Middle School Electives

Art

The Branch School Middle School Art Program emphasizes exploration. Using the elements of art and the principles of design as a framework, students investigate a variety of experiences and concepts. Students explore various two-dimensional and three-dimensional art media using a variety of expressive and technical approaches. Students begin to understand the factors that distinguish artistic styles which clarify the role of art in American culture. Through critical examination, the students will determine how artists convey meaning using forms, media, and symbols. Students will test and develop their own ideas regarding the nature of art and will encounter philosophical and ethical questions. Upon the successful completion of our visual arts curriculum, students will possess the skills that will allow them to evaluate the effects of various influences on the discipline of the visual arts:

  • Create original works of art.
  • Look at, critique, and respond to works of art.
  • Demonstrate self-expression.
  • Identify spatial relationships.
  • Identify and use primary and secondary colors and natural and man-made color.
  • Classify objects by using color, texture, line, shape and pattern.

Drama

The A.D. Players Theater group instructs our students in creative expression through basic theater skills and theatrical performances. The focus of the class concentrates on the following:

  • Improvisations and scripted scenes based on personal experiences and heritage, imagination, literature, and history.
  • Developing basic acting skills.
  • Developing environments.
  • Rehearsals
  • Cultural and historical information to support acting.
  • Analyzing, evaluating and constructing meaning from acting.
  • Understanding the role of the theater, film, television, and electronic media.

The drama teacher works diligently to ensure that students develop proficient communication skills, build their confidence, and learn the skills necessary to interact effectively with their peers.

Engineering Everywhere/Robotics

Engineering Everywhere is a program of the Boston Museum of Science.It includes lessons in Agricultural, Biomechanical, Chemical, Mechanical, Environmental and Green Engineering. Engineering is found all around us. Students investigate topics including:

  • Vertical Farms
  • Prosthetic Tails
  • Bioplastics
  • Insulated Homes
  • Safety Helmets
  • Ice Cream
  • Urban Landscapes

In robotics, guided by National Standards for Robotics Engineering Technology Education and the Next Generation Science Standards, students experience STEM education using an inquiry approach to problem solving with robotics. Mission challenges require students to use and develop skills in:

  • Inquiry, Observing, Measuring
  • Personal and Social Consciousness involving Science and Technology.
  • Teamwork and Problem Solving
  • Time Management
  • Programming

Students are provided with interactive learning through Lego Mindstorms NXT robotics kits. Developed at MIT, the Mindstorms are one of the best teaching tools for programming and engineering concepts available for children. These exciting robots feature state-of-the-art ultrasonic sensors, servo motors, Bluetooth technology, and more. Children explore the fundamentals of programming and engineering while using technology, mathematics, science, teamwork, and problem-solving skills.