How Many Classes Are There in Middle School?

July 18, 2023
7 min read

How many classes are there in middle school? Read on to find out!

Transitioning from primary school to middle school is more than just a shift of physical location for children. It's an enriching new chapter designed to equip students for the demands of high school and future endeavors. One of the common questions during this transition is, "how many classes are there in middle school?"

As part of this transformative journey, students are introduced to a wider array of subjects compared to their elementary school curriculum. In this article, we will delve into the heart of the middle school curriculum, explore the classes that are typically offered, and shed light on the structure of a usual middle school day.

How Many Classes Are There in Middle School?

In middle school, there’s a shift in the education paradigm from the self-contained classrooms of elementary schools to departmentalized teaching, where students have different teachers for different subjects. 

On average, students will usually have between six and eight classes per day, though this can vary based on the school or district.

The precise number of classes in middle school and their frequency per week can change depending on the school's structure and policies. Some schools might operate on a block schedule where they have fewer, longer classes each day that alternate, while others stick to a traditional period schedule.

middle school class

Classes in Middle School That Most Students Will Take

Although the exact curriculum can vary slightly from one school district to another, core subjects are universally adopted in middle schools across the country. These include the following:

English Language Arts (ELA) 

This class focuses on developing students' reading, writing, and communication skills. It involves reading comprehension, literature study, grammar, vocabulary, and composition. 

This subject also nurtures critical thinking and interpretation skills, preparing students to analyze different forms of text and develop coherent arguments. ELA also often introduces students to different genres and styles of writing, thus exposing them to a variety of perspectives and cultures.



Depending on the grade level, students might be learning anything from basic arithmetic to pre-algebra or algebra. As they advance through the grades, they'll start to delve into more complex mathematical theories and concepts, fostering problem-solving skills and logical reasoning. 

Besides, mathematics at this level also begins to set the groundwork for more advanced studies in high school, like geometry and calculus.

math work


Students start to explore more specific areas of science like biology, chemistry, earth science, or physics. In doing so, they learn the fundamentals of the scientific method—posing questions, conducting experiments, collecting data, and drawing conclusions. 

Additionally, by learning about different branches of science, students can develop a more comprehensive understanding of the natural world and its phenomena.

Science class

Social Studies 

This subject area usually encompasses history, geography, and civics, giving students a broad understanding of their place in the world. It helps students to understand cultural diversity, historical events, and global relationships. 

Civics studies introduces them to the structures of government and the importance of civic engagement, laying the foundation for informed citizenship.

globe in class

Physical Education (PE) 

To promote physical fitness and healthy habits, most schools include PE classes in their schedules. PE teaches students the importance of regular exercise, teamwork, and sportsmanship. 

These classes also often incorporate lessons about nutrition and personal wellness, underscoring the connection between physical health and overall well-being. Moreover, they provide a fun and active break from academic courses, helping students to maintain a balanced school experience.

Gym student

Electives in Middle School

The role of elective classes in a student's middle school journey is multifaceted. Classes in middle school, such as electives, play a crucial role in providing a more holistic education by allowing students to explore and nurture their passions beyond the confines of the traditional academic framework.

The freedom to choose classes outside of the standard curriculum encourages self-discovery and independence—two traits that are instrumental in a student's overall personal development. Moreover, these classes often promote creativity, innovation, and critical thinking skills, which are all essential for future success.

Art, music, and drama classes offer students a platform for self-expression and provide an outlet for creativity. Students can explore different mediums, styles, and techniques, thus fostering an appreciation for the arts. 

In technology classes, students might learn about digital literacy, coding, or even video game design - skills that are increasingly valuable in our digital age. Foreign language classes not only promote cultural awareness and sensitivity but also build skills in communication, cognitive thinking, and problem-solving.

Specialized electives like robotics or journalism provide a glimpse into potential future career paths and can spark an early interest in these fields. For instance, a robotics class can introduce students to basic concepts of mechanical engineering and computer programming, while a journalism class can help improve their writing and research skills, as well as their understanding of media ethics and communication dynamics.

The number of classes in middle school depends on the resources available at the school. Schools with more resources can offer a wider variety of elective courses to students. However, the goal of these electives are the same: to enhance students' educational experience and provide them with a well-rounded knowledge foundation.

FAQs: Classes in Middle School

In this next section, we'll address some of the most frequently asked questions related to classes in middle school to help parents and students navigate this important phase of education.

1. What Classes Are There in Middle School?

Middle school students usually take core classes in English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Physical Education. Elective classes are also offered and can include a variety of subjects based on the school's resources.

2. How Many Periods Do 7th Graders Have?

Most middle schools schedule between six and eight periods per day. This number can vary based on the school's structure, policy, and whether they operate on a traditional or block schedule.

3. What Classes Do Most 8th Graders Take?

Eighth-grade students typically continue with advanced levels of the core subjects like English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. Physical Education is usually a part of the schedule, and students also have the option to take various electives.

Final Thoughts

Middle school presents a well-rounded mix of academic and elective courses for students. This crucial phase of education exposes students to a variety of subjects that expand their knowledge base and encourage personal development.

Core subjects lay a solid foundation for advanced learning while developing vital skills like critical thinking and problem-solving. Electives, on the other hand, offer students a chance to delve into their interests and pick up new skills.

Middle school is not just a bridge to high school; it's a vital phase that fosters cognitive, social, and emotional growth. It provides a broad spectrum of classes, equipping students with an education that caters to different interests and learning styles.

While the number of middle school classes can vary, the goal is to cultivate a rich learning environment that prepares students for future academic endeavors and lifelong learning.

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