What Your Child Should Learn in 6th Grade

Your child’s first year in middle school is a huge accomplishment and transition for them and for their parents. They learn to be significantly more independent over the course of the year, and parents will start to notice the changes in their children. While your child will still be learning academically this year, their transition into changing classes and having multiple teachers may take precedence.

Have you ever wondered what crucial skills your sixth-grader truly needs to develop this year? The specific curriculum will vary based on your state and school, but these general guidelines will help you to better understand your child’s schooling.


This year, students will continue to expand on things they started learning years earlier. Teachers may continue to push students to read more difficult texts across a variety of genres. Your child may be able to better identify essential literary elements using context clues and supporting texts. In general, their ability to read independently grows significantly over this time.

Writing also becomes a heavily emphasized skill, with students being required to write longer pieces on more difficult topics. Some of their papers may take up to a week for completion. They will incorporate a larger vocabulary, more evidence to support their claims, and write across a mixture of different genres.


By the sixth grade, teachers are encouraging students to develop a solid foundation in all of the essential math areas. They will study everything from basic algebra concepts to geometry to statistics. Your student may learn anything from basic number sense, such as how numbers fall on a number line, to the area and volume of basic shapes.

What else is up for exploration in math this year?

  • Statistics related to coin tosses or dice rolling
  • Area and volume of a three-dimensional shape
  • Basic algebraic equations
  • Inverse operations
  • Converting fractions to decimals
  • Negative numbers

Perhaps the greatest gain that your child will make this year is in the area of reasoning and problem-solving. Students will be expected to explain how they came up with their answers and demonstrate their work at every stage.


Science topics will vary based on the individual school, but the emphasis is on helping children to fine-tune their approach to the scientific method. They should be better equipped to formulate hypotheses, make observations, conduct experiments, and begin to analyze all of the available data.

Science may begin to overlap with math this year as well. Your sixth-grader should be able to analyze and interpret graphs or charts that relate to their studies. They will also be required to take measurements and interpret the information.

Social Studies

The actual topics covered in social studies can vary wildly depending on your location. However, the emphasis is mostly on helping students develop their reading skills. They may begin to look at primary and secondary sources, conduct research on a specific topic, and look at the overall context of a historical piece. The content will largely overlap with their English and language arts components this year.

Sixth grade is a wonderful time of growth for your child, both socially and academically. It can be a trying time as students attempt to figure out how to handle the increasingly difficult course load. However, parents can make themselves available to assist their children through each of these steps. Understanding what your student should be studying can help you to better support your child’s studies.

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