1. Display a wide range of individual intellectual development as their minds experience transition from the concrete-manipulatory stage to the capacity for abstract thought. This transition ultimately makes possible:
• Propositional thought
• Consideration of ideas contrary to fact
• Reasoning with hypotheses involving two or more variables
• Appreciation for the elegance of mathematical logic expressed in symbols
• Insight into the nuances of poetic metaphor and musical notation. Analysis of the
power of a political ideology
• Ability to project thought into the future, to anticipate, and to formulate goals
• Insight into the sources of previously unquestioned attitudes, behaviours, and
values
• Interpretation of larger concepts and generalisations of traditional wisdom
expressed through sayings, axioms, and aphorisms;
2. Are intensely curious;
3. Prefer active over passive learning experiences; favour interaction with peers during
learning activities;
4. Exhibit a strong willingness to learn things they consider to be useful; enjoy using skills
to solve real life problems;
5. Are egocentric; argue to convince others; exhibit independent, critical thought;
6. Consider academic goals as a secondary level of priority; personal social concerns
dominate thoughts and activities;
7. Experience the phenomenon of metacognition – the ability to know what one knows
and does not know; and
8. Are intellectually at-risk; face decisions that have the potential to affect major academic
values with lifelong consequences.

Middle school students have short-term memories as well as short attention spans. Consequently, students should be presented with limited amounts of new information, allowing them time to retain material.

Middle school learners look for relationships between lessons and life, and they desire active involvement in learning. They will also begin to clarify their ideas and discuss thoughts with others. Although students can be argumentative and inquisitive, they do not have the ability to fully comprehend abstract ideas.
Intellectual development refers to the increased ability of people to understand and reason. In young adolescents, intellectual development is not as visible as physical development, but it is just as intense. During early adolescence, youth exhibit a wide range of individual intellectual development, including metacognition and independent thought. They tend to be curious and display wide-ranging interests. Typically, young adolescents are eager to learn about topics they find interesting and useful ones that are personally relevant . They also favour active over passive learning experiences and prefer interactions with peers during educational activities.

During early adolescence, youth develop the capacity for abstract thought processes though the transition to higher levels of cognitive function varies considerably across individuals. Young adolescents typically progress from concrete logical operations to acquiring the ability to develop and test hypotheses, analyse and synthesise data, grapple with complex concepts, and think reflectively. As they mature, young adolescents start to understand the nuances of metaphors, derive meaning from traditional wisdom, and experience metacognition. Similarly, they are increasingly able to think through ideological topics, argue a position, and challenge adult directives. They form impressions of themselves through introspection and “possess keen powers of perception”. Additionally, they appreciate more sophisticated levels of humour.

To make sense of the world around them, young adolescents, as learners, build upon their individual experiences and prior knowledge. Experience plays a central role in developing the brain and induces learners to construct meaning based upon what they already believe and understand. During early adolescence, youth are more interested in real life experiences and authentic learning opportunities; they are less interested in traditional academic subjects. Intellectually, young adolescents seek opportunities to explore the varied facets of their environment. They also tend to be inquisitive about adults and are often keen observers of adult behaviour. Moreover, they have an enhanced ability to think about the future, anticipate their own needs, and develop personal goals.