Middle School Electives
S.T.E.M. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math
STEM education integrates concepts that are usually taught as separate subjects in different classes and emphasizes the application of knowledge to real-life situations. A lesson or unit in a STEM class is typically based around finding a solution to a real-world problem and tends to emphasize project-based learning. A variation of STEM is STEAM, which includes an ‘A’ for art and design. Artistic design is becoming an important part of STEM education since creativity is an essential part of innovation. Many STEM lessons involve building models and simulating situations. A good STEM lesson ensures that students understand the connection to the real world.
A sample STEM lesson would start with showing pictures of large barges carrying crates. Then students would experiment with different materials and computer-aided designs in an attempt to build a model boat capable of holding large amounts of pennies. Math would be incorporated by demanding specific measurements for the design and requiring the students to keep within a certain budget for their materials. This experiment models how real-world engineers and scientists try to improve the efficiency of the current shipping designs.
Students are introduced to the historical importance of journalism in America. They study the basic principles of print and online journalism as they examine the role of printed news media in our society. They learn investigative skills, responsible reporting, and journalistic writing techniques as they read, respond to, and write their own news and feature articles. Students conduct interviews, research, write, and design their own publications.
Middle School Concert Band
Middle School Concert Band is an ensemble that provides students with learning and performance opportunities on wind and percussion instruments. The primary focus is on the development, continuation, and expansion of basic skills begun the previous one-three years that are necessary for effective instrumental music performance. In addition to large group ensembles, individual growth and achievement are encouraged through participation in adjudicated solo and ensemble contests, and private lessons.
Topics/skills covered include:
• Embouchure and tone development
• Counting, timing, and rhythmic development
• Reading and notation skills, including sight reading
• Introduction of scales
• Simple music theory
• Development of an extensive vocabulary of musical terms and symbols
• Ear training and listening skills
• Equipment care and maintenance
• Effective practice habits
Students in the Middle School Concert Band perform in at least two concerts a year. Although the curriculum is designed for students with one-three years of playing experience, students with little prior experience are welcome to participate, with private lessons.
An overview course designed to allow each middle school art student to explore a variety of media, techniques and methods. Projects focus on introducing and developing the elements of art (line, form, color, value, texture) and principles of design (balance, variety, harmony, emphasis). Understanding and appreciation of self and others through art history, culture, and heritage is emphasized. Samplings of two-dimensional and three-dimensional projects are produced.
The Physical Education program provides each student with the opportunity to participate in a comprehensive program consisting of skill development, lead up games, team sports, and physical fitness activities. The students receive instruction in rules, skills, and strategies associated with the different sports as well as learning experiences involving physical conditioning activities. The students will also have opportunities to become involved in life-long physical activities through individual sport units. The program promotes the spirit of cooperation, leadership, fair play, and friendly competition.
In this course students will gain skills in one or more of the following areas: page design, advanced publishing techniques, copy writing, editing and photography while producing a creative, innovative yearbook which records school memories and events. There is an emphasis on journalism skills in this class! Participants gain useful, real world skills in time management, marketing, teamwork, and design principles.
Worship Band/Music Tech
Worship Band is a full year elective course that is open to all middle school students by audition only. The students will engage in musical experiences that will enhance creativity and critical thinking skills. Worship Band is more than just a band class; it is a course that draws out the worship leader in all students. Worship Band will lead worship for all middle school chapel services, unless otherwise announced. The outcome of this class is to understand the truth about worship and that as we are called by Christ to “worship Him in spirit and in truth” John 4:24
The major emphasis of this course is on singing activities and vocal production. This standards based course develops the skills necessary for ensemble singing of choral literature appropriately arranged for middle school voices, and in reading music notation. The course also provides opportunities for growth in the understanding of musical elements (rhythm, melody, form, harmony, expressive elements, and style) as applied to the music performed. Students will learn to enjoy participating in vocal music; work cooperatively with other students in the musical organization and serve the school by participating in selected performances.
In Middle School Drama, we begin to focus on interpretation and performance as students gain more in-depth understanding of theatrical elements, principles, and conventions and develop their acting skills. Activities that utilize dramatic subtext begin to develop more complex characterizations. Nurturing the seeds that were planted in elementary school creative drama, improvisation skills are applied to unscripted prompts. Students begin to examine scripts, learn basic acting techniques, and explore aspects of technical theater. Reading scripted materials, students analyze characters, study dialogue, and design stage movements to solve theatrical problems. Through research, creative thinking, problem solving, and improvisation, middle schoolers acquire not only the knowledge and skills to be successful in theater, but also begin to develop the self-discipline required to accomplish long- and short-term goals.