In our 7-8 community on the second floor, you feel an exciting shift. Students increasingly take ownership of their learning, and teachers increasingly act as facilitators guiding students, rather than directing them. A multi-machine Rube Goldberg challenge encompassing the work of several groups of students will fail or succeed on its own merit; students as a class will determine which Detroit-based non-profit organization to support through Campaign for A Cause.
In courses including American History and Shoah, Diyyun and Siyyum, students grapple with essential questions of democracy and theology, and begin to discover how they will fit into the world as citizens. They create their own society complete with laws and a system of justice, they study world religions, and they deliberate the great questions the Jewish people have visited and revisited throughout the centuries: what does it mean to be a Jew? How can we maintain our individuality in the face of assimilation? How can we thrive?
Their sequence of Judaic studies leads them to the unforgettable eighth grade Israel trip where their learning literally comes to life as they trace the footsteps of our ancestors, return to the Zion of our prayers, and meet the modern-day heroes who protect and defend the State of Israel. They internalize that Israel is the true home of the Jewish people, and cannot wait to go back again.
In math, students are placed in courses that enhance skills at the appropriate level, including algebra in seventh grade and geometry in eighth grade. The science curriculum continues to foster a love and curiosity for science including units on cells, viruses, genetics, physics and robotics.
In tandem with their academic growth, the 7-8 community takes on leadership roles throughout school. As the become b’nai mitzvah, they run morning minyan. They act as student ambassadors, they participate in student government, and they lead their teams to victory in soccer, basketball and tennis.
Ultimately, they leave Hillel as graduates who embody our core values, and who are resilient lifelong learners prepared not only for high school, but for life.