Electives

As part of our Culture of Curiosity, one of our goals is to teach our students how to influence and improve their own learning. We call this being the executive director of your own learning. It’s not that the teacher and the grades don’t influence learning – they do – but what’s critical is the realization that what impacts your learning the most is what you have control over, such as finding an interest in the subject or increasing your level of effort in or out of class. The Middle School Comenius Electives encourages students to pursue interests and passions beyond the core curriculum. Students are required to take two electives every semester. The elective descriptions below are a sample of the courses offered this year.

List of 9 items.

  • + Curiosity Fueled Reading & Creative Writing

    Campus to Community: We’ll venture out into Moravian's immediate surroundings with weekly walking tours, site visits, and explorations. Students will help plan our outings, and possible destinations include natural areas, businesses, historic areas, gardens, and public buildings. Students will record and reflect on our experiences by maintaining multimedia notebooks of questions, sketches, observations, etc.

    Novel Writing Challenge: NaNoWriMo (short for National Novel Writing Month) is a month-long young writer’s challenge in which participants plan and draft an entire novel in the month of November. In this elective, we’ll spend the first months of the year making our way through a comprehensive student workbook that covers the key elements of novel writing, from plot diagramming to dialogue and character development. Students will learn to offer and receive constructive feedback as we workshop and conference about our developing stories. In November, we’ll buckle down and write, write, write, then celebrate and revise our novels for the remainder of the semester. Along the way, students will take advantage of NaNoWriMo’s private online classrooms to share ideas, track their progress, and stay motivated.

    The Lion’s Den Reading Group: If you are an avid reader and don’t have time to just sit back and enjoy a book (not required reading), join us in this elective. Bring the book of your choice to a quiet place that allows you to enter into the world your book brings to life. Relax and find pleasure in your passion for reading
  • + STEAM

    Electricity and Magnetism: This course will explore the basics of electricity and magnetism. Each week, activities will allow students to gain knowledge about the concepts and put that knowledge into action. Activities will include making electromagnets, electric motors, generators, and batteries. We will explore the types of electric circuits and learn some of the quantities that can be measured and calculated.

    Introduction to Robotics: S
    tudents will explore Lego Mindstorms EV3 robot design and coding. Together we will look at programming, motors, sensors, attachments, and robot design. 

    K’nex Design and Competition:  
    Are you curious about how simple machines work and willing to take risks? Collaborate with your small teams to design, construct, and program your own authentic machine. Compete in an inter-regional competition with your peers in March.

    Math Competitions:
    Students will participate in The Pennsylvania Math League, American Mathematics Competition, and Math Madness for the first two trimesters. In addition, we will prepare and compete in the Math 24-Game competition at the Intermediate Unit 20. We end the year by creating mosaics using over 400 Rubik’s cubes, and for those who are interested, you can learn how to master the Rubik’s cube.

    Science and Engineering Competitions: Students in this elective will work in teams to test their skills in some science/engineering competitions. The competitions we choose will be modeled after Science Olympiad events and could involve structures, wheeled vehicles, model aircraft, or machines. Participants will design and build devices to meet the event parameters and then test and refine them before a final competition.

    Computer Science Discoveries: Computer Science Discoveries is an introductory computer science course that empowers students to create authentic artifacts and engage with computer science as a medium for creativity, communication, problem-solving, and fun.

    Science Fair Bootcamp and Project Design: Seventh and eighth-grade students planning to participate in Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) and possibly Lehigh Valley Science Fair in the coming school year will explore the components of a good science fair project. Students will work individually and together through the design process to formulate, plan, conduct, and present their projects.
  • + Digital Media and Studio Art

    Filmmaking: Filmmaking will provide students with the opportunity to explore various aspects and stages of filmmaking from pre-production to post-production. Students will have the opportunity to write scripts and screenplays, outlines and treatments, create storyboards and shooting schedules, learn how to use cameras and tripods, and shoot and edit films. This course is for anyone who is ready and willing to work hard while exploring his/her curiosity and creativity.

    Middle School Broadcasting Group:
    MSBG is our weekly broadcast at the Middle School. Students in this elective will prepare content for these live broadcasts and serve as technical support for the program. Program content includes material such as script writing, creating slideshows, and highlighting school events and programs.

    Studio Art: Students create self-directed artwork at their own pace with help from the teacher as needed.  Students should have work planned to do for each week.
  • + Geo Bee, Games Theory, & Debate

    Chess and Strategy Games: Chess Club is for players to learn basic and intermediate strategies through learning scenarios and competitive play. New players are welcome! In addition, we may explore other abstract and modern table tabletop games.

    National Geography Bee and World Geography Challenges: Preparation for the annual Geography Bee (Held in late-October & early-November) Course then focuses on investigating world problems that either impact geography or are caused/exasperated by geography. Travel & extensive trip planning skills utilized. Additional focus on cultural geography; food, music, popular topics.

    Speech and Debate: This elective focuses on the art of public speaking in the form of original oratory, prose and poetry, original interpretation, extemporaneous speaking, student forum debate, duo interpretation, student congress, and more. Students work in preparation for local tournaments competing against other middle schools. Competition is optional and often is on Saturdays.

    Logic Games, Puzzles, and More: This elective is a smorgasbord of word-related activities. We’ll play word games like Bananagrams, Scrabble, Gamo, and Upwords, create a jigsaw puzzle on figurative language, and will also explore logic puzzles such as crosswords, word searches, and word scrambles.
  • + Leadership

    Kiva Club: Kiva is an international nonprofit with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. In this elective, you will learn about microfinance, plan and implement fundraising and awareness campaigns, and change lives around the world.

    Middle School Green Team:
    Do you desire to do more for the environment and have a passion for arts and crafts? Come join the Middle School Green Team, where you will learn how to recycle and repurpose everyday household, school, and office items into usable and valuable goods. Learn how to create a hydroponics garden, bird houses, make vases and gift items for the holidays, and even things to wear! We also collaborate with the Upper School. This is a great way to impact our environment and to be part of whole school activities!
  • + Global Languages and Cultures

    Conversational Chinese and Chinese Culture: Students will learn simple conversations in Chinese though Chinese songs. Chinese holidays’ traditions, arts, and calligraphy also be introduced.

    Spanish Speaking Countries and Culture: Enjoy learning about the particular traditions that make the Spanish speaking countries so rich and interesting. Along the culture, we’ll explore food tasting, listening to music and dancing.

    Latin: Students will explore the Latin language, which plays a fundamental role in English grammar and "lives" in 70% of English words. The goal in this elective is to strengthen their English grammar and English vocabulary through a "dead" language. Not only will we focus on the language, but we will also explore the classical world through culture and mythology.

    Spanish Plane Conversation: Have you ever dreamed about visiting a Spanish speaking country and feeling prepared to dialogue with native speakers? This elective will help you create simple yet relevant conversations to enhance your traveling experience.
  • + Performing Arts

    Handbells: The Handbells elective provides students with an immersive experience in music reading and handbell performance. The weekly rehearsals focus on essential reading, handbell techniques, and ensemble performance.

    Exploring Theater: This elective will explore all aspects of theater based on the interests of the students in the course. Content may include the history of theater, the fundamentals of acting, scene work, monologue work, play reading and analysis, musical theater, and current issues in the theater arts.
  • + Mind, Body, & Spirit

    Help! I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up. What To Do Next: This elective will cover all facets of emergency situations, and give students the confidence to respond. Even though this course does not certify in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) it will follow the CPR training curriculum and the student will be given resources where they could easily complete their certification if they chose. Additionally, the course will look at the major systems such as the heart, in heart attacks, and the brain in strokes, with a strong focus on recognition of signs and symptoms and prevention. We will also look at emergency preparedness and students will gain knowledge in the subject through research, games, simulations, discussions, debates, and inquiry-based activities. Additionally, we will examine cultural sensitivity and equity in emergencies.
     
    Sports by the Numbers: Students will use math and science to explore the world of sports. Students will examine the necessary velocity and angles when throwing a football, tackling potential and kinetic energy, a basketball player's shooting percentage and a baseball player’s batting average, just to name a few.
     
    Fitness and Strength Training: This elective will look in depth at being Physically Fit while working on the 5 components of fitness. This will be an active elective where students will train to become stronger and faster. Lifting weights, Speed and Agility as well as learning about different training techniques from Yoga to Lifting to HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) to Cardio.  
  • + Creativity and Design

    Fun Food For Fridays: In this elective, you will work to prepare and sell creative snacks to other students during morning breaks. You will learn to make finger foods like chocolate covered pretzels, oreo lollipops, and we will look into making some of your suggestions. You will also learn how to budget ingredient costs, calculate profits, and reinvest funds.

    Sew, Can You Cook?: Students will be given the opportunity to take on cooking tasks like working with recipes, handling kitchen measuring tasks, such as converting and working with some kitchen tools. This class will also introduce them to life skills associated with cooking, such as meal planning, grocery shopping on a budget, and making healthy food choices when on their own. They will also, be learning to sew different patterns of stitches, replacing buttons, to actually making pajama pants, and blankets from scratch. The world of home economics into one elective.

    Knitting Creations, Conversations, and Service: This elective welcomes knitters of all experience levels. New knitters will learn and practice basic knitting skills, while more experienced knitters will tackle more advanced techniques and projects. While all students will be encouraged to select and complete at least one simple project, their learning will be largely self-directed, and a system of “merit badges” will guide and celebrate their progress.

    Back to Basics: Learn to do a variety of activities such as: simple origami, sewing on a button, folding clothes, how to set a table, cross stitching, making hot chocolate from scratch, making paper Moravian Stars, ironing a shirt, hand making bows for gifts, paring apples, putting seeds in wet paper towels to watch them develop roots, woodburning with a magnifying glass, quilling, hard boil an egg, etc. The list is endless!

    Cupcake and Cookie Decorating: Learn to decorate cupcakes and cookies for different seasons and themes using a variety of editable objects and frostings. You will need a cupcake tin or container to take home your treats every week.

Merle Smith Campus

Downtown Campus