In the Middle: A Teacher’s Tour of the Logic Stage

[Editor’s note: This post is the fourth in a series on how we teach the Trivium at Morning Star Academy. The Trivium forms the structure of classical education. It includes three stages: Grammar (grades K-5), Logic (6-8) and Rhetoric (9-12).]

Brenda Porter

Logic school is the three-year period between the Grammar and Rhetoric schools at Morning Star Academy. In this stage, students are invited to become more independent in their thinking, to go beyond mastering facts, and to make connections between the things they’re learning. They consider big ideas and “why” questions. In science classes, for example, Mrs. Spykstra helps students to “break down the difference between the changing nature of scientific knowledge and the unchanging nature of Truth.” Across the hall in the history room, Mr. Bradford encourages students to seek answers about the purpose and value of studying history. In Mrs. Hixenbaugh’s logic class, they learn the principles that will help them to distinguish truth from fallacy. 

While keeping the focus on the big questions, teachers also plan for experiential learning, the kinds of memorable activities that shape hearts and imaginations. Students read, act, give speeches; they draw, sing, conduct experiments; they research, recite, solve problems; they write, recite, memorize scripture. They taste knowledge, grasp meaning, make connections. A story in literature has roots in an ancient historical and biblical setting; a science equation works like a math problem! 

If that sounds like a lot, it is! Logic school days are busy. To assist students in meeting the growing demands on their time, their teachers also give them practical instruction in the development of good student habits like note-taking and annotating their reading. They teach them to observe and value the MSA Code of Conduct and to make wise decisions about behavior and relationships in light of their identity as children of God. 

In all these experiences, students are taught to see the world through the lens of Christianity. A two-year sequence of Bible—Old Testament in seventh grade and New Testament in eighth grade—is the framework that informs all other content. Teachers encourage their students to observe and appreciate God’s beautiful and orderly world. They help them to realize that they are people created in God’s image, young men and women who can exercise their creativity in music, art, and writing. 

As they finish eighth grade, they’ll take with them new understandings of the created world, and new tools—practical, theoretical, theological—for the final stage of the classical Christian journey, the Rhetoric school.

Brenda Porter teaches English, writing, and rhetoric at Morning Star Academy. She and her husband, Rob, are the parents of three grown daughters. 

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