The Junior Years (Gr 9-10)

The academic curriculum for Grades 9 and 10 at The Francis de Sales Centre is a liberal arts program which introduces the students to the Greco-Roman roots of western civilization while strengthening their abilities to reason and to express themselves in speech and in writing.  Students participate in physical education and arts programs offered throughout the city, in curriculum-based school trips, as well as extra-curricular clubs.

This course involves the study of Sacred Scripture and aims to teach students a skill known as “scriptural reasoning,” which involves the ability to use biblical texts to solve moral problems that arise in ordinary life. Background questions include why the innocent suffer, how forgiveness relates to justice, and whether the ideal of unity demands overcoming disagreement. Reasoning scripturally requires understanding the logic of scripture. Signs of this logic, which students are trained to recognize, lie in biblical patterns of narration (such as the cyclical patterns of belief-unbelief-belief, fidelity-infidelity-fidelity, sin-forgiveness-sin) and historical knowledge of the readers to whom the divinely inspired texts were first addressed as answers to real problems. The pragmatic scope of scriptural reasoning invites students to craft their own answers to life’s questions using scriptural reasoning, while also engaging moral issues arising in the media and culture of the world they inhabit. Evaluation is based on class participation, homework, essays, and testing.  

Students cover Church history from the Apostolic Fathers to New France, paying close attention to the work of the Holy Spirit creating and renewing the Church through the ages. In learning about the early Church, students read select primary texts, such as the Letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch, and early hagiographies, such as the Life of St. Benedict. When covering the period from the Edict of Milan through the fall of Rome to the Middle Ages, students learn about St. Augustine, early heresies, and the revival of learning in Europe with the rise of monasticism. Important figures from the latter period include Charlemagne, St. Boniface, Bede, and Alcuin of York. As students encounter the Church in the Middle Ages, they are introduced to the role of the Mendicants and the rise of the university vis-à-vis more complex topics such as the Inquisition and Crusades. They also learn about the Reformation, its underlying causes, typical theological divisions introduced at the time, and the Church’s internal efforts to address institutional concerns through various counter-reforms. Evaluation is based on weekly readings and assignments, reports and short essays, tests and exams.

Students read a variety of classical texts, most notably The Odyssey and The Iliad, as well as Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. By examining different descriptions of crisis in the epic and lyric genres, they explore important questions about what it means to be human and the human condition.  Themes include desire, expectation, ambition, bravery, loneliness, suffering, loss, fate, necessity, and providence.  The study of literature is reinforced by topics covered in History and Theology.  Students learn to use history to determine an author’s (often implicit) motivation for writing and they rely on this background to diagnose the complex motives driving the plot: the desire to control, scapegoating, imitation (mimesis), etc.  Evaluation is based on class participation, written assignments, and exams.  

The first half of the school year focuses on reading and discussing themes in Virgil’s Aeneid through the lens of historical context. Topics include duty, fate, conquest, and good government. Students are also introduced to literary conventions such as the simile, ekphrasis, and alliteration. In the second half of the year, the focus shifts to more modern works, namely: Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, and John Wyndham’s The Chrysalids. Readings are always prefaced by an introduction to the context surrounding the genesis of the work, such as the Civil Right Movement, the advent of psychoanalysis, and the Cold War. In the latter part of the year, students read Shakespeare’s Anthony and Cleopatra to connect, once again, with the overarching Classical theme in the Grade 9 and 10 Literature program, as well as to learn about Elizabethan history and drama. Evaluation is based on weekly readings and assignments, reports and short essays, tests and exams.

Through the study of ancient literary works of history, the students are introduced to classical Greek history, the rise of the city-states of Athens and Sparta, and the formative Persian and Peloponnesian Wars.  Throughout the course, discussion is focused on the development of influential ideas in the Greek world which continue to be an influence in our day and also on the similarities and differences between the classical Greek world view and the Christian one.  Evaluation is based on assignments, tests, short essays, participation, and exams.  

This course introduces students to ancient Rome primarily through texts written by ancient Romans.  The students read Livy’s account of the founding of Rome and the era of the Kings, and of the establishment of the Republic.  Livy is also our primary source for the Second Punic War.  To study the later Republic we turn to Plutarch, while Tacitus is our source for the early Principate and the first persecution of Christians.  Excerpts from secondary resources provide context and background information throughout the year.  Themes discussed include forms of government, daily life, family, slavery, and religion, with references to our own Christian understanding highlighting both similarities and differences.  Evaluation is based on participation, regular reading assignments, short essays, tests, and exams.

Introduction to Physics & Chemistry is a course that studies the fundamental principles of physical science, including lab work, providing the foundation for the study of Biology, Chemistry and Physics throughout high school and beyond.  Topics covered include an introduction to properties and states of matter, atomic structure, the periodic table, chemical bonds and reactions, solutions, acids and bases, forces and motion, forces in a fluid, work, power and machines, energy, thermal energy and heat, mechanical waves and sound, the electromagnetic spectrum and light, optics, electricity and magnetism.  Students are evaluated on quizzes, lab work, and exams.  

This course is designed to give students an appreciation of creation and of the order and complexity of living things. The emphasis is on the basic biological processes of how life systems work, and instruction is supplemented with regular lab work. Topics include: the nature of life, ecology, cells, genetics, evolutionary theory, microorganisms and fungi, plants, invertebrates, chordates, and the human body.  The science of biology presents the student with some controversial issues that exist in today's world, such as theories of evolution, stem cell research, genetic engineering, and cloning. It is a goal of this course to discuss these issues in light of Church teaching.  Students are evaluated on participation, quizzes, lab work, exams, and cumulative end of semester exams.

The course aims to provide students with analytical and reasoning skills, particularly the ability to express real life problems in the form of equations, and the use of mathematical techniques by which to solve them. Major topics include equations in 1 and 2 variables, simultaneous equations, exponents, polynomials, square roots, quadratic equations, and inequalities.  Related discussion topics include “Math in everyday life” and “How to study Math.”  These themes are further explored through field trips.  In order to write the Pascal and Fryer math competitions, students receive additional preparation in order to sharpen their math skills and build up speed.  Marks are comprised of exams, quizzes, homework and class participation.  Lessons are taught in a variety of formats: lectures, discussions, question-and-answer sessions, and drills.  Evaluation is based on homework, class participation, and testing.

In this course students are introduced to logic and deductive reasoning, culminating in the construction of proofs, and also continue work on spatial reasoning and problem solving skills.  Major topics include deductive reasoning, angles, congruence, parallel lines, quadrilaterals, similarity, introduction to trigonometry, circles, regular polygons, and solids. An additional unit on Probability is presented. Projects are assigned to give the student the opportunity to apply geometry to real life problems. Students have the opportunity to write math competitions (Cayley, Galois, and the Intermediate Math Competition). Evaluation is based on projects, quizzes, homework, participation, and exams.                              

Grade 9 French builds on the foundation laid in Grade 8.  Students work on developing a more thorough command of regular and irregular verbs in the present, past, and imperative tenses.  New concepts include reflexive verbs, the use of direct and indirect object pronouns, and irregular adjectives.  The ability to communicate in French, one of Canada’s two official languages, provides students with a distinct advantage in a number of careers, both in Canada and internationally.  Through the use of media and excursions, students familiarize themselves with cultural elements from the French-speaking areas of Canada and abroad.  Evaluation of oral, reading, and writing skills is based on tests and presentations, written assignments, homework, class participation and exams.

Grade 10 French builds on the foundation laid in Grade 9. Students learn the imperfect tense and how to use both the imperfect and past tense together when describing past events. They also learn the future tense of both regular and irregular verbs, as well as the conditional tense. They learn how to use direct and indirect object pronouns in a variety of sentences in the various tenses, including the imperative. They learn many new words and expressions that are frequently used in French. They are exposed to French culture through French songs, French short stories and through learning more about foods and menu items found in the French-speaking world.  Evaluation of oral, reading, and writing skills is based on tests and presentations, written assignments, homework, class participation and exams.

This course focuses on the development of students’ abilities to speak and to write effectively and persuasively.  Students are introduced to the basic structure and components of rhetoric and to exercises based on classical rhetorical training.  These exercises include the retelling of fables and poetry, impromptu persuasive argument, construction of effective sentences, paragraphs, narratives and short essays, memorization and recitation of poetry, and the study and presentation of examples of excellence  in rhetoric and writing from a variety of historical and literary sources.  

This course focuses on the continued development of students’ abilities to speak and to write.  Each week, classes include a vocabulary, speaking and writing component.  Students are introduced to the basic structure of rhetoric and to the classical exercises used to train students in effective public speaking and writing.  These exercises include the retelling of fables and poetry, impromptu persuasive argument, the construction of effective sentences, paragraphs, narratives and short essays, some creative writing, memorization and recitation of poetry, and the analysis of examples of excellence in rhetoric and writing from a variety of historical and literary sources.

This course offers an intensive introduction to the study of classical Latin for students with little or no previous exposure.  There are daily readings in Latin and Latin-to-English and English-to-Latin exercises, along with a structured presentation of Latin grammar, relating it to what the students know of English grammar.  By the end of the course, the students have been introduced to five declensions of nouns and adjectives and the major tenses of the indicative mood, and are reading basic classical Latin texts.  Evaluation is based on assignments, take-home tests, quizzes, participation, and exams.

This course continues from Latin I with an intensive introduction to the study of classical Latin.  The year begins with daily readings in Latin and Latin-to-English and English-to-Latin exercises, along with a structured presentation of Latin grammar, relating it to what the students know of English grammar.  By the end of the course, the students will be translating much longer passages of Latin, including some passages from Caesar’s Gallic War.  Evaluation is based on assignments, take-home tests, quizzes, participation, and term examinations.

This elective course teaches students the rudiments of music theory.  Topics covered include:  Music Notation; Time Values; Semitones, Whole Tones, and Accidentals; Scales (Major, Minor, Chromatic, Whole-Tone, Pentatonic, Blues, Octatonic); Modes; Intervals; Time (Simple, Compound, Hybrid); Note Grouping;;Triplets; Music terminology; Chords; Triads (Major, Minor, Augmented, Diminished; Inversions); The Dominant 7th Chord; The Diminished 7th Chord; Cadences (Perfect, Plagal, Imperfect); Transposition. Evaluation is based on regular textbook exercises, two term exams and a final exam.

This elective course takes students through three centuries of cultural development by focusing on the relationships between music and other cultural phenomena from 1600 to the outbreak of the First World War.  The course materials include a set of lectures on DVD and a 3-CD collection of musical pieces the students will learn to identify through ongoing listening exercises.  Topics covered include musical technology, the rise of the Baroque period, opera, the Enlightenment and Classicism, Romanticism, tone poems, nationalism, Modernism.  Evaluation is based on listening assignments, short homework assignments, two term exams and a final exam.

This elective course surveys the history of Western Art, with special focus on the arts of the Christian world as the heart of Western Civilization.   Non-western art traditions will be introduced where they provide instructive context or comparison.  Students will learn to identify and appreciate the evolution of styles, media, and cultural objectives across the spectrum of art in two and three dimensions:  painting, sculpture, crafted objects, architecture, and the inter-relationship of each to the others in sacred, domestic, or civic contexts.  Evaluation is based on research and response assignments, tests, participation, and term examinations.

This elective course is designed to give students an appreciation of the order and complexity of creation, and of the order and complexity in the cosmos.  The course covers the different kinds of celestial objects, their characteristics, how they formed and developed, and their eventual fates. This includes a discussion of stars (including our sun), star groups, black holes, asteroids and comets, the earth, moon, and planets. It also covers the theories of the origin, development, and future of the universe, as well as whether other planets and life forms exist in space. The students will study, and have the opportunity to observe, the main stars and constellations for both summer and winter.  Evaluation will be based on participation, assignments, tests, and examinations.

This elective course introduces students to the fundamentals of drafting, starting with the alphabet of lines and basic sketching.  Students will learn the proper use of drafting equipment such as T-squares, set squares (triangles),  and scales, and will learn how to construct basic geometric figures.  Students will also be introduced to multiview and pictorial drawing, as well as the fundamentals of lettering.  Evaluation will be based on participation, assignments, tests, and examinations.

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