Electives

We have a diverse offering of electives for our students to pursue all their different passions, ranging from science fiction to programming to political science. Some offerings run all year long, while others rotate. Electives are offered based on student interest and faculty expertise, and as a result there are many offerings from which to choose! Below is a list of some recent offerings (note: not all electives are offered each year) to give you an idea of the breadth and depth of our programming.

A Folkloric Historical Investigation of Cryptozoology
This course will investigate arguments surrounding the study of cryptozoology (a subculture based on the folkloric and historic record of the existence of Sasquatch and other biological phenomena). Students will also research and discuss ideological assumptions using the Socratic format that absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence.

Competitive Math
The primary focus of this course is to prepare students for the Mathcounts and AMC competitions as well as other math competitions. Along with frequent preparation, we will explore topics that foster our natural curiosity in mathematics and science.

Concert Singers
Concert Singers is an award-winning choral ensemble that traditionally performs many times throughout the year, including in the Winter Program, Pops Concert, Diadames, and local and national choral festivals. Concert singers traditionally tour each Spring, and have traveled all over the country, including in Carnegie Hall.

Current Events
Interested in current events? Want to learn more about what is happening in the US and internationally? We will learn about major events, examine different news sources, and look at ways that we can take an active role in our society.

Digital Photography
Students will learn the basic principles of photography and advanced camera operations while developing their natural artistic eye through various techniques and exercises. Students will need access to a Digital SLR camera.

Elections: Practice, History, and Analysis
In this course, students will learn about elections in the United States and around the world past, present and future. They will learn how nations select their leaders, how history can impact current choices and the important issues at stake during each electoral contest.

Electronic Music
Turn your new/reintroduced Mac and time at home into a creative music making exploration! In this elective, students will learn about the different layers and components that go into creating original music compositions without the need to be an expert musician. Students will become proficient in using available Mac-based music making software and use professional level recording tools and programs to produce original electronic music. We will cover sound recording, editing, beat composition, synthesizers, and sampling with the goal of completing at least two original compositions over the course of the semester. Once you learn the tools, the sky's the limit!

Future Cities
In this engineering design elective, students will participate in 3 phases of the Future City Competition.

  • Stage 1: Students work in a team and use trial and error to create a virtual city using Simms City.
  • Stage 2: Based on the takeaways and conclusions drawn from the virtual city phase, teams then formally design their future city in writing. Through a structured writing process, students write their City Essay, explaining the intricacies and final choices for their cities.
  • Stage 3: Finally, once the final touches have been made and City Essays have been Submitted, students use only recyclable materials to build a 3D scale model of their city. Students will then attend the in-person Future City Competition to present their Future Cities.

Greek and Roman Mythology
Students of this class will explore the mythological stories of Greece and Rome through literature, art, archaeology, and pop culture. The students will learn about the ancient gods like Zeus/Jupiter and Apollo, who meddled in human affairs, about the heroes like Hercules and Theseus, whose duty it was to become great, and about the monsters and magicians like Cacus and Circe, who tried to throw the world into chaos. Through Greek and Roman mythology, students will develop critical-thinking skills not only by investigating ancient religious practices, such as visiting the temples and shrines of the gods, but also by interpreting these myths in a cultural context other than their own. Students will also have the opportunity to produce their own mythologies in various media, for example in poetry or prose, making a movie, or through performance, just as the Greeks and Romans would have done on the stage of an ancient theater.

Illustration Workshop
Improve your drawing skills and your visual storytelling! This elective is for students who love drawing, and want to take their work to the next level through weekly drawing prompts and challenges.

Instrumental Combo Band
This elective provides an exciting opportunity for students with prior instrumental and/or vocal experience to come together to play a variety of live music. We will explore different genres - from folk to rock, pop, blues, and jazz - with an eye to learning melodic, comping, and improvisation skills. The goal is to work hard in applying advanced music concepts, while having a blast jamming good on groovy music. This is an audition based class. Students will be accepted based on instrument availability, playing and reading skill, work ethic, and commitment.

Intro to Programming
In introduction to Programming, students will have a conceptual introduction to programming. Using the Python language, students will learn how to create and control the flow of data in a program. Using conditionals, loops and functions, students will be able to create flexible programs that can tackle a wide range of inputs. By the end of the semester, students will be capable of producing functional based programs, and be able to utilize documentation for the aim of self education.

Mirman X
Mirman X is a middle school startup accelerator that encourages Upper School students to tackle moonshot projects that have the potential to help a community in some meaningful, tangible way. The school provides the material resources and professional guidance to support an idea from genesis to market, and our students have an opportunity to truly innovate by thinking big and doing amazing things!