as mathematicians. Topics include: rational numbers, including roots, powers, and exponent laws; algebra and equations; measurement, with a focus on circles and the Pythagorean theorem; patterns and linear relations; data management; and geometry.

Ancient World History

From the Big Questions (Where does the Universe have a border?) through the big inventions (e.g. tools, farming, writing) and into the first civilizations (e.g. Egypt, Sumer, the Minoans) we will examine the problem-solving genius of the human mind. By asking questions, looking at archaeological and historical evidence, and searching for truth in myth and legend, students will discover many more than seven wonders of the ancient world.

Science

Grade 8 Science gives students the opportunity to try a variety of scientific roles, both in the classroom/lab and outside. Students learn the importance of strong organizational skills and the need to be curious and inquisitive. They conduct hands-on labs and learn how to write them up properly. They have the opportunity to cultivate a bond of respect with classmates and benefit from the diversity each student brings to the class. And, with safety at the forefront, they use their creativity and concern for the planet to open up new perspectives for themselves.

French

The aim of Armbrae’s French program is to graduate students who will be able to: communicate in French orally and in writing, understand oral and written work, and express their opinion on a variety of topics.

In French 8, all four language-skills are explored and assessed: listening, speaking, reading and writing. There is continued emphasis on the learning of correct grammar structures, verb tenses, and conjugation; therefore, independent revision is crucial for success.

Students explore a wide variety of themes, including outdoor adventures, sports, and athletes.

Art

The Grade 8 Art Curriculum is based upon the study of 20th century art and the artists that belong to the Cubist movement, Fauvism and alternative "outside the box" artists. Graffiti and Street art are discussed as well as the pros and cons. The fundamentals of art are infused with cross curricular subjects, while continuing to explore line, shape and colour.

Global Geography

Grade 8 Global Geography looks at what is going on in the world around us through a geographical lens. Location, region, spatial pattern, spatial interaction, human/environmental interaction, and culture are six key geographical concepts which we use in our exploration of our world. Because geography is an integrative discipline involving many other fields of study, we look at the effects of geology and landforms, climate and weather, historic, environmental, economic, social and cultural factors as they apply to those places we hear about in the news on a regular basis.

Note: In this transition year as we move our Canadian Government course from Grade 8 to Grade 9, Global Geography will be taught at both the Grade 8 and 9 levels.

Research Skills

The Grade 8 Research Skills course is a continuation of the programme offered in Grade Seven. It is held in three, week long sessions throughout the academic year. Topics include citing, quoting, summarizing and paraphrasing.

Healthy Living

Physical Education

The purpose of the Physical Education program is to contribute to the physical, social and emotional development of the student through the learning and practice of physical skills in a positive social setting. Its goals include allowing students to decide if they would like to participate at a more competitive level and, if so, preparing them to enter into interscholastic leagues.

Grade 9

English

Grade 9 English aims to develop readers who are skilled, passionate, habitual, and critical. From the first day of school, we make time for looking at books, listening to books, talking about the ideas and people in books, learning how to read books, and reading them. We offer students the most generous invitations we can devise to help them fall in love with books, see themselves as readers, spend significant time reading, and grow strong. We know the richness of their early experiences as readers will serve them well their whole lifetimes.

Mathematics

The Grade 9 Mathematics program is an introduction into higher order mathematics. It includes a balance between skill development and theory. Students are provided with problem solving assignments that challenge them to apply their knowledge. Topics build on the concepts from Grade 8 and push the envelope further to include: rational numbers, laws of exponents; algebra and equations; measurement; functions and relations; geometry; and right angled trigonometry.

History

The purpose of this course is to provide students with an introduction to the key events, ideas, and individuals of world history from roughly 600 B.C.E to 1450 C.E. Students will also be introduced to the “Big Six” historical thinking concepts developed by the Historical Thinking Project at the University of British Columbia. These concepts include: historical significance, cause and consequence, historical perspective-taking, continuity and change, the use of primary source evidence, and the ethical dimension of history.

Science

The primary goal of Grade 9 Science is for students to continue to become active, confident scientists who can use their knowledge and logic to solve a variety of problems. Students are encouraged to think creatively and to keep an open-mind as they encounter new material in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. They are also expected to participate fully in practical work to better understand the concepts as well as the world around them.

French

The aim of Armbrae’s French program is to graduate students who will be able to communicate in French orally and in writing, understand oral and written work, and express their opinion on a variety of topics.

In French 9, all four language-skills are explored and assessed: listening, speaking, reading and writing. There is continued emphasis on the learning of correct grammar structures, verb tenses, and conjugation; therefore, independent revision is crucial for success.

Students explore pop culture themes, including: fashion, music and other contemporary trends.

Art

The Grade 9 Art Curriculum continues to explore 20th century art and the master that are included therein. Fundamentals of art are delved into with a deeper understanding of making and exploration of materials. Students are encouraged to implement their ideas in a thoughtful and sensitive manner, with the use of materials and self expression.

Global Geography

Grade 9 Global Geography looks at what is going on in the world around us through a geographical lens. Location, region, spatial pattern, spatial interaction, human/environmental interaction, and culture are six key geographical concepts which we use in our exploration of our world. Because geography is an integrative discipline involving many other fields of study, we look at the effects of geology and landforms, climate and weather, historic, environmental, economic, social and cultural factors as they apply to those places we hear about in the news on a regular basis.

Note: In this transition year as we move our Canadian Government course from Grade 8 to Grade 9, Global Geography will be taught at both the Grade 8 and 9 levels.

Healthy Living

Physical Education

The purpose of the Physical Education program is to contribute to the physical, social and emotional development of the student through the learning and practice of physical skills in a positive social setting. Its goals include allowing students to decide if they would like to participate at a more competitive level and, if so, preparing them to enter into interscholastic leagues.

Grade 10

English

In the Grade 10 Advanced English course, we explore big ideas and universal themes that allow us to engage with contemporary issues, while reading both current and classic works. Throughout the year students obtain and strengthen competencies in reading and writing, as well as other means of communicating their observations, ideas, and insights.

This course helps equip students with the skills and tools necessary to both understand the world around them and communicate their sense of themselves within it. Through individual goal setting and effort students become more confident, reflective, and competent readers and writers over the course of the year.

Coursework includes both common texts and a great deal of individually chosen reading, with the goal of reading consistently and with momentum. Students draw from both common and individual readings to notice, model, and reflect on writing patterns and techniques. Texts include various lengths of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, media, and film.

Mathematics

By the end of Grade 12, students are to have achieved certain understandings as is outlined by the Atlantic Curriculum document. The focus of Grade 10 is to provide the necessary skills and understandings along the way, such that students will have success achieving the set goals for Grade 12 Mathematics. The Math 10 course prepares students for either Precalculus Mathematics 11 or Advanced Mathematics 11.

History

The purpose of this course is to provide students with an introduction to the key events, ideas, and individuals of world history from the Enlightenment to World War Two. Students will continue to develop an understanding of the “Big Six” historical thinking concepts developed by the Historical Thinking Project at the University of British Columbia. These concepts include: historical significance, cause and consequence, historical perspective-taking, continuity and change, the use of primary source evidence, and the ethical dimension of history.

Science

The primary goal of Grade 10 Science is for students to continue to be active, confident scientists who use their knowledge and logic to solve a variety of problems. Students are encouraged to think creatively and keep an open mind as they encounter new material in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. They are also expected to participate fully in practical work to better understand the course topics as well as the world around them. This course is a springboard to the Senior Sciences.

French

The aim of Armbrae’s French program is to graduate students who will be able to communicate in French orally and in writing, understand oral and written work, and express their opinion on a variety of topics.

In French 10, all four language-skills are explored and assessed: listening, speaking, reading and writing. There is continued emphasis on the learning of correct grammar structures, verb tenses, and conjugation; therefore, independent revision is crucial for success.

Students explore a broad variety of themes, including: humanitarian organizations, healthy lifestyle choices and advice, and The Count of Monte Cristo.

Art

The Grade 10 Art Curriculum is formed as a foundation program for the possible further of studying art in the senior school. It begins with colour theory, the physics of colour and continues through to the elements of design and perspective drawing. Students begin to explore the possibilities of a studio practice.

Computer Science Principles

This course, based on the College Board's AP Computer Science Principles curriculum, introduces students to the foundational concepts of computer science and challenges them to explore how computing and technology can impact the world. With a unique focus on creative problem solving and real-world applications, Computer Science Principles prepares students for college and career.

Physical Education

Phys. Ed.

The purpose of the Physical Education program is to contribute to the physical, social and emotional development of the student through the learning and practice of physical skills in a positive social setting. Its goals include allowing students to decide if they would like to participate at a more competitive level and, if so, preparing them to enter into interscholastic leagues.

Yoga

Grade 10 Yoga introduces students to the ancient tradition of yoga. With its potential to bring vibrant health to body, mind and spirit, the intention of this course is for students to develop a personal practice of yoga. This practice will not only allow students to maintain their physical health, but also to develop healthy relationships with themselves, with others, and with the world of which they are a part.

Students will participate in various activities during this course, including asana (physical) and pranayama (breathing) practice, personal reflection, partner exercises, and group discussion.

The physical aspect of yoga involves gaining and improving strength, flexibility, cardiovascular endurance, balance, and the regulation of energy through breathing and sustained mental focus. All of these skills are of significant benefit to one’s overall health and well being as well as other physical pursuits.

Grade 11

English

The Grade 11 Advanced English course is organized as a survey of the History of English Literature; we will move from the Middle Ages toward modern day, exploring literary conventions, the development of the English language, and drawing connections between literature and history. Students are expected to read and comprehend a variety of literary forms, draw comparisons and analyze information, as well as express their ideas in different ways.

The purpose of the course is to understand the origins of the English language, gain exposure to, understand, and appreciate English literature, and to develop skills in preparation for university level study.

Each of the following time periods will be covered, and a selection of texts will be studied from each:

  • The Middle Ages and the Beginning of the English Language
  • The Sixteenth and Early Seventeenth Centuries
  • The Eighteenth Century and the Restoration
  • The Romantic Period
  • The Victorian Age

Mathematics

Grade 11 students take either Advanced Math or Precal Math.

Advanced Math

Advanced Math 11 is a university preparatory course for students who do not intend to take Calculus. It is rigorous, with a focus on understanding and applying the theory rather than on proving the theorems. The sections are cumulative, particularly in the trigonometry units, and students are often required to recall previous strategies and methods in order to apply them later in the course. In addition, students often appreciate the balance of calculation questions and problem solving applications. Topics include: functions; 3-space algebra; quadratics; extensive trigonometry; geometry; and statistics.

Precal Math

Precalculus Math 11 is a university preparatory course for students who are heading towards a science, engineering, or business degree and/or for students who are passionate about mathematics. It is a highly rigorous program exploring theory and proving theorems. The course content includes analysis of the different types of relations and functions including higher-degree polynomials, trigonometric functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, circles and ellipses. The geometry unit explores the properties and proofs associated with similar triangles and circle geometry.

Social Studies

History

The purpose of this course is to provide students with an introduction to the key events, ideas and individuals in Canadian history from Confederation to the present day. Students will continue to explore the historical thinking concepts introduced in previous history courses.

Economics (Micro)

The purpose of this course is to provide students with an introduction to the fundamental concepts of microeconomics, as well as the relationship between economic theory and the "real world."

Science

Biology

The Biology 11 curriculum includes a survey of living organisms as well as the human immune system. Organisms are studied in the context of current issues such as outbreaks, antibiotic resistance, and vaccination. Students develop strong microscopy skills while working with their own microscope and laboratory activities are emphasized.

Chemistry

Grade 11 Chemistry is designed as an introductory University preparatory course in which students are introduced to the basic fundamentals essential to the further study of chemistry, both at the Grade 12 level and the University level. Topics covered in the Grade 11 curriculum include atomic theory, the study of the periodic table, chemical bonding, as well as a the introduction to the mole concept leading into equations and chemical stoichiometry. The Grade 11 curriculum finishes up with an introduction to organic chemistry and gas laws. As an integral part of the course there is a very extensive laboratory component where students have an opportunity to carry out first hand experiments closely related to the course curriculum. Students also have an opportunity to conduct an independent experimental-based research project where they will put into practice many of the techniques learned throughout the laboratory component of the course.

Physics

Grade 11 Physics is an introduction to a higher level of Physics where the student needs to develop refined inquiry, problem solving and decision making skills to successfully make connections among the different topics in the course. This can be done by practicing questions independently, asking questions in class, drawing conclusions from practical work and revising thoroughly for tests. The course aims to have a ‘hands-on’ approach with a opportunity to discover patterns in each concept.

French

The aim of Armbrae’s French program is to graduate students who will be able to communicate in French orally and in writing, understand oral and written work, and express their opinion on a variety of topics.

In French 11, all four language-skills are explored and assessed: listening, speaking, reading and writing. There is continued emphasis on the learning of correct grammar structures, verb tenses, and conjugation; therefore, independent revision is crucial for success.

Students explore a wide variety of themes, including: francophone traditions, restaurants and food, and French literature.

Art

The Grade 11/12 Art Curriculum is based upon the study of art history with two classes of studio per week. Art History serves as a core and influences students awareness of the genres of art.

Computer Studies

This class explores the interactivity and narrative of digital media through the creation of audio and video projects. We will examine digital media as a tool for seeing, exploring, expressing and social critique. By analyzing literature, films, video games and interactive artworks, we will look at the various forms of dynamic storytelling in relationship to memory and time. Issues that will be discussed include subjectivity, sequences and transitions, rhythm and repetition, interactivity and the role of the observer.

Physical Education

Phys. Ed.

The purpose of the Physical Education program is to contribute to the physical, social and emotional development of the student through the learning and practice of physical skills in a positive social setting. Its goals include allowing students to decide if they would like to participate at a more competitive level and, if so, preparing them to enter into interscholastic leagues.

Yoga

Grade 11 Yoga introduces students to the ancient tradition of yoga. With its potential to bring vibrant health to body, mind and spirit, the intention of this course is for students to develop a personal practice of yoga. This practice will not only allow students to maintain their physical health, but also to develop healthy relationships with themselves, with others, and with the world of which they are a part.

Students will participate in various activities during this course, including asana (physical) and pranayama (breathing) practice, personal reflection, partner exercises, and group discussion.

The physical aspect of yoga involves gaining and improving strength, flexibility, cardiovascular endurance, balance, and the regulation of energy through breathing and sustained mental focus. All of these skills are of significant benefit to one’s overall health and well being as well as other physical pursuits.

Grade 12

English

The goal of Grade 12 English is to create clear, confident, and critical writers. Our core text is Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. In our ‘workshop’ learning environment, students choose what they read and respond in a variety of ways, putting each piece of writing through multiple drafts. This facilitates ownership of the learning and the assignments. The aim is that choice in one’s final year of high school leads to creativity and enjoyment, as well as a valuable transition to the next stage: post-secondary learning.

Mathematics

Grade 12 students take either Advanced Math or Precal Math. Calculus is an elective available only to those students who are also taking Precal.

Advanced Math

Advanced Math 12 is a university preparatory course for students and is a continuation of the Advanced Math 11 program. It is rigorous, with a focus on understanding and applying the theory rather than on proving the theorems. Students are provided with a mix of problem solving and calculation based questions. Topics include: higher-degree polynomial functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, sequences and series, right and non-right trigonometry, probability, and an investigation of conic sections.

Precal Math

The Precalculus 12 course focuses on teaching the students the remaining skills necessary for success in the Calculus course the students will most likely be pursuing upon graduation. The course completes the tour on the wide diversity of function types, what they look like, how to sketch them, complete an analysis, and solve problems associated with each.

Calculus

This course is an introduction to single-variable differential and integral calculus, and it covers the material typically found in a standard first-year university course. It provides a comfortable, interactive atmosphere in which to learn the rigorous basics of a challenging subject. Topics include: limits and rates of change; derivatives and applications; the mean value theorem, curve sketching, and optimization; integrals and applications; transcendental functions; various integration strategies; and differential equations or parametric equations, if time allows.

Social Studies

History

The purpose of this course is to provide students with an overview of the key events, ideas and individuals of world history from the end of World War Two to the present day.

Students will continue to explore the historical thinking concepts introduced in previous history courses.

Economics (Macro)

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Theory of Knowledge

The overall aim of the Theory of Knowledge is to encourage students to formulate answers to the question "how do you know?” in a variety of contexts, and to see the value of that question.

Science

Biology

The Biology 12 curriculum includes a study of cellular process, evolution, and an in-depth study of the human body. Students have labs every week and develop skills in dissection and data analysis. They conduct an independent research project on the human body that includes developing their own question, an interview with a specialist, designing and conducting the experiment, analyzing the results, and presenting them with a formal presentation.

Chemistry

The Grade 12 Chemistry course is designed to provide students with the necessary background and problem solving skills required for first year Chemistry courses offered at Universities across the country. As a continuation of Grade 11 Chemistry, the Grade 12 program is designed to apply those fundamentals in a more rigorous manner with an emphasis on real world applications and detailed problem solving. Topics in the Grade 12 course include the study of solutions both qualitatively and quantitatively as well as introductory thermochemistry and kinetics. Also topics such as equilibrium, acids and bases and redox chemistry form an integral part of the Grade 12 curriculum. As was the case for Grade 11 Chemistry there is also an extensive laboratory component which is designed to support many of the concepts discussed at the classroom level. Students in the Grade 12 program also have an opportunity to design and carry out an independent experimental research project based on some aspect of chemistry in which they apply the skills they have developed throughout the regular laboratory program.

Physics

Grade 12 Physics is a continuation from the Grade 11 Physics course. The student is expected to further develop the skills and knowledge acquired in Physics 11 by drawing more in-depth conclusions on the material covered and designing their own experiments. The course aims to continue being ‘hands-on’ in approach but the student will be exposed to more theoretical physical concepts such as Nuclear and Quantum Physics.

French

The aim of Armbrae’s French program is to graduate students who will be able to communicate in French orally and in writing, understand oral and written work, and express their opinion on a variety of topics.

In French 12, all four language-skills are explored and assessed: listening, speaking, reading and writing. There is continued emphasis on the learning of correct grammar structures, verb tenses, and conjugation; therefore, independent revision is crucial for success.

Students explore a wide variety of themes, including French artists and artistic expression, technology, environment, and French literature.

Art

The Grade 11/12 Art Curriculum is based upon the study of art history with two classes of studio per week. Art History serves as a core and influences students awareness of the genres of art.

Computer Science

This course introduces students to computer science with fundamental topics that include problem solving, design strategies and methodologies, organization of data (data structures), approaches to processing data (algorithms), analysis of potential solutions, and the ethical and social implications of computing. The course emphasizes both object-oriented and imperative problem solving and design using the Java language. These techniques represent proven approaches for developing solutions that can scale up from small, simple problems to large, complex problems. The course covers much of the scope of the College Board AP Computer Science A course curriculum, and is equivalent to a first-semester, college-level course in computer science.