Middle School

Our Middle School is a place where children can confidently take on greater responsibility and find their own distinct voice.  As younger peers look to our middle school students as leaders, our students get the opportunity to exercise independence and ingenuity—constructing robots in our Innovation Lab, publishing academic essays on subjects they are passionate about, and designing plans to address real-world issues like homelessness.

Our rigorous, relevant, and engaging curriculum emphasizes public speaking and presentation, preparing them to become bar mitzvah, then moving on to high school and college coursework, and future leadership positions. Our curriculum gives students a solid foundation of skills and content in all academic areas while fostering the use of critical and higher-order thinking skills necessary to face the demands of an ever-changing world. Inspired by the capstone 8th grade trip to Israel, our students graduate as exceptionally mature and proactive young thinkers and citizens.

Our outplacement program prepares your child to excel in Los Angeles’ competitive secular and Jewish high schools. Beginning in 7th grade, our teachers, administrators, and counselors work with your whole family to help your child matriculate to the school that fits them best. 

In fact, in the last five years, 90% of our graduating 8th graders were accepted to the high school of their choice.

Explore the Curriculum

List of 8 items.

  • Middle School English

    6th graders are growing as readers, writers and thinkers. Through mini-lessons and student-chosen books, students analyze literature focusing on characters and themes, examining how imagery contributes to setting and action. During informative text units, students explore global issues, like the refugee crisis, found in literature when reading A Long Walk to Water, by Linda Sue Park. Additionally, students are growing as writers as they develop realistic fiction story ideas and create their own narrative with detailed conflict and resolution. They also do this through literary analysis essays, focused on analyzing character and themes found in novels, particularly in the novel The Giver by Lois Lowry. A highlight of their sixth grade writing is a detailed restaurant review of their favorite eatery, which becomes a Yelp post.

    7th graders begin the year by writing personal narrative essays that utilize action, internal thought, and dialogue as they detail a zoomed-in and noteworthy memory. Next, they create character-based thesis statements to analyze the short story Thank You, Ma’am by Langston Hughes. The first novel seventh graders analyze and synthesize is  John Steinbeck’s novelOf Mice and Men. After reading the novel, students write a five-paragraph essay that analyzes themes and is supported with evidence from the text. During the poetry unit, seventh graders are pushed to write extensively with detail and figurative language, as well as be vulnerable as they express themselves through a variety of poems. Next, a Historical Fiction/Nonfiction unit challenges students to follow the theme of Leaders and Followers, as they analyze a variety of historical fiction and nonfiction texts. The Social Media for Social Justice unit has students researching a topic that relates to a Jewish value such as Tikkun Olam. During this unit, students create an action statement, a meme, an infographic, and a public service announcement demonstrating the importance of their topic. For the final unit of the year, students read a dystopian novel of their choice and then in groups create their own dystopian community including a movie trailer of their society.

    Throughout the 8th grade, students are learning to closely examine and annotate text to interact with the literature they are reading. The curriculum is taught using the Workshop Model with an emphasis on students learning by doing. At the beginning of the year, students analyze various short stories focusing on character motivation and theme. During the Classics Unit, students choose the classic texts they want to read and then work to answer the question, “What is a Classic?” William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet follows the Classic Unit and requires students to analyze the play as well as various theatrical variations. After reading Romeo and Juliet, students write their own TED-style talks based on a topic that they are passionate about and have extensively researched. Alexie Sherman’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is the final novel of the year and asks students to explore the ideas of identity and empathy. Throughout all of these units, writing is a critical component. Each unit incorporates a five-paragraph essay as well as numerous shorter, in-class writing assignments.
  • Middle School Social Studies

    The Social Studies department at Sinai Akiba Academy uses a variety of investigative tools to promote independent
    thinking. The program is designed to promote the growth of research and study skills. Students collaborate on a variety of
    group projects and activities, write historical evidence-based essays, read a wide variety of primary sources and develop analytical and critical thinking skills. In addition to standard classroom skills, students also participate in a number of creative assignments such as performing at our annual Egypt Day, Innovation Day, and the 20% Time Project. The goal of the department is to foster academic achievement and encourage
    individual creative expression.

    6th Grade - Ancient Civilizations
    The first year of Middle School Social Studies focuses on the origins of human civilization and the primary social, religious, economic and political features of those societies. The course begins with an overview of historiography and the historian’s toolkit; students then apply those skills to a comparative study of human origins. Next, students learn about the shift from nomadic societies to the first human civilizations in Mesopotamia and prepare persuasive essays around the topic of contemporary artifact repatriation. In the second part of the year, students engage in small-group research on topics of their choice relating to Ancient Egypt and then present their findings through the medium of their choice. The class ends with a broad study of Classical Greece and the rise of the Roman Empire with special attention to cultural and artistic trends, as well as the evolution of political thinking.

    7th Grade - US History
    In their second year of Middle School Social Studies, students primarily focus on American history. The course begins with a
    study of Native Americans and their early interactions with European settlers and moves on to cover the English colonies
    and the various tensions that led up to the American Revolution. Students also learn about American government: the creation
    of the Constitution, the formulation of the first political parties, and how many of the ideas that divided the first political parties play a role in politics today. Their government studies culminate in an experiential spring trip to Washington D.C. In the second part of the year, students learn about American Expansion, the
    Trail of Tears, and the Mexican-American War. The class concludes by exploring the factors that led to the American Civil War. In addition to practicing analyzing primary and secondary sources, and writing evidencebased essays, students also work on a research project where they investigate a piece of technology and explain its impact on American history by creating a museum
    exhibit to exemplify their learning.

    8th Grade - Modern World History
    In their final year of Middle School Social Studies, 8th grade students primarily focus on Modern World History. Students
    begin by studying Ancient Rome, the civilization’s various stages of government, and how the Roman Republic influenced our government today. We also investigate the multitude of factors that led to the demise of the Roman Empire. From there, students review a variety of primary and secondary source documents to learn more about the Byzantine Empire and the impact the Silk Road had on the global economy and the spread of Islam. Students also read excerpts from various works in Chinese philosophy and learn to distinguish the differences between Buddhist, Daoist, and Confucian texts. The year concludes with an examination of the Renaissance, where students research different innovators in art, philosophy, and science and teach what they’ve learned to their peers. In addition
    to exploring various civilizations across world history, 8th graders work on their capstone 20% Time Project, where they research a topic they are passionate about and then design and implement solutions to these issues. Students then present their research and findings in a Ted-style talk exhibition at the end of the year.
  • Middle School Electives

    Recent Electives include:
    Advanced Robotics
    Art, Technology, and Design
    Culture, Media, and Voice
    Creative Art
    Fashion Design
    Leadership Matters
    Life Skills: Coping with Stress and
    Persian Music Ensemble
    Social Justice Bakery
    Stand- Up Comedy
    Student Council
    Talent Show
    4D Israeli Experience
  • Middle School Science

    6th Grade: Earth Science
    Middle School students at Sinai Akiba Academy begin their study of science with an exploration of scientific careers. They present their knowledge at the Earth Science Career Fair, wherein they promote the STEM career of their choice and demonstrate the use of authentic scientific tools. 6th graders master the steps of
    the scientific method as they design their own experiments, carefully controlling each variable to avoid experimental error. They learn the valuable skills of measurement and density calculation, and they examine the ways that heat is transferred through the Earth, creating a churning, tumultuous inner planet. Moving on to plate tectonics, students conduct experiments to model the effects of sea-floor spreading, volcanoes, and
    earthquakes. In the spring, Volcano Day gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their mastery by building and erupting a scale model of a real-life volcano. The third
    trimester kicks off with a study of minerals and the great variety of rocks they combine to form. Students learn to identify and
    classify mineral specimens, and during the Oceanview Gem Dig, they get a chance to hunt for real gems while sifting through ore
    from a real gem mine.

    7th Grade: Life Science
    7th grade science at Sinai Akiba Academy begins with an introduction to biochemistry. By constructing molecular models, students become familiar with the basic chemicals – such as water and protein – that make up living things. We follow that up with a study of cell function and structure; in the Observing Cells Lab, students use compound light microscopes to examine and compare plant, animal, and bacteria cells. We explore the various
    ways in which cells obtain energy, either by absorbing sunlight, digesting food, or through the commercially-important process of fermentation; we also study the amazing process by which cells copy their genetic material and divide. In trimester 2,
    students follow in the footsteps of Gregor Mendel as we observe the laws of inheritance in pea plants; we then use these laws to explain the prevalence of human traits in the Allele Frequency Lab. Students also demonstrate their understanding of genetics by testing and identifying simulated blood samples in the Human
    Blood Type Lab. Trimester 3 begins with an exploration of the human body, with special focus on the muscular, skeletal, digestive, and cardiovascular organ systems. Students analyze X-rays, build a heart-lung model, and conduct Dissection Labs using scalpels, probes, and other authentic medical tools. About halfway through this trimester, we end our study of Life Science and begin a study of physics, including Newton’s laws and the fundamental concepts of linear motion such as speed, displacement, velocity, and acceleration.

    8th Grade: Physical Science
    Building on what they learned in previous years, 8thgraders at Sinai Akiba Academy kick off the year with a rigorous investigation of matter and its properties: mass, weight, volume, density, etc., using algebraic formulas to find unknown values. Laying a firm foundation for high school Chemistry, students differentiate between pure elements, compounds, and heterogenous/homogenous mixtures; in the Physical vs. Chemical Change Lab, they observe and explain the various ways in which matter is transformed, either by changing state or by undergoing chemical reactions. Once students understand the critical relationship between temperature and pressure, they can apply this to the Gas Behavior Lab (Boyle’s and Charles’ Laws). With the Element ADventure Project, 8th grade students become intimately familiar with the elements of the Periodic Table, including their symbols, groups, atomic number, and atomic mass; they follow in the footsteps of great scientists such as Dalton, Thomson, Rutherford, and Bohr in constructing and analyzing various atomic models. 8th graders investigate
    the physical and chemical properties of metals in the Flame Test Lab, wherein they differentiate between alkali/alkaline metals
    and metalloids by observing their effect on the visible light spectrum. In the Exploring Types of Reactions Lab, students practice the art of balancing chemical equations and classify chemical reactions as either synthesis, decomposition, or replacement. In addition to Chemistry, 8th graders also
    receive rigorous instruction in Physics. They learn key concepts related to linear motion such as speed, velocity, and acceleration; in the Egg Drop Project, students construct aerodynamic devices which demonstrate their understanding of Newton’s Laws, gravity, friction, momentum, and air eithresistance.
  • Middle School Math

    Math Curriculum Highlights:
    Students who meet rigorous admission criteria and have teacher recommendations are placed in advanced classes.

    6th Grade: Math
    The Big Ideas Math series is used in our sixth grade and Pre-Algebra classes. The Big Ideas Math approach involves abstract thinking, reasoning, and inquiry to gain a greater depth of understanding. Examples given illustrate the relevance and application of the concepts covered. 
    • Variable and numerical expressions
    • Algebraic equations
    • Perimeter and area of 2D figures
    • Surface area and volume of 3D figures
    • Rational numbers: integers, fractions, and decimals
    • Ratios and proportions
    7th Grade: Pre-Algebra (Advanced 6th Grade follows this  curriculum as well)

    We continue to build upon the Big Ideas Math series approach
    • Transformations of similar and congruent figures
      Rational and irrational numbers
    • Circumference and area of circles and     semi-circles
    • Volume of prisms, pyramids, cylinders, cones, and spheres
    • Composite figures: perimeter, area, surface area, and volume
    • Square roots and cube roots
    • Pythagorean Theorem
    • Algebraic equations and inequalities

    8th Grade: Algebra 1(Advanced 7th Grade follows this curriculum as well)
    The Glencoe Algebra 1 series is used in our Algebra 1 classes. This series connects math skills and rigor by promoting conceptual understanding and critical thinking. Glencoe Algebra 1 uses real life examples to illustrate the relevance and application of the concepts covered
    • Rational and irrational numbers
    • Percent proportions
    • Relations and Functions
    • Algebraic equations and inequalities
    • Slope intercept form, standard form, point slope form
    • Systems of linear equations and inequalities by graphing, substitution, and elimination
    • Linear and quadratic equations: solving, writing, graphing
    • Scatter plots and lines of best fit
    • Polynomials
    • Exponents and exponential functions
    • Absolute value functions
    • Quadratic equations using factoring, completing the square, and quadratic formula
    Advanced 8th Grade: Geometry
    The Discovering Geometry series is used in our Geometry class. This series uses a discovery-based approach to unpack the necessary conjectures by construction or logical reasoning skills. Through the discovery process, students are learning and creating their own understanding.
    • Facilitates student discovery
    • Development of deductive reasoning
    • Justification of conjectures through proof using various reasoning strategies
    • Constructing lines, angles, and polygons
    • Solving triangular inequalities
  • Middle School Jewish History

    היסטוריה יהודית

    6th Grade

    6th grade marks the start of students’ formal study of Jewish History. This introduction focuses on the history of the Jewish people in the ancient and medieval periods. The course revolves around two key questions: “Who is a Jew?” and “How have Judaism and the Jewish community evolved over time to answer the challenges of a rapidly changing world?” Through their interaction with primary and secondary sources, including both sacred and academic texts, students apply their understandings
    of Judaism in the ancient and medieval worlds to the creation of their own personal Jewish identities as citizens in today’s world.
    Building on skills and concepts they learned in Social Studies, students expand their inquiry and history skills through active
    learning and project-based Jewish History curriculum. At the Middle School level students explore primary and secondary
    resources that assist them in looking for evidence; and they are trained in unpacking a document, which greatly enhances their
    appreciation of their subject and their people.

    7th Grade
    This Jewish History and Rabbinic Literature course is a survey of medieval Jewish history, interwoven with the study of key Jewish values and holidays. Through inquiry, texts, discussion, projects, and films, we discover how Jews responded in the face of persecution and how they were able to adapt Judaism to meet new challenges. Students also explore how immigrants struggled to balance their modern lives with their commitment to traditional Jewish values—a tension that existed in history and
    11 still exists in our own time.

    The history topics we investigate include:
    1. The Sephardic Diaspora
    2. German Enlightenment and Emancipation
    3. Sects of Judaism today
    4. The Rise of Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust

    8th Grade
    After the destruction of the Second Temple and for thousands of years until the creation of the State of Israel, the freedom and safety of Jews worldwide was dependent wholly on the non-Jewish governments which ruled over them. This Jewish History class explores the condition of Jewish existence worldwide, during the eighteen and nineteen-hundreds, and considers the choices Jews made in an attempt to better their lives. It uncovers the creation of the Zionist movement which paved the foundation of the State of Israel. It also reveals the mechanics of the Holocaust - its propaganda and brute organization, as well as the bravery and resourcefulness of the Jewish Resistance and those who were Righteous Among the Nations. 8th grade culminates in a life-changing, two-week journey to Israel. Experiencing our core value, ahavat yisrael, love of Israel, they
    engage with the land, people, language, and history, building community and gaining
  • Middle School Hebrew


    Hebrew is taught at four different levels:

    Novice - רמת המתחילים
    (designed for students with basic knowledge
    in Hebrew)
    • Express themselves in conversations on very familiar topics using a variety of words, phrases, simple sentences and questions that have been frequently practiced
    • Ask predictable and formulaic questions
      and respond to such questions by listing,
      naming and identifying
    • Comprehend paragraph-length personal narratives, memos, read stories, folk tales, and descriptive or informational non-fiction texts
    • Control memorized language sufficiently
    • Understand and produce a number of high frequency words, practiced expressions and formulaic questions
    Novice High - רמת המתחילים הגבוהה
    • Handle a variety of tasks pertaining to the intermediate level, but are unable to sustain performance at that level
    • Manage successfully a number of uncomplicated communicative tasks in straightforward social situations
    • Converse in a few of the predictable topics necessary for survival in the target language culture, such as basic personal information, basic objects, and a limited number of activities, preferences, and immediate needs
    • Express personal meaning by relying heavily on learned phrases or recombinations of these and what they hear from their interlocutor
    Intermediate - רמת הבינוניים Students are able to:
    • Express themselves and participate in conversations on familiar topics using sentences and series of sentences
    • Handle short social interactions in everyday situations by asking and answering a variety of questions
    • Communicate about self, others and everyday life
    • Communicate using high frequency and personalized vocabulary and creating personal meaning
    • Read longer short stories, non-fiction texts, essays, and simple songs, poems, and simple biblical passages
    • Apply learned language structures and manipulate them to describe and express their ideas/thoughts and opinions.
    • Communicate in contexts of occasionally unfamiliar topics
    • Ask questions to initiate and sustain conversations
    • Ask a variety of questions when necessary to obtain information to satisfy basic needs, such as directions, prices, and services
    Advanced - רמת המתקדמים
    • Speak freely in conversation on familiar and unfamiliar topics
    • Communicate with ease and confidence by understanding and producing in major time frames and deal efficiently with a situation
    • Participate in discussions about issues beyond the concrete
    • Read news articles in Hebrew, full-length short stories partially adapted to simple Hebrew, and poetry, songs and some biblical verses
    • Write multi-paragraph narratives, reports, and essays
    • Comprehend selected TV or radio news clips
  • Middle School Tanach (Bible)


    In the Middle School, the Tanach curriculum has been designed to empower students with the desire and ability to draw personalized meaning and understanding from the text. These students are aided in developing both analytical and associative
    decoding skills that can be applied to all complex literary documents. Students are taught to identify classic problems and patterns within the text and to understand where solutions can be found and how those solutions were developed. Students are taught the significance and accessibility of midrashim (ancient rabbinic explanations) and rabbinic commentary as well as finding out when they can rely on their own philosophies, insights, solutions, and identifications of messages and morals
    introduced by the text.

    The Tanach study focuses on:
    • The learning of ancient, rabbinic and
    modern modes of interpretation of the
    biblical text. Students see themselves
    as a link in this ongoing chain of
    • Students view the Tanach as the
    formative narrative of the Jewish
    people – past, present and future.
    • Students develop a love of Torah
    study for its own sake, and embrace it
    as an inspiring resource, informing their
    values, moral commitments and ways of
    experiencing the world.

    6th Grade
    Through the study of Jonah, Joshua, and Judges, we come to learn about one’s personal growth and development through the choices we make and one’s relationships with others, the land of Israel, and God. Students examine various examples from text
    and examine the characters’ development and assess their actions when faced with ethical and moral dilemmas of their own.

    7th Grade
    Students become independent and literarily astute readers of the Biblical text. Students explore the books of Samuel I, Samuel II, and Esther in order to evaluate the major characters as leaders. Students examine various examples from the text and assess these characters’ decisions when they are faced with ethical and moral dilemmas. In these books, we meet the prophet Samuel, the three kings of Israel: Saul, David and Solomon, as well as Esther and the rest of the Purim cast.

    8th Grade
    Through the study of themes in Genesis, Exodus, and Ruth, students reflect on how their personal development impacts
    self, others, and God (mitzvot ben adam l’makom and mitzvot ben adam l’havero). Students examine the challenges that faced our ancestors and compare them to their current challenges. The units studied include: Love and Relationships, Loyalty vs. Lying, Sibling Rivalry vs. Sibling Loyalty, Creation, and Promises and Covenant. 8th Grade Tanach curriculum integrates various
    Rabbinic texts that relate to the topics learned in class.

    • Middle School Scientists

Aaron Sabin '09

The Middle School prepared me incredibly well. In areas where I was weak, my teachers worked with me so I could improve. When I went to high school, I felt completely ready. Then, I succeed at Stanford University, and now I have my dream job. I built a great foundation here.

© Sinai Akiba Academy, All Rights Reserved.


About Sinai Akiba Academy

Sinai Akiba Academy is a private Jewish day school in Los Angeles, serving students in Early Childhood through Grade 8. We also offer a variety of parenting classes and programs for children through our Parenting Center. A Sinai Temple school.

Notice of Non-Discriminatory Policy As to Students

Sinai Akiba Academy admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.