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Balance of Learning, Understanding and Exploring

Fine Arts
This class is a basic foundation of art class. The visual arts curriculum at the Middle School is designed to bring each student the confidence and desire to create. The art curriculum offers activities in the areas of art production, art criticism, art history, and aesthetics. Building on the K to 5 scope and sequence for art, students study the units of drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, clay, paper-mache, and glass fusing. This class encourages independent personal artistic exploration and exposes students to significant artistic works from a wide variety of global cultures. While learning about the elements and principles of design, students will develop their drawing, painting, sculpting, and printmaking skills. A variety of famous artists and their styles throughout history will be studied. This course is open to all students who would like to participate in a fun and creative atmosphere as they learn more about the studio habits of mind. *Some units may require a digital camera, cell phone, or iPad.

This class is an intermediate foundation of art class. Students participate in art-making experiences that emphasize careful observation, critical thinking, and creative exploration. They are introduced to a variety of media and approaches to making art. Units covered include drawing, two- and three-dimensional design, color relationships, and printmaking. Students also look at historical and contemporary artists to broaden their appreciation and understanding of the visual arts. This art class will provide opportunities for the encouragement of creative thinking, initiative, imagination, and personal resourcefulness. Students develop their ability to make choices and express opinions through the selection and use of media, techniques, processes, and tools in individual problem-solving situations.

The course is a deep dive into the history of Urban and Contemporary Art. Given its “art of today” definition, you may be surprised to hear that contemporary art has a relatively long history. We will trace its evolution, by taking a look at the major movements and important artists that compose its history. Themed units in this class will explore Pop Art, Photorealism, Conceptualism, Minimalism, Performance Art, Installation Art, Earth Art, and Street Art. This class will broaden their appreciation and understanding of the visual arts. *Some units may require a digital camera, cell phone, or iPad

Students participate in 3D art-making experiences that emphasize careful observation, critical thinking, and creative exploration. They are introduced to a variety of media and approaches to making art. Students will learn about the Science of clay and solve technical and creative issues using clay. Students will learn about the history of sculpture as well as basic hand building, glazing techniques, and art criticism. Students will gain an understanding of the tools they are using as well as an introduction to multiple mediums and how they can work in tandem with one another. We will be working on establishing their individual creative confidence through multiple projects.

The course examines the perspective and work of the following outsider artists or non–mainstream artists who are self-taught and therefore not formally trained. For example Thornton Dial, Sam McMillan, Street Artists, Thornton Dial, and many more as time permits in the semester. Creating work with non-traditional materials, paint, and objects found in the environment are assembled in this type of art to express the artist’s message. This class will broaden their appreciation and understanding of the visual arts.

This course is offered to any middle school student who is interested in theatre. No previous experience is required. Students will be introduced to the basics of theatre arts incorporating acting, design, playwriting, and theatre history. This very interactive course is filled with acting games, improvisation, monologues, partner/group scenes through a series of activities and simple presentations.

This course emphasizes the development of acting skills, play analysis, and play production. Students may be required to participate in rehearsals and performances outside the school day. This course will provide a natural progression into further studies in drama at the high school level. For those students seeking more performance and tech opportunities, they may join the Junior Theatre Company and become a member of the International Thespian Society as well as participating in school productions and at the Florida State District and State Theatre Festivals.

Music Appreciation is a course where students will explore music’s various functionalities in order to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for all types of music. The course begins by examining basic music literacy and core musical elements such as melody, rhythm, harmony, form, and texture. Throughout the course, students apply their understanding through music composition and focus on music’s various purposes and functions, tracking these categories through historical transformations. 


Exploratory Band is open to middle school students who have limited or no experience playing a band instrument.  Students will be given the opportunity to learn how to play one of the following band instruments:  flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, baritone, or percussion.  There will be a $75.00 fee to cover the cost of instrument rental.  Beginners and students who previously participated in the fifth-grade band are welcome.  The exploratory band is a one-semester course. 

Middle School Band can be a semester or full-year course for students who have had some experience playing a band instrument and who wish to be full-time members of the Maclay Middle School Band. Middle School Band is for students who can demonstrate readiness for a more advanced band, as determined by the band director. Students will participate in all band performances, including concerts at school, and district festivals. This class is recommended for students who have taken Fifth Grade Band or Exploratory Band.  Motivated beginners are also welcome. 

The orchestra program is designed to have a place for students at any stage in their musical education to play.  In Middle School, students who have played a string instrument before or who have never tried a string instrument will have the opportunity to join.

The course will cover principles of robot design, engineering, troubleshooting, robotic sensors and computer programming using the Lego Mindstorms Education software. We will use both a mathematical and an experimental approach to solving designed (and sometimes unexpected) problems and challenges. This class will be an open lab environment with total hands-on learning, experimentation, and collaboration of ideas. Students will design, build, program and troubleshoot their robots, culminating in a project-based competition utilizing the FIRST LEGO LEAGUE Challenges, complete with Tournament Mission Board and Modules. 

This class is a lab-driven introductory course about several main areas of Forensic Science. Students will explore the science and application of fingerprinting, chromatography, tire tracks, shoe impressions, hair analysis, simulated blood typing, and DNA analysis. While exploring these areas, students will also build on common science skills such as observing, analyzing, investigating, and public speaking.

Part of our mission for this elective is to make learning about science, engineering, math, and technology FUN. This is an elective for students who may want to compete in the Kennedy Space Center Student Astronaut Challenge in early 2022, or for any students simply wanting to learn more about aviation, aeronautics, and space flight. It will include a variety of lessons introducing topics including Aircraft Systems, Aerodynamics, Flight Instruments, Virtual Flight, Airports, Radio Communication, Aviation Weather, Performance and Navigation.  The elective is also focused on learning about the Space Flight Simulator which was designed to replicate the retired NASA Space Shuttle. The students will learn to perform the pre-flight operations, launch, orbit, in-mission emergencies, and landing of the Space Shuttle via the flight simulator.

In this class, students will learn about different categories of myths and about the cultures those myths belong to. We will discuss what factors influence a culture's mythology and read and talk about the myths. This is a hands-on, interactive class designed for students who are learning about mythology for the first time as well as for those who are interested in learning more about the subject. 

Have you ever seen a commercial that claims “4 out of 5 doctors recommend our product!”? Did you think to ask what kind of doctors were asked? Did they ask medical doctors? Ph.D.’s in English? Veterinarians? Without that information, you can’t make an informed decision about the claim. Students will learn how to create effective arguments, how to test arguments for validity and recognize and use persuasion techniques. This a great course for anyone who loves to debate!

Ever been curious about how movies and special effects are made? Do you often find yourself googling explanations about the ending of that weird movie you just watched? Or are you just tired of not getting all those movie references in your favorite shows? Well then, this is the class for you! Film studies will be divided into several units in which we will study different film genres by analyzing famous scenes from popular movies. It will lead us to talk about things such as types of filming, lighting, music, cultural context, and the message behind it all. Secondly, you will be able to develop and create a short movie scene by applying all the skills learned in the class.

This course will provide students with the ability to explore the business world. Students will learn about finances, banking responsibilities, and investing in the stock market. Students will learn to be innovative, adaptable, and productive in solving problems as they engage in team-building and collaborative opportunities.