Middle School Curriculum Overview


All middle school students take courses in seven core subjects that are equally weighted, so students take the same number of hours in each of the following:

  • English Language & Literature (Language A or Language B)
  • Japanese (Language A or Language B)
  • Individuals & Societies (history, civics, geography, culture)
  • Integrated Science
  • Integrated Math
  • Physical & Health Education
  • The Arts (art, drama, music)

Students also take classes in Design Technology and study skills. These courses provide the skills middle school students need to be successful in all their classes.
Middle school students spend most of the day moving between six classes with their homeroom group. In some classes they may mix with students from the other homeroom (English, math, PE) and sometimes with other middle school grades (Japanese). Like the high school, middle school classes are scheduled based on an alternating Week 1/Week 2 rotating schedule, with short daily homerooms and weekly, extended homerooms. While most of the day is spent in middle school classrooms in the Wing Building, students have an occasional class in the high school area, and share a common break and lunch times with the high school students.

Course Descriptions


Students need to develop an appreciation of the nature of language and literature, of the many influences on language and literature, and of its power and beauty. They will be encouraged to recognize that proficiency in language is a powerful tool for communication in all societies. Furthermore, language and literature incorporates creative processes and encourages the development of imagination and creativity through self-expression.  As well as being academically rigorous, language and literature courses equip students with linguistic, analytical and communicative skills that can also be used to develop interdisciplinary understanding across all other subject groups. Students’ interaction with chosen texts can generate insight into moral, social, economic, political, cultural and environmental factors and so contributes to the development of opinion-forming, decision-making and ethical-reasoning skills, and further develops the attributes of an IB learner. 

In the multi-lingual environment of an International school our students are on a continuum of language learning. Therefore the Language & Literature at NIS courses are designed to meet the needs of a range of learners in both Japanese and English. While we require a minimum level of English to gain admissions into NIS (typically a minimum of level 3 in our EAL testing) we also recognize that our learners are on a journey to fluency in both languages. The languages offered in the MYP programme are designed to meet this diversity of needs.

English Language & Literature (Gr. 6)

Sixth grade students will begin the year by reviewing and expanding their knowledge of the elements of fiction through various texts and themes fiction in literature.  Students will learn how to recognize and begin to analyze key elements of fiction including plot structure, conflict, and characterization as well as literary devices and techniques in poetry and short story studies. Through conceptual based units and inquiry students will be encouraged to question, relate and connect knowledge of particular texts and techniques to broader concepts, literary contexts and conventions. Core texts range from ancient myths such as Homer’s Odyssey to modern day ‘classics’ such as The Giver by Lois Lowry and Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt to newspaper articles, blogs other multimodal texts to classical and humorous poetry selections. Vocabulary and grammar work will be contextualized as far as possible and the building of regular, independent reading, writing and editing habits will be an essential component of the course.

English Language & Literature (Gr. 7)

Students in grade seven will explore the writing genre of fantasy. Students will learn how to recognize and begin to analyze key elements of Fantasy writing and their effects through wider reading of novels within the fantasy genre.  Students will also develop the writing skills needed to apply and use these devices in the creation of their own fantasy story. We will take a multi media approach, designing a short trailer highlighting key elements of the genre. Later in the year students will further explore genre through an examination of Gothic short stories. Concepts of authority and power will be explored through the text Animal Farm and wider reading of non-fiction or historical texts around the theme. Students will be asked to make analytical responses to texts studied, using the conventions of academic writing. The students will also be expected to create a marketing campaign for  ‘small change’ movement. This will require a range of skills, including inquiry, group working, presentational and research.

English Language & Literature (Gr. 8)

Grade 8 students will explore a variety of literary and non-literary texts over the course of the year. As they develop further literary analysis skills and respond to the techniques of different writers from the past and present, students will be given the opportunity to reflect on deeper conceptual questions and connections, exploring such concepts as perspective, audience imperative and intertexuality. Core texts will include drama such as Shakespeare, short stories and poetry as well as informational texts such as articles and essays. Students will develop their written communication through working with model texts and creating their own texts, including narrative, argument and informational responses, as well as using structures to compare, contrast, support claims and evaluate evidence.  Continued independent reading projects will run in both Semester 1 and 2.  

Japanese Language & Literature (Gr. 6)

The curriculum of this class is designed following MYP philosophy and covers the following units:

  • human relationships (Curry Rice and other Shigematsu works)
  • environmental issues
  • health and living in relationship to the community and each other

Students are expected to understand the author’s intention and to express their own opinions properly and effectively. They also need to expand their knowledge and perspectives widely and deeply through learning these units.  In this class, we use textbooks, which are accredited by the Japanese Education Ministry.  To reinforce literacy skills, students learn 100 new Kanji and “4 letter” kanji words (so called “jyukugo”).

Japanese Language & Literature (Gr. 7)

As in any language course, the study of culture is an essential component.  This course invites students to learn more about Japanese culture and society through inquiry and the development of linguistic skills and knowledge alongside a deeper study and appreciation of Japanese novels. At this stage, they start to read further into ‘the meaning between the lines’ on a more figurative level, which develops the necessary critical reading skills needed at higher levels. The course covers the following topics -

  • Understanding the development of a story
  • Use and analysis of the technique of onomatopoeia
  • Poetry forms and meanings
  • Writing – self introduction
  • Reading for understanding
  • Language, grammar and sentence structure

Texts used –

  • Otsuberu and Zou (Nobel)
  • Hana no katachi ni himerareta fushigi
  • Kotoba ga tsunagu sekai isan
  • Various textbooks accredited by the Japanese Ministry of Education

Japanese Language & Literature (Gr. 8)

In this course students will develop accurate comprehension skills after reading sentences including understanding the main point of the story. They will acquire an accurate understanding of vocabulary meanings from books in a range of genres to learn to acquire necessary information.  Students will acquire language skills such as writing, speaking and listening for various uses.   They will enhance their knowledge of kanji and vocabulary and acquire the ability to listen to others and communicate their own opinion.  Students will develop deeper recognition and respect for Japanese language and a willingness to study Japanese in cooperation with others.  They will increase their interest in Japanese and their respect for others’ opinions as they deepen their own thoughts.

Students use textbooks accredited by the Japanese Ministry of Education, including novels, explanation essays, poems and classics. By reading these writings, students will develop not only their Japanese language ability but also their ability to think in Japanese.  In addition, students will often write essays in order to improve their writing skills. They will learn to write their own thoughts and opinions in essays using basic Kanji and grammatically correct structure. This will help them prepare for later on in their high school career.

Students will study three topics - 
•    War novel “Natsu no soretsu”- Students will read the novel while focusing on the hero’s feelings and thinking towards his way of life. They end by considering how the war affects people’s lives.
•    Japanese Modern short poems (Tanka) - Students will read famous modern Tanka written between the end of the Meiji Era to the early stages of Showa Era. They will analyze the 31 syllables’ words and grasp the situation and feelings described in each Tanka. In the end, they will choose their favorite Tanka and create a research paper related to that Tanka.
•    Japanese grammar - Students will focus on 4 categories; verbs, adjectives, adverbs and conjunctions. We will learn the features of each word-category and the effective usage of these words. 


Language is integral to exploring and sustaining personal development and cultural identity, and provides an intellectual framework to support conceptual development. The six skill areas in the MYP language and literature subject group—listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing and presenting—develop as both independent and interdependent skills. They are centered within an inquiry-based learning environment. Inquiry is at the heart of MYP language learning, and aims to support students’ understanding by providing them with opportunities to independently and collaboratively investigate, take action and reflect.

In the multi-lingual environment of an International school our students are on a continuum of language learning. Therefore the Language & Literature at NIS courses are designed to meet the needs of a range of learners in both Japanese and English. While we require a minimum level of English to gain admissions into NIS (typically a minimum of level 3 in our EAL testing) we also recognize that our learners are on a journey to fluency in both languages. The languages offered in the MYP programme are designed to meet this diversity of needs.

The English language acquisition courses focus and emphasize the development of foundational language skills in comprehending, responding to and writing texts in English. Students build academic writing and speaking skills within context and work with a variety of fiction and non-fiction. 

Students at EAL level 3 may be required to have additional EAL support through the Student Services Department. (For more information about the NIS EAL program, please go HERE)

English Language Acquisition & Skills (Gr. 6)

Grade 6 is a foundational time for developing core skills needed for an academic lifetime. In this course, students will develop reading comprehension skills, academic writing skills, and viewing and presentation skills needed in English and in all other subjects. Students will develop these skills through the lens of language arts and other academic contexts. Students will engage with non-fiction reading texts to develop core academic reading skills and vocabulary in an ongoing year round unit.  Other units will explore the literature as related to identity, cross-cultural awareness, and other global contexts. As a class, students will study two novels as well as explore other forms of media, many internet-based. Essential elements in units include academic writing skills such as grammatical, paragraph, and essay-level structuring, as well presentation skills.

English Language Acquisition & Skills (Gr. 7)

In this course students will focus on developing effective language structuring, vocabulary and accuracy in both written and spoken communication.  Through a variety of literary and informational texts ranging from novel studies by authors such as Morpurgo, Cisneros, Yep, Paulsen and Laird to informational articles; students will interact with concepts and questions on deeper, more personal levels learning how to present and support opinions and claims. Word study will take place through explicit grammar and vocabulary teaching as well as individualized editing and proofreading activities. Another primary focus of this course will be the development of reading comprehension skills and habits through small group, class and individual reading choices and study.  

English Language Acquisition & Skills (Gr. 8)

Students will be further expected to expand their skills in all fours areas; comprehension of written, spoken and visual texts, the ability to respond to text and the ability to use language effectively in a range of forms and contexts. To develop these skills students will examine cultural identity and produce an assembly on this theme for their peers. They will go on to write personal memoirs further utilizing the sense of self developed in the first unit. Units later in the year include an examination of social media and Internet communication, a focus on social justice and media and utilizing the Internet for societal change. Students will also follow a reading unit focused on the selection of more challenging texts. Throughout the units students will continue to acquire core skills in grammatical structures, vocabulary, reading comprehension and academic writing.

Japanese B1 (Gr. 6-8)

This class is designed for students who are new to the Japanese language or have little knowledge of Japanese. The goal of this class is to acquire the basic Japanese speaking skills to introduce yourself and your family and explain your daily life. Students also learn Hiragana, Katakana, basic writing, reading, and grammar including Japanese culture in everyday life.

Students will learn:

  • Reading and writing two types of Japanese alphabets (Hiragana and Katakana)
    • Basic Hiragana (46 alphabets)
    • Hiragana specials (combination of two hiragana, pause sound, prolonged sound)
    • Basic Katakana (46 alphabets)
    • Katakana specials (combination of two hiragana, pause sound, prolonged sound)
    • Basic Kanji (based on Hirokosann no Nihongo)
  • General conversation and grammar - talking about their family, daily schedules, locations, directions using prepositions and giving descriptions, grammar basics and sentence patterns will thus be introduced in a contextual way
  • Vocabulary - Building up vocabulary will be a core element of all activities, such as combining newly learned kana to make simple words, and learning the Japanese equivalents of everyday words and expressions and verbs , adjectives and adverbs will also be introduced.
  • Japanese Culture - Students will learn some important points of Japanese culture as expressed through language (e.g. bowing, referring to oneself and others, mealtimes, etc.) 


  • “Minna no Nihonngo 45 Jikan”
  • “Hirokosan no Nihongo”

Japanese B2 (Gr. 6-8)

JFL1b course offers the transition from foundation to intermediate level in Japanese language. Manipulating grammar and vocabularies/idioms in their fundamental knowledge, students aim to develop the cultivation of intercultural awareness, international-mindedness and global citizenship. Through the facilitated activities yet, students are going to develop critical thinking using balanced linguistic skills to express their thoughts and intention about complicated and widen issues. The goal is to gain the intermediate Japanese language skills as well as having deeper understanding of Japanese culture to start showing their creativity with balanced linguistic skills.  

The course covers:

  • “Appearance vs. Personality” - Describing people from both outside and inside, we are going to discover how people grow themselves despite of their looks and other people’s judgment.
  • “Our education” - Why do we learn? Why do we have to study each subjects at school?  Balanced learning will give you an opportunity to be successful in your future, but how do they connect to your future?  Aiming to your dream career closely, we are going to discover how and what we can do for our future.


  • “Tsugi no Nihongo 45 Jikan” (Yellow)

Japanese B3 (Gr. 6-8)

This course is an advanced class for non-native speakers of Japanese.  It is for those students who have mastered all hiragana and katakana characters, and:

  • know basic Japanese grammar
  • can write basic sentences in Japanese
  • can understand basic spoken Japanese and respond in Japanese 

and are ready to:

  • begin composing more sophisticated sentences
  • begin to write an essay with a variety of modifiers and rhetorical devices
  • become familiar with Kanji characters 

Students will study:

  • “Our Community” - Students will list the daily routine of their lives and learn the new vocabulary related to themselves.  At the end of the course, they will write about their personal relationships between friends, relatives and other people, and present it in class.
  • “Family” - They will think and discuss about the differences and similarities between Japanese families and families in other countries. They will learn new vocabulary related not only to Japanese traditional family styles but also to current ones, and then they will discuss how they affect the Japanese culture.
  • “School Life” - Students will research about the traditional Japanese school life that can be seen in Japan and how they relate to the Japanese culture. Also, they will research schools in other countries and compare them, and then present their findings in front of the class.
  • “My Town” - Students will list all the town/city systems present today. They will pick one area/country they like the best, and research it. They will also discuss how Nagoya-city will change and improve in the future. 
  • “Traveling” – Students will think and discuss how traveling affects people. They will research through the internet, plan their trips, make a poster with some short essays and then present them in front of the class.
  • “Volunteer Activities in the Community” – Students will conduct some research on volunteer activities that are held in Japanese schools, and examine how they affect our community. They will then discuss what they can do to volunteer at their school and/or their community, and, if possible, actually do so.

To prepare for high school, they will learn grammar, Kanji characters, presentation and discussions skills, writing, reading and comprehension skills, and finally, research skills in each unit.


  • Minna no Nihongo Yasashii Sakubun
  • Sakubun to Speech no Lesson
  • Doraemon no Dokodemo Nihongo
  • Hirokosan no Tanoshii Nihongo 
  • Basic Kanji Book Vol. 1 (grade 8)


Social Studies encourages the systematic and critical study of human experience and behavior, enabling students to positively contribute to the global community and encouraging international mindedness.  The Social Studies curriculum places emphasis on the interdisciplinary areas of economics, history, government, culture and geography.  Students develop the ability to interpret, synthesize, analyze, and evaluate a range of sources and information from a variety of perspectives and methodologies. By evaluating theories, concepts and arguments students are able to appreciate and empathize with the past, present and future. In order to better address modern challenges, the curriculum aims to develop an understanding of several major themes such as continuity and change, social and cultural institutions, conflict, revolution, leadership, citizenship, paradigm shifts and class struggle.

Individuals & Societies (Gr. 6)

Sixth grade students study the methods used by historians to investigate the past. Students will focus on the use of primary and secondary sources to gather evidence to answer questions about the past and to understand historical and heritage issues. Students will begin to comprehend and express themselves in the specific language of History. 6th graders will investigate key features of Athenian society in the time of Pericles through a range of archaeological and written sources and relevant historiographical issues. Students will assess the legacy of the Ancient Greeks on Western Society. Students will also examine the impact of geography on Greek government and economic systems. 6th graders will do a comparative study of three educational systems – Sparta, China and Athens. Students will assess the purpose, methods and outcomes of educational systems in the Ancient World. Students will answer document based questions, use historical sources to compare and contrast educational systems and evaluate how education creates citizens. Students will study history by looking at Alexander the Great in the context of his time. Students will create a newspaper, which will outline the career and achievements of Alexander the Great.

Individuals & Societies (Gr. 7)

Seventh grade Social Studies students will investigate the archaeological and written sources on the Roman Empire to 337 CE.  Students will learn about significant developments, forces and relevant historiographical issues that caused the fall of the Roman Empire, and the division of the empire into an Eastern and Western Empire. Students will examine the nature of reform, focusing on Diocletian’s military, economic and political reforms – the Tetrarchy, and evaluate the impact of Christianity. Students will study the European Middle Ages, describing the conditions which gave rise to Feudalism.  Students will study about sovereignty and investigate the question of legitimacy of leadership. Students will study the role of the Catholic Church and the balance of power between church and state.  Students will investigate the impact of the Black Plague and the Crusades on Europe during the Middle Ages.

Individuals & Societies (Gr. 8)

We live in an age of globalization, one in which the actions and decisions of a person on one continent can have a profound effect on someone literally half a world away. We change people’s lives with what we buy, how we vote, and where we go. In order to understand our impact and make informed decisions about our actions, it is necessary to understand the past: Which decisions were made? Why? What were the consequences? Should we replicate what’s been done or avoid it at all costs?

This course is designed to help students start to build the analytical skills necessary to deal critically with the problems of the past in order to address the problems of today. We will explore primary and secondary sources for origin, purpose, and message while also developing the ability to compare and contrast. We will analyze written and visual work for message, and strengthen writing skills in preparation for essay writing in the IB courses. Finally, students will learn about geography, economics, and government as these are woven into the curriculum.  Students will also be prepared for college courses, developing the skills necessary to arrive at conclusions on the basis of an informed judgment and to present reasons and evidence clearly and persuasively in written and oral formats.

On a practical level, we will develop skills such as analysis, evaluation, and attention to detail, in order to prepare students for almost any profession in which they choose to enter. On an academic level, the skills gained in this course will better prepare them for the demands of the IB courses which will be taken the last two years of high school at NIS.

The Grade 8 course will focus on the major changes wrought on societies throughout the world from the period 1400-1700. We will explore the growth of art, architecture, and modern thought in the Renaissance as well as the massive changes to Christianity during the Protestant Reformation. We will investigate the voyages of Zheng He and others during the Age of Exploration, and analyze how their voyages transformed economies and lives. Finally, we will see how the Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution paved the way for the Industrial Revolution: an era that lay the foundation for the modern era that we know today. We will weave themes of continuity and change throughout each unit as we strive to recognize patterns of human behavior that still exist today.


The framework for the middle school mathematics program utilizes current teaching practices as recommended by the MYP program, which is connected pedagogically to PYP in elementary and IB in high school. Four main objectives guide student learning within the units: knowledge and understanding, investigating patterns, communication in mathematics, and reflection in mathematics. There is an overall goal of getting students to a point where they can not only do the math, but also appreciate the beauty and usefulness of the discipline. 

The middle school mathematics program exposes students to mathematics through a variety of frames. These strands running in vertical alignment through the middle schools years are Number, Algebra, Geometry, Statistics, and Discrete Math. In their day-to-day studies, students will frequently utilize the following program components: Prentice Hall Mathematics textbook and auxiliary materials, standards-based Math warm ups, class lectures, video tutors, practice and activities, the MathCounts challenge program, and the Mathletics online mathematics program. 

Integrated Mathematics (Gr. 6)

The sixth grade math topics are:

  • Numbers and Graphs
  • Introduction to Algebra
  • Decimals, Fractions, and Percents
  • Geometry
  • Number Theory
  • Integers and Equations
  • Proportions and Probability

Integrated Mathematics (Gr. 7)

The seventh grade math topics are -

  • Ratios, Rates, and Proportions
  • Percents
  • Geometry
  • Integers and Equations
  • Patterns and Functions
  • Probability
  • Numbers Review

Integrated Mathematics (Gr. 8 SL/HL)

The eigth grade SL math topics are:

  • Algebra: Exponents and Equations
  • Practical Applications
  • Algebraic Graphing
  • Applications of Proportion and Percent
  • Algebra: Equations and Pythagoras
  • Geometry
  • Data Displays

The eigth grade HL* math topics are:

  • To Infinity: Numbers Behaving Rationally and Not
  • Algebra: Expanding and Factoring
  • Managing Basketball: Equations in Practice
  • Pythagoras: Working with Triangles and Square Roots
  • Pressing Issue: Using Line Graphs to Influence
  • Exploring Solids: Surface Area and Volume
  • Making Math Count: Statistics

*The honors course will cover the same topics as the standard level course but will go into more depth and the questions students will be asked will be more challenging.  In some topics we will add some extension work.


Science is a way of making sense of our world.  The science courses for grade 6 will encourage the natural curiosity inherent in the students in order to help them understand the environment in which they live.  The process of science is a primary focus in grade 6 Science.  This provides a systematic approach for exploration and allows students to deepen their understanding of fundamental concepts.  Science results from international cooperation and is the basis for the design of technologies that solve real world problems.  With new advancements comes the responsibility to consider any associated moral and ethical issues. 

Integrated Science (Gr. 6)

Sixth grade science students will study Energy. They will study the law of energy conservation and transfer of energy. Students will study different types of energy including heat, kinetic, potential, electrochemical, electromagnetic, sound, and nuclear energy.  Students will study the Scientific Method through observations and inferences.They will formulate a research question and hypothesis and identify variables. Sixth grade students will study Chemistry and the properties of matter, physical and chemical changes, and physical properties.

Integrated Science (Gr. 7)

Seventh grade science students will study the Atomic Structure and the Periodic Table. They will study the structure of an atom, ions and neutral atoms. They will study reactivity, ionic bonding and covalent bonding.  

Integrated Science (Gr. 8)

Eighth grade science students will study

  • The atom and nuclear reactions
    • Isotopes and percent abundance
    • Relative atomic mass and mass spectrometer (how do we weigh an atom?)
    • Quantitative chemistry
    • Radiation: alpha, beta and gamma
    • Chemical reactions and balancing equations
  • Energy/Thermodynamics  (this unit will continue into Semester 2)
    • Law of energy conservation/mass conservation
    • Transfer of energy/change from one type of energy to another
    • Different types of energy; heat, kinetic, potential, electrochemical, electromagnetic, sound, nuclear
    • Heat energy – movement from hot to cold, conductors vs insulators
    • Temperature as a measurement of kinetic energy
    • Specific heat capacity

MUSIC (Overview)

Music aims to nurture the student’s musical identity via activities derived from a balanced learning model of performing, composing and appraising music.  With a strong emphasis on collaborative work in the music classroom, students are encouraged to participate in music making activities, which not only value the individual input of its members, but importantly engenders a sense of group unity in working toward outcomes which share a collective vision.  Music allows students to be more sensitive to their own thoughts and feelings, and provide a medium where they can communicate those feelings in a supportive and caring environment.

Music (Gr. 6)

Grade six students will study The Beatles song “Let it Be” which will introduce students to the basic function of major and minor chords and their respective tonalities.  During the study, students will also learn about the basic form of popular music known and verse chorus and observe its function as a means presenting lyrical ideas and refrains. Students will explore concepts related to rhythm observing the basics of beat subdivision including rests and rhythm devices such as accents and rhythm groupings.  Using these concepts as a starting point, students will embark on the creation of a composition which exploits percussion instruments both tuned and unturned to demonstrate their ideas relating to percussive music.  Students will play “Father and Son” by Cat Stevens.  Students will draw on their experiences of playing Beatles music to draw comparisons between the pieces analyzing their respective approaches to musical form, chords, instrumentation, mood and lyrics; after which students will return to small ensemble groupings to prepare a performance of the music.  Pentatonic music will be explored in an analysis of some traditional Japanese music.  Here, students will learn about the fundamental differences in approach between Western and Eastern cultures in particular the approaches to form, harmony, melody and instrumentation.

Music (Gr. 7)

Seventh grade students will learn a selection of repertoire from contemporary, classical, Western and Eastern cultures whilst supporting this with a deepening understanding of the related musical elements, harmony, form and rhythm.  Students will have exposure to a range of instruments in the classroom to develop their practical skills with a primary focus on piano, guitar, singing and percussive skills.  During class, students will be exposed to a repertoire that aims to enlighten them and nurture their developing interest in music.  Students will be working in collaborative settings which aim to develop their ensemble playing skills, whilst also fostering a strong collective work ethic and improving their communication skills. Students will complete a song study of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door “by Bob Dylan.  The purpose of the study will be for students to begin to build some understanding of major and minor tonalities within the context of a pop song whilst also observing its arrangement of verse and chorus.

Music (Gr. 8)

Eight grade students will learn a selection of repertoire from contemporary, classical, Western and Eastern cultures whilst supporting this with a deepening understanding of the related musical elements, harmony, form and rhythm.  Students will have exposure to a range of instruments in the classroom to develop their practical skills with a primary focus on piano, guitar, singing and percussive skills.  During class, students will also be exposed to repertoire that aims to enlighten them and nurtures their developing interest in music.  Students will be working in collaborative settings which aim to develop their ensemble playing skills, whilst also fostering a strong collective work ethic and improving their communication skills.

VISUAL ART (Overview)

Art Education is central to an individual’s perception and understanding of the world in which we live. Creative learning enables students to look at themselves and their environments in visual form. Art Education teaches children to respect and appreciate their own interpretations and those of others. Through artistic endeavors, students will share what is important to them with others and  learn about the values and feelings of others who are doing the sharing. Through realistic expectations and a supportive environment, students will gain the ability and know-how to be self-reflective, persistent, expressive and ultimately proud of the work they created during the class.

Visual Art (Gr. 6)

Sixth grade students will study line drawing, pattern designing, painting skills and Art History research (featuring artists including Beatles designer Peter Max, Vincent Van Gogh and the Japanese ukiyoe artist, Hokusai). Sixth grade Visual Art students will go through a context based project which connects fundamental theories of Art and Design with a live design challenge - designed to push communication skills, independent inquiry and skills acquisition.   The students will be asked to design and produce a range of T-Shirts accompanied with bags, graphics and promotional material. To optimize their design skills students will learn about and practice the ‘Visual Elements of Art and Design,’  placing each Visual element in context with Art History and modern T-Shirt design.

Visual Art (Gr. 7)

Grade seven students will explore:

  • Lino-cut printmaking
  • Interior one point perspective 
  • Tye-dyeing and the cultural connection around the world.
  • Independent exploration

Visual Art (Gr. 8)

Students will build mostly on prior knowledge and reflect about how to increase levels of quality within their work.  It is fundamental important that young artists establish a sense of aesthetic quality about their work and recognize the ways in which to obtain it.  Students will experience taking principals that they have learned in prior grades and expand upon them with greater complexity and advanced applications.

Students will explore:

  • Two-point perspective
  • Batik making
  • Pottery
  • Still-life drawing


Design can be broadly described as a problem solving process.  Design courses prepare students for careers in fashion design, product design, graphic design, culinary arts, software development, engineering and architecture. Students at NIS use the design process to create solutions for problems in the areas of both software development and product design.

Each year, students are given design challenges in which they analyze problems, develop possible solutions, create a prototype for a chosen solution and evaluate its effectiveness. For digital design projects, students learn how to create programs for electronic textiles, video games, robots, animated movies and educational software by writing code in both visual and text based programming languages. For product design projects, students learn how to use computer aided design software to make t-shirt logos, mobile device docks, clocks and assistive devices using a variety of digital fabrication equipment including 3D printers, laser cutters and a vinyl cutter. 

Students submit all design process documents digitally for teacher feedback and grading which is accessible to parents through the secure ManageBac IB online learning platform. Further information about design at NIS can be found by downloading the Parent Guide to Design PDF.

DRAMA (Overview)

In the study of drama students confront questions about themselves, the world around them and about the wider world that they will influence in the future. This will help them form an understanding, an opinion and a need to contribute, but also a keen need to keep on learning – whether about themselves or what interests them.  In drama/theatre studies they will be confronted with varied questions like ‘How has theatre developed over the centuries?’ ‘What can I contribute to the community through being part of a production?’, ‘How can my skills in an English or History class help me with drama class?’, ‘How can I gain more confidence to stand up and perform or state my thinking?’

Each course is divided up into units of work. The main aims of all units will be to experience and participate in a range of theatre activities (performing, presenting and research, physical theatre), exploring different theatre traditions (Greek Theatre, Shakespeare), develop academic skills appropriate for the understanding of theatre, become reflective and critical of their own work, develop the confidence to work individually and collaboratively on several projects and begin to understand the dynamic and evolving nature of theatre. Words like interaction, communication, development as an artist, problem solving and reflection on the student’s own work and that of the group will come up regularly when we discuss the students’ efforts. 

Drama (Gr. 6)

In middle school, we focus on an awareness of ourselves and the differences and similarities we share with others. In preparing for theatre, students enhance their personal resources. They use their skills in imagination, concentration, sensory awareness, and body movement in their personal development. The students use these personal resource skills to express themselves emotionally, intelligently, socially, and physically. We explore trust, the use of the voice, theatre history, and various styles of theatre such as mime, melodrama, radio drama, improvisation, and the use of mask in theatre. Students learn about characterization and apply this in small productions and scenes.

Drama (Gr. 7)

The units covered are –

  • Me Me Me - focus on getting to know each other, basic skills of improvisation, but we will focus on who we are. Skills like research, reflection, focus, co-operation and creativity will come into working on this unit. Keeping a Drama Journal helps the students to collect information and write reflections.
  • The Tempest - 'The Tempest' by William Shakespeare; learn about the background of this great playwright, find out about techniques to enhance their acting, voice work, still images, physical theatre, etc.
  • Devising Theatre - Working from a stimulus, small groups will have to work together on creating a story-line, writing the dialogues, directing, designing and eventually, presenting a play that is all of their making.

Drama (Gr. 8)

Units of work include –

  • Characterization - Students look at and research all kinds of characters that are used in both films and texts: what is so special about these characters and what do they contribute to the flow of the story.
  • Performing a Play - Students will work on ensemble acting while tackling the production of a play.
  • Physical Theatre

Physical Education (Gr. 6-10)

The secondary physical education (PE) curriculum aims to increase each student's development of movement and social skills; improve each student’s physical and emotional health and provide the skills and knowledge to enable each student to become a lifelong physically active person.

The main sports/activities covered include: 

  • volleyball
  • badminton
  • soccer
  • softball
  • basketball
  • tennis
  • dance
  • movement composition
  • fitness

Health (Gr. 6)

Health education integrates the need to balance the social, mental-emotional, and physical health. Students are encouraged to take an active role in maintaining and improving their health. As part of this they are encouraged to develop life skills and a health vocabulary, which lead to health literacy.

Units Covered:

  • Body Systems: An overview of the major body systems, and their interaction. Particular attention is paid to how to prevent injury.
  • Defining health: How good health can be compared to a triangle made up of social, mental and emotional, and physical health. When one side is off-balance, every side is affected.
  • Tobacco:  Tobacco use, as it relates to cancer and other non-communicable diseases is studied.
  • Puberty and becoming an adult: The discovery of how the body changes socially, emotionally and physically during puberty. The study of reproductive systems, hormones and their functions.
  • Conception and fetal development: The study of conception.
  • Skin and body care: The care of the skin (especially during puberty) and general body care, and health vocabulary associated with both.

Health (Gr. 8)

Health education integrates the need to balance the social, mental-emotional, and physical health. Students develop skills that will make them health- literate adults. These include awareness and consequences of risky behaviors, disease prevention, overall wellness, and identification of community health resources. Students are taught how to access accurate information that they can use to promote health for themselves and others. Their behaviors reflect a conceptual understanding of the issues associated with maintaining good personal health. The Health curriculum deals with key aspects of development leading to complete and healthy lives. It encompasses physical, social and emotional health and intelligence. The aim is to develop in students a sense of responsibility for their own well-being and for their physical and social environment.

The Health curriculum in Grade 8 aims to:    

  • Increase student's understanding of themselves, others and how to live a healthy life;
  • Provide skills to students that will help them create a healthy nutrition and exercise program that will last a lifetime.
  • Educate students on subjects such as nutrition, exercise and nutrition related diseases and safety in order to allow them to make mature, responsible and healthy decisions. 
  • Provide the skills and knowledge to enable each student to become a lifelong physically active and knowledgeable person.