Electives at Helios give our students the opportunity to explore new interests, express their creativity and refine their skills in a variety of areas.
Each Lower School student, beginning in Kindergarten, has the choice of Art, Spanish, Lab Science and Holographic AR / Robotics. Beginning in third grade, students select a second elective from a rich menu of options.
- Lab Science
- 3-4 Grade Holographic AR (Fall)
- 3-4 Grade Coding (Spring)
- 3-4 Grade Robotics (Spring)
- 3-4 Grade LARP Elective
- 3-8 Grade Additional Choice Elective
The Art Marvegos approach for younger kids is age appropriate and fun. Students learn the concepts used in fine art through a hands-on, interactive contemporary teaching method. The goal of this Art Exploration program is to build self confidence by empowering children to make their own creative choices. A student/teacher ratio of 7:1 is maintained to best facilitate this process. Students may remain in our Art Exploration classes for 4 years without repeating projects and content.
The goal of the Spanish Program for lower school at Helios is to introduce students to the joys and beauty of language learning by immersing students in the language and culture of Latin America. Classes are divided in units, each unit represents a new set of vocabulary words pertaining to a particular theme. Each topic is first presented in context and then the vocabulary is further practiced through a variety of interactive activities. Each unit culminates with a final project that showcases the vocabulary learned.
This program is designed to lay the foundation for future proficiency and success in upper school Spanish and beyond. Most importantly, it aims to inspire the love for learning Spanish and other languages throughout life. * Classes will be divided according to level depending on enrollment.
Hands-on science is happening at Helios! Students will dive into three grand and fascinating worlds: Botany, Kingdom Animalia and Meteorology. In Botany, students will uncover the chemistry, genetics, and interesting adaptations in the world of plants. Students will then probe how animals interact in their ecosystems and identify how their behaviors and traits help them survive. Lastly, students will run a series of experiments on gases and uncover key relationships between pressure and temperature, which explain the science behind all atmospheric phenomena.
In the future, we will live and work in this kind of new world—Holographic AR world that integrates our physical world with the digital/virtual world. This course enables students to think, learn and create this future tech now! In this course, students will learn basic Holographic AR programming concepts, logic, and design approaches through hands-on projects. As a multidisciplinary subject, students will learn related space science, nature science, technology, design thinking, user centric design, basic user experiences (UX)/user interface(UI) design, digital art, visual communication, problem solving, and empathy. With hands-on projects, students will learn to program and design your own Holographic AR Space exploration and nature exploration projects. The curriculum is specially designed to provide personalized learning and students will learn at their own pace.
VEX IQ is a snap-together robotics system designed from the ground up to provide this opportunity to future engineers of all skill levels. Robotics is an exciting blend of competitive sports, mechanical engineering, and programming. It's a branch of STEM that encourages sharpening soft skills in addition to traditional STEM skills, and introduces many cutting-edge technical problems that are yet to be solved.
InoBotics (www.inobotics.io) is an elementary, middle and high school robotics program that participates in the VEX Robotics Competition. Our teams are highly competitive and were last year's California State Champions, also winning Think Award (best autonomous programming) at 2019 World Championships. Together, our teams have won over 20+ awards and tournaments.
Students at Helios will learn:
- Robotics terminology
- Building VEX IQ robots
- Simple programming using drag-and-drop blocks
- Effective communication
LARP. The actual events resemble a standard tabletop style game environment where the game master describes the scene and setting and choices that the players must consider and then facilitates the events that unfold due to those choices and actions in the world. Players must listen along for what is happening as the story develops, act their parts as discussions become more involved, answer riddles and decipher codes in real time to complete their goals in the game. Sometimes they succeed and sometimes they fail and must try a different approach next time. All of their actions involve
players making and role playing as characters in a shared imaginary world that spans the Bay Area and has hundreds of players continuously involved in collaborating on the process of storytelling and adventure. Players explore concepts from history, linguistics, political studies, geography, psychology, literature, mythology, engineering, science, mathematics, fine arts, team building, and much, much more in a single session and often don’t even realize they are learning due to
the fact that they are the active participant in the process, not the passive receiver. Google Doc for the Online Game Rules
Beginning in third grade, students select a second elective each semester from an ever-changing rich menu of offerings. These classes provide a terrific opportunity to explore new interests and learn what they like. Electives give students necessary opportunities for exploration, enrichment and extension.
This year the following electives are being offered:
Literary Magazine. Do you love words, writing, and the art of engaging readers? Perhaps you’ve always wanted to enter a writing contest? Do you just want more time and support for your creative, "non-school-related" writing projects or unfinished stories? We are open to all forms of fiction, from classically inspired literature to modern fantasy and steam-punk and nearly everything in between. In this elective, you'll work with a small cohort of like-minded writers to create a Helios literary magazine, as well as get coaching, peer feedback, and opportunities to submit your stories to outside contests and publications--perhaps even the well-known Stone Soup!
Investigative Journalism. Join a virtual newsroom! The goal of investigative journalism is to uncover facts and secrets to hold people, governments and corporations accountable for their actions. In this elective, students will evaluate the impact of investigative journalism, explore underreported stories and start their own investigative projects.
Open Art Studio. Do you have an art project you have been wanting to do, but just haven’t had the time in your busy schedule to work on it? Or perhaps you need some suggestions for how to move forward on your project, or need some tips working with a new medium? Maybe you would just like to have the chance to hang out with like minded friends who enjoy creating art without any expectations beyond just plain having fun exploring your artistic side? If so, come join us for a relaxed, fun, creative afternoon in Open Art Studio!
Journaling. Have you been wanting to learn about journaling? Now is your chance. We can discover journaling together. Write about your thoughts and feelings, or work through a problem you may be having. Journaling is a wonderful way to open up new horizons. A journal can be a friend, a confidant and a mentor. Journaling is a way to process and think things through very effectively - helping you to make decisions. It strengthens your sense of self and helps you realize your potential. It is a great way of clarifying goals and learning to trust yourself.