MS Electives 2013-14

Unless noted, electives will be offered all three terms and will run based on student interest. Students can choose a new elective each term and do not have to commit to a single elective for the entire year.

Students who take only one season of interscholastic sports as an afternoon activity are required to take at least one term of a physical education elective.

(Download a PDF version.)

SCIENCE

Nature: Science Elective

This science elective explores botany and gardening while incorporating aspects of organic farming, environmental awareness and nature appreciation.  We will grow seeds and manage plantings in the greenhouse and outdoor garden boxes.  We will also observe seasonal changes, take short field excursions nearby, make observations in nature, and celebrate holidays or initiatives that incorporate nature.
maximum enrollment per term: 12
minimum enrollment per term: 5
Fall & Spring terms

TECHNOLOGY

Middle School Makers
Like tinkering with things? Using tools and craft supplies? Eating cotton candy? This elective is for you. Walk through 11 Maker projects that will combine art, technology, and science to create some wacky and cool items. Each week, students will follow a step-by-step set of instructions to build a project. Think: squishy dough circuits, homemade 3D glasses, string art, homemade cotton candy, growing an avocado tree, and designing a desktop catapult! There will be 11 projects, one for each week. This elective will include getting your hands dirty and working with your peers. No skills or expertise required. All welcome.
maximum enrollment per term: 10
minimum enrollment per term: 2
Winter term only

HISTORY

Global Players, Cultural Positioning, Global Action
This course for students in grades 6-8 will examine global issues present in the 21st Century. Using J.F. Rischard’s Book: High Noon: 20 Global Problems, 20 Years to Solve Them, students will work collaboratively on identifying places in the world where these issues are prevalent (Global Players) and use a studio based approach to designing viable solutions that address these issues (Global Action). Students learn about different regions and cultures, including the Americas, Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East, and how to assess the similarities and differences with one’s own (Cultural Positioning).
maximum enrollment per term: 16
minimum enrollment per term: 3-4

ENGLISH

Middle School News Online Magazine
The staff of the Middle School News Magazine will produce bi-monthly editions of an online multimedia “publication” that will update viewers on all aspects of Beaver life and allow students to practice effective communication skills through the written word, video storytelling, photography and artistic expression. The staff will design the look of the magazine, offer editorial opinions, and write features about events, activities, assignments and people in the Beaver community. Beyond shoring up the skills (research, writing, design, and collaboration) necessary to producing material worthy of public consumption, the magazine has the potential to create interest in a wide variety of student activities and enhance Beaver pride.
The new Middle School News Magazine is the place to go to find out what’s happening at Beaver. Designed by and for students, the magazine will be a multimedia, online production that will aim to produce two editions per month. Students interested in writing, videography, design, collaboration, leadership opportunities, and finding out what’s up in the middle school should join our staff and be in on the ground floor of what is sure to be a vibrant corner of the Beaver experience.
maximum enrollment per term: 12
minimum enrollment per term: 6
Fall and winter terms only

Dystopia Utopia: A Book Lover’s Club
Dystopian is wildly popular. Why? It provides an escape. It offers an exploration into WHAT IF…? It asks big questions like what is freedom? What is love? What is human? And it generally has a hopeful ending. In Dystopia Utopia, we will read, explore, discuss and play with a few of the most popular Dystopian novels of our time. Possible titles include Divergent, The Giver, Uglies and The Lord of the Flies. Together as a group, we will learn about dystopian literature, share our experiences with the genre this far. Each member of the group will select one title to read throughout the first half of the term (approximately 50 pages per week). During our meetings, we will discuss and offer our impressions of and reactions to our reading. In the second half of the term, students will collaborate on projects inspired by content and themes in the novel. Endeavors may include creating movie trailers for your chosen novel, designing visual art pieces, and writing – and publishing! – your own original chapters or stories. If you love reading and using your imagination, then this elective is for you.
maximum enrollment per term: 12
minimum enrollment per term: 3

LANGUAGE

It’s Not all Tacos & Crêpes: A Culinary Tour of the French & Spanish-speaking World
Students will embark on a Culinary Tour of the French and Spanish-speaking Worlds in order to gain a more in-depth taste of the flavor profiles, culture, economics, fair trade, sustainability and cultural practices demonstrated by the foodways of a culture. Students will better understand the importance food plays in the daily life of the French and Spanish-speaking world, learn to prepare simple dishes such as arepas, yassa ginaar, marinade du poulet, thit bo luc lac, cheese fondue and arroz con leche, and explore never before experienced flavor profiles. Most importantly, common stereotypes will be dispelled about culture and foodways.
maximum enrollment per term: 12
minimum enrollment per term: 4
Fall & Spring (the countries, recipes and cultures covered will be different)

French & Spanish-speaking Media
Media in the French and Spanish-speaking Worlds examines different types of media in both digital and print. Students will analyze French and Spanish advertisements, news clips, films, television programs, magazines, social media and cartoons. We will discuss how culture is reflected in the media of the diverse populations, paying close attention to the effectiveness of the message as well as any stereotypes conveyed.
maximum enrollment per term: 16
minimum enrollment per term: 6
Winter term

MATH

The Stock Market Game
In the Stock Market Game elective, students will learn about investing. As they progress, they will learn core mathematical concepts in fractions, decimals, percents, ratios, and exponents. Students will start with a virtual cash account of $100,000. Their goal is to create the best performing portfolio using live trade simulation. Students will work in teams of four learning these essential skills and concepts: critical thinking, decision-making, cooperation and communication, independent research, saving and investing.
maximum enrollment per term: 16
minimum enrollment per term: 8

VISUAL ARTS

Camera-less Photography
Students will learn the basics of photography and how a camera works…all without using a camera! Some of the activities include Photo-grams, where students will work in a dark room while focusing on themed compositions involving exposed light-sensitive paper. Another project will be building a Pin-Hole camera to take pictures and develop images. Finally, students will work in a group to construct a Camera Obscura installation. This interactive collaborative project allows students to build a large camera in a small space to experience the photography process on a large scale.
maximum enrollment per term: 12
minimum enrollment per term: 2

PERFORMING ARTS

Film
Students will explore the medium of film as a means of expression. Balancing creativity and technicality, they will write, shoot, and edit a variety of projects. Over the course of the year, units of study will include storyboarding, principles of comedy, stop motion, documentary, and surrealist film.
maximum enrollment per term: 20
minimum enrollment per term: 3

Technical Theater
Students will explore the fundamentals of theatre carpentry, lighting, and/or sound with a focus on creative problem solving. Students will gain an understanding of shop and theater-safe working practices, basic construction skills, and knowledge of lighting and sound instrumentation and rigging.
maximum enrollment per term: 10
minimum enrollment per term: 3
Fall and winter terms only

Instrumental Ensembles
The Beaver Middle School Instrumental Ensembles offer students valuable experience learning, rehearsing and performing different genres of music all three terms. Students should have some prior instrumental experience, preferably, at least one year. Each new student’s instrumental level will be assessed individually by the ensemble teacher, after which, the suggestion might be made for students to take one year of private lessons before joining an instrumental ensemble.
maximum enrollment per term: none
minimum enrollment per term: none

Vocal Ensemble
The Middle School Vocal Ensemble offers students valuable experience learning, rehearsing and performing choral music all three terms. The ensemble will be exposed to a range of genres, and they will perform at three choral concerts as well as other school events throughout the year.
maximum enrollment per term: none
minimum enrollment per term: none

ATHLETICS

Introduction to Yoga, Strength and Agility
In this physical education class, students will learn Yoga techniques and how to improve strength and agility through the use of body weight resistance training and flexibility exercises. The Introduction to Yoga course provides a solid foundation in the essential yoga poses. This course is recommended for all students who have never tried yoga before in a class setting, or those who want to gain a deeper understanding of the breath and alignment of poses. Each class builds on the previous week’s class, allowing students to absorb and apply what has been previously learned. In addition to Yoga, students will learn techniques and skills to improve overall strength, agility, and flexibility.
maximum enrollment per term: 16
minimum enrollment per term: 8

Volleyball
In volleyball, students will progress from technical instruction to games with emphasis on learning through playing, and improving fitness through play. Students will learn: bumping, setting, serving, and games rules.
maximum enrollment per term: 16
minimum enrollment per term: 12
fall term only

Martial Arts
Martial Arts disciplines we explore may include Tai Chi, Kung Fu, Karate, Taekwondo, and Jiu jitsu. This course is recommended for all students who have never tried martial arts before in a class setting, or those who want to gain a deeper understanding of the martial arts. Each class builds on the previous week’s classes, allowing students to absorb and apply what has been previously learned. Students will learn self-defense techniques, as well as basic skills and patterns. Students will also be exposed to the philosophical, historical, and cultural nuances of various martial arts.
maximum enrollment per term: 16
minimum enrollment per term: 8

Kick, Catch, Run
In this class, students will learn fundamental and intermediate level technical skills of Soccer and Flag Football. Students will progress from technical instruction to small-sided games with emphasis on learning through playing, and improving fitness through team field sports.
maximum enrollment per term: 16
minimum enrollment per term: 12
fall term only

Basketball
In this class, students will learn fundamental and intermediate level technical skills of Basketball. Students will progress from technical instruction to small sided games with emphasis on learning through playing, and improving fitness through play.
maximum enrollment per term: 16
minimum enrollment per term: 10
winter term only

Stick, Hand, Foot
In this class, students will learn fundamental and intermediate level technical skills of Floor Hockey, Handball, and Futsol. Students will progress from technical instruction to small sided games with emphasis on learning through playing, and improving fitness through play.
maximum enrollment per term: 16
minimum enrollment per term: 12
winter term only

Climb Away
In this class, students will learn fundamental and intermediate level technical skills of Climbing and Belaying. Students will utilize the indoor climbing wall and high ropes elements depending on weather and techniques being taught.
maximum enrollment per term: 16
minimum enrollment per term: 10
spring term only

Throw, Catch, Kick
In this class, students will learn and play a variety of field games, including capture the flag, ultimate frisbee, flag football, and kickball. Students will learn through play and enhance fitness through games. Emphasis will be on teamwork and problem solving through team based activities.
maximum enrollment per term: 20
minimum enrollment per term: 14
spring term only