Message from our MS Faculty
Welcome to Middle School!
From the first day of sixth grade all the way through eighth, Clariden Middle School students are immersed in an environment that fosters creativity, real-life problem solving, and technological skills that will serve them throughout their lives.
From Physical Science to Earth and Life Sciences, students engage in hands-on learning through exciting labs and projects. Students don’t learn through reading and memorization; they dive in and learn through challenging and hands-on enjoyable experiences. This philosophy holds true throughout all core subjects, whether it be Math, English, or Social Studies: our Middle Schoolers learn through tactile experiences and exploration.
Students tackle modern problems through their STEAM projects and have an extensive selection of electives that expose them to a wide array of subjects including robotics, photography, dance, rocketry, and more. Clariden students come out of Middle School ready and able to meet any challenge that awaits them in Upper School and beyond.
The Middle School Team
Project Based Learning (PBL) is the heart of the educational experience at Clariden. Every grade, from preschool to Upper School, builds their academic year around four or more engaging, multi-disciplinary projects. The PBL projects are generated to rigorously address and exceed Texas Curriculum Standards, while incorporating student interests.
Projects are driven by rich, real-world, and relevant research questions. The learning process simulates the way problems are solved in the workforce: through team effort, exploration, testing, and evidence-informed conclusions. Projects combine research, composition, public speaking, and presentation skills. Each project framework includes goals, methods, lessons, timeline and assessments.
The PBL Framework:
- Driving Question
- Learning Outcomes
- Concepts Introduced
- Technology Introduced
- Field Study
- Presentation of Learning / Assessment
- Competition (when applicable)
STEAM Projects & Competitions
Middle School students have a daily STEAM class where they engage in research, documentation, design, prototyping, testing, and data analysis. STEAM is the acronym Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math — which goes beyond STEM to emphasize the design skills needed for real-world product development, packaging, marketing and more.
Grades 6-8 work collaboratively on project teams. This gives our students mentoring opportunities and ensures that teams have a comprehensive set of skills. STEAM projects culminate in either a Presentation of Learning, where teams present their research and findings, or in a Competition, in which their engineering notebooks and builds are judged in Regional, State and National/International competitions.
VEX IQ Robotics Competition
VEX Robotics’ VEX IQ Squared Away Competition is designed to challenge students to build, program and compete with their robot to complete a number of challenges. “Two robots compete as an alliance in 60-second long teamwork challenge matches, working collaboratively to score points. Teams also compete in two additional challenges: The Driving Skills challenge, where one robot scores as many points as possible under driver control; and the Programming Skills Challenge where one robot scores as many points as possible autonomously, without any driver inputs.” Learn more about the challenge here
- 2019-2020 VEX IQ Excellence Award & State Finalist – Middle School Team
- 2018-2019 Clariden’s Middle School All-Girls Team Ranked 4th Place at VEX Robotics Competition.
United States Super STEM Competition (USSSC)
The USSSC “is an educational non-profit organization running a yearly event to challenge the creative mind of all middle school, high school and college students.” The competition is open to both US and International students. There are multiple divisions in which teams can compete. Each year, Clariden selects one of the divisions and then students work to build their entry as part of their STEAM PBL. The project is graded as part of the STEAM class and entry in the competition follows.
For 2019, Clariden’s middle school team was awarded 1st place at the United States Super STEM Competition (USSSC). The team participated in the Clean Energy division where the goal was “to produce the fastest spinning wind turbine.” The middle school team won with a score of 12.44V, which beat the 2018 winner’s score.
- 2019 National 1st Place Winner: Clean Energy Division – Super Wind Turbine
- 2018 National 1st Place Winner: Biomimicry Division – Super Umbrella
- 2017 National 1st Place Winner: Architecture Division – Tiny Houses
The American Rocketry Challenge (TARC)
The America Rocketry Challenge (TARC) is an annual national competition. Clariden students work to build a rocket from scratch and have it complete a number of challenges laid out by the competition.
- 2022 National Finalists
2021 Regional Finalists
- 2017 National Finalists
- 2015 National Finalists – Earned 3rd Place Nationally in the Presentation Award