The Live Education Books for Seventh Grade
Perspective drawing is a technique used by Renaissance artists to create the illusion of three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface. In the same way that all the lines of light stream to a single point entering the pupil of the eye so too do the appearance of all three-dimensional lines defining the forms of the outer world seem to coalesce at single points out on the horizon. These are called the vanishing points. Perspective drawing is a kind of projected geometry to these vanishing points on the horizon. It builds upon the basic Euclidean geometry principles studied in the fifth grade and the sacred geometry of nature studied in the sixth grade. Most students are very enthusiastic to discover that they are able to draw accurate three-dimensional figures such as one would find in a cityscape or in the representation of simple architecture. Your Live Education perspective geometry book leads the student and teacher through a simple step-by-step procedure beginning with the simplest forms such as a row of columns and progressing to complex architecture and cityscapes. The entry into exact geometrical construction is prefaced by easy methods of achieving three dimensional representations through the techniques of overlapping, atmospheric perspective and color perspective. Since geometrical perspective drawing was developed during the Renaissance, the book also includes historical and cultural themes from that era to be used in a main lesson presentation. There is enough material in the book to cover three to four weeks of the main lesson block, but one can also continue with the techniques learned for other drawing projects.
Introduction to Algebra
The Introduction to Algebra book shows the teacher how to lead the student into that domain of mathematic variables where letters substitute for numbers. There are 16 lessons in the book; some will take two main lessons to complete, so 3 to 4 weeks of main lessons are required. Many teachers have used this book successfully as imaginative presentations in the “after main lesson practice times.” Several practice periods per week are often needed in the upper grades as supplemental work to the materials presented in main lesson, and during this time, the student might have three lessons of algebra per week for several months, and then the practice time is used for English and grammar studies three times per week for several months.
The student is led gently into the realm of algebra through imaginative stories and artistic work. Simple calculations for area, perimeters, and circumferences are where the study begins, leading into the concept of negative numbers, simple linear equations, and Cartesian coordinates. It is always a story, an artistic project, or an imagination that opens the door to the algebraic concepts; facility with the conceptual mathematical abstraction being the final result of the process.
The study of European geography is a natural enhancement to the history of the Middle Ages studied in sixth grade as well as the Renaissance and Age of Exploration of the seventh grade. The approach is to gain an overview of all the modern countries on the European continent along with the major watersheds, mountain ranges, characteristic flora and fauna of each region, and an understanding of the cultural differences that exist from country to country. Student activities include map making, drawing and watercolor painting, modeling with clay or beeswax, narrative writing, cooking, and drama. The Live Education book is designed to cover a 3 to 4 weeks long main lesson block.
Physics II is a four week study in the seventh grade that builds upon the simple phenomena and concepts of sound, light and heat learned in the sixth grade year. [See the Live Education book Introduction to Physics] For example, in the introductory book, simple acoustic phenomena such as the quality of sound—pitch, timbre, dissonance, etc.—are built upon with their mathematical correlates: pitch is now seen as frequency measured in vibrations per minute or hertz; consonance and dissonance are seen as mathematical proportions, sound intensity as decibel levels, etc. The study of acoustics in the seventh grade leads into other phenomena such as sympathetic vibrations, amplitude, and the mathematical ratios of musical intervals and finds its summation in the study of the human ear. Similarly, color and optics leads us through the study of refraction, reflection and magnification and find their summation in the study of the human eye.
The survey of simple phenomena in magnetism and electricity leads to a survey of electromagnetism, the basis for so many devices that surround us in our everyday lives: electric motors and alternators in our cars, telephones, speakers and the stereo, a variety of electronic components, transformers and the transmission of power over high voltage lines.
Finally, the study of physics in the seventh grade leads into “hands on” applications with simple machines such as the lever and pulley, and then introduces the ideas and calculations involved with work, force, and energy.
Wish Wonder Surprise
Wish Wonder and Surprise is a study in the modes of expression and genres of writing in English literature that capture the essence of human expressions of awe, aspiration, and astonishment. In this 4 to 6 week study, the student will create and experiment with various literary genres such as rhetoric, narrative, scientific description, oratory, poetry, drama, and story. The student will read from some of world literature’s finest examples written by authors such as Shakespeare, Robert Frost, Thoreau, Emerson, Coleridge, etc.
The wish, the sense of wonder, and the feeling of surprise are three fundamental modes of human experience by which we perceive and think about the world. Wonder and awe motivate not only the poet but also the scientist bent on discovery. The wish partakes of a very real idealism, a vision of the future of “what is to be” or “what is possible” and in this way embodies every human hope and aspiration from an intimate prayer to an architect's designs for a high-rise skyscraper. The surprise always shocks us out of our ordinary perceiving and thinking. It is often the doorway into the extraordinary. The literature and student activities in this block follow from these three modes of expression.
Renaissance Biographies constitutes a three to four week block of history studies roughly covering the period of 1300 to 1550 CE. The major cultural developments in Europe during this period are seen through the lives of four major historical figures: Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and the alchemist Paracelsus. Through the lives of these four important figures, one meets the Medici's, Verrochio, Marsilio Ficino, Savonarola, Pope Leo, and other key actors on the European Renaissance stage of history. The book is filled with many activities for the students including beginning art studies in portraiture, and the history of commerce and money.
The Age of Exploration and Discovery
The Age of Exploration and Discovery is a another three to four week main lesson block in history that surveys the experiences and adventures of the explorers during the centuries beginning with the Renaissance and leading into the late 1600’s. The study begins with a look back to the early Viking explorers of the American continent as well as Marco Polo’s exploration into China. These precursors are followed by the earliest European explorers who ventured southward along the west coast of the African continent leading into the opening of the spice trade to the east after successfully rounding the continent and the eventual circumnavigation of the globe. Conquistadores such as Cortez, Pizarro, and Balboa venturing into Central and South America and their encounters with the indigenous peoples concludes this block.
The Sentence Sounds a Melody: English Grammar for the Upper Grades
This Live Education book which is included in the sixth grade curriculum is designed as a source book on English grammar for the teacher throughout the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. The focus is upon grammar studies including such topics as the perfect tense irregular verbs, split infinitives, subjunctive mood, advanced punctuation such as the correct use of colons and semicolons, where to use commas, etc. But it is also useful for developing the student’s vocabulary through a survey of Latin and Greek roots, with corresponding suffixes and prefixes. The important topics that teach strategies and skill development exercises in composition, business letters, essays, reports, and effective note-taking are also covered.