Most students will take the sixth grade exploratory rotation.

This rotation includes one nine weeks each of art, earthzone, computer applications, and exploratory Spanish.


Introduces students to several types of media in creative applications.

Computer Enrichment

Introduces a variety of personal productivity software applications, focusing on terminology, basic skills, and presentation software.

Earth Zone

This course is an interactive, hands-on exploration of the worlds of herpetology and marine biology. The students learn about the various ecosystems associated with each group of organisms, as well as symbiotic relationships within each ecosystem. THe students gain experience handling, feeding, and interacting with organisms in each of these two branches of zoology. The also research various conservation efforts and gain general knowledge of organisms contained within the DMS Touch Tank and Herpetology Center.


This is a nine week course introducing students to basic Spanish words and phrases as well as the cultures of Spanish speaking peoples..

Applied Engineering and Drama

Students enrolled in Advanced English 6 will cover the core content in one period and will receive a semester course in applied engineering concepts/technological applications paired with a drama course for the other semster. Engineering topics may include drafting, modeling, solar energy, fluid mechanics/hydraulics, hot air balloons, rocketry, and basic electronics. Drama introduces concentration games, pantomime, improvisation, mini-skits word association, and presentation of a monologue.

Health and Family Life Education

Includes the development of healthy personal characteristics and includes information on self-esteem, decision-making, self-discipline, acceptance, loyalty, honesty, cooperation, diligence, tolerance, and trustworthiness. Sixth grade family life deals with the physical, social, emotional, and psychological changes that occur at the time of puberty, and includes AIDS education.

Physical Education

Introduces physical activities which promote personal wellness, physical fitness, body management, and a basic knowledge of sports for leisure-time pursuits. There are two exceptions.

  1. For students who opt to take beginning band, the beginning band class alternates with the physical education and health/family life curriculum.
  2. For students who opt to take orchestra, the orchestra class alternates with the physical education and health/family life curriculum.

Beginning Band

Includes a review of the basic elements of music, playing skills, and an introduction to band literature.


Uses string ensemble, solo, and full orchestra compositions to develop basic performance skills.

A Few Students will take the Promoting Excellence Through Accelerated Learning (PETAL) Math 6 Block Course. This is a special program offered to selected students in a two-period blocked format. Students in the PETAL Math 6 Block must give up another period in order to participate. Often, this means giving up the French and Teen Machine exploratory rotation. Students in this course complete the sixth grade math SOL first semester and the seventh grade math SOL second semester, then continue in the accelerated math sequence in seventh grade. In addition, PETAL math students are invited to participate in after-school tutorials, field trips, and PETAL club meetings. Rising sixth grade students who were in the on-grade level math course in fifth grade are invited to participate in this program during the summer based on factors which include the following: math achievement in fifth grade, elementary math SOL test scores, scores on Division-Wide Assessments in math, teacher recommendations, and previous participation in the PETAL summer math program. For additional information on the Sixth Grade PETAL Math Block, please contact the instructional specialist for PETAL programs in the central administration building at (434) 515-5048.

Sample Sixth Grade Schedules for P. L. Dunbar Middle School for Innovation

Please note that these schedules are only intended to illustrate some of the possible combinations of courses that meet the requirements in sixth grade. Periods at which courses are scheduled will vary.

  Student 1 Student 2 Student 3 Student 4
Period 1 English Lit. 6 Block English Lit. 6 Block U. S. History I (Advanced) U. S. History I (Advanced)
Period 2 English Lit. 6 Block English Lit. 6 Block Life Science (Advanced) Life Science (Advanced)
Period 3 Math 6 Block Math 6 (Accelerated) Orchestra College Prep
Period 4 Math 6 Block Life Science English (Advanced) Math 6 (Accelerated)
Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch
Period 5 PE & H/FL PE & H/FL/Band PE & H/FL PE & H/FL/Band
Period 6 6th Grade Rotation 6th Grade Rotation 6th Grade Rotation 6th Grade Rotation
Period 7 U. S. History I U. S. History I Math 6 Block Applied Engineer/Drama
Period 8 Life Science Life Science Math 6 Block English (Advanced)