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 Middle School student has the choice of Art, Lab Science, Holographic AR / Robotics and Spanish. Beginning in third grade, students select a second elective from a rich menu of options.
- Lab Science
- Holographic AR (Fall)
- Coding (Spring)
- Robotics (Spring)
- 3-8 Grade Additional Choice Elective
- 5-8 Grade Additional Choice Elective
The Art Marvegos program is designed to develop Helios’ self-directed art makers. The students design their own projects with the guidance of their teacher. Learning to exercise creativity is all about the choices students make designing their projects and implementing their own ideas. Our small class size (6:1 student/teacher ratio) enables students to develop rapport and trust with the teacher who can guide them in the discovery of their own fine art talents. As a result, Advanced Exploration classes often lead to communities of advanced artists who inspire each other creatively.
The goal of the Spanish Program for upper school at Helios is to instill students with a love for learning Spanish throughout life, and prepare students to be successful in a Spanish Program at a High School level. The focus of the program at Helios is on acquiring the necessary vocabulary to increase communication proficiency and understand grammatical structures through an integrated program using the book “Avancemos”. In a typical class, students engage in many activities that include writing, reading, sharing, speaking, listening and grammar explanation. Also, focus will be given to understand the richness of Latin American countries. Each unit in the book introduces new vocabulary and new grammar patterns. The unit culminates with a project that gives the students a chance to showcase their new skills while being creative and having fun.
* Classes will be divided according to level depending on enrollment
Students will dive into three grand and fascinating worlds: Electricity, Chemical Reactions, Engines and Climate. Students at Helios will first discover the hidden patterns lurking amongst the chemical elements of our universe in a course called Chemical Reactions. Then will follow the history of human understanding of electricity, uncover the origin of the phenomenon, and learn to apply it in simple circuits and devices. Lastly, students are introduced to the concepts of force, pressure, volume and temperature to understand how the atmosphere exerts a force and pressure, on all objects, not too dissimilar from how a simple engine works.
In the future, we will live and work in this kind of new world—the Holographic AR world that integrates our physical world with the digital/virtual world. This course at Helios enables students to think, learn and create this future tech now! Students will learn basic Holographic AR programming concepts, logic, and design approaches through hands-on projects. Furthermore, students will learn 3D modeling, 3D Holographic AR logic, programming, and designing approaches. As a multidisciplinary subject, students will learn related space science, technology, design thinking, user centric design, basic user experiences (UX)/user interface(UI) design, digital art, visual communication, problem solving, and empathy.
VEX IQ at Helios 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.
In this class at Helios, students will learn:
- Robotics terminology
- Mechanical principles and design
- Building VEX IQ robots
- Autonomous robotics programming using sensors
- Effective communication
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 to realize your potential. It is a great way of clarifying goals and learning to trust yourself.
5-8 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. Past electives include electronics and soldering, gardening, jewelry design, sewing and knitting, choir, newspaper, literary magazine, and music video production. Electives give middle school students necessary opportunities for exploration, enrichment and extension.
This year the following electives are being offered:
The History of Racist Ideas in America. Based on the National Book Award winning study by Ibram X. Kendi, we will explore the very earliest racist generalizations about Black people, discovering their historical roots and how they were and still are used to discriminate against people of color. We will focus on the experiences of several key players in the American story of racial discrimination - Colonial era Cotton Mather, Revolutionary era Thomas Jefferson, the Abolitionist Era William Lloyd Garrison, Reconstruction Era W.E.B. Du Bois, and finally the Civil Rights Era Angela Davis. With select readings prepared beforehand, we will come together weekly to discuss the various ideas and identify their past and current impact on US history.
Upcycling. In this elective students will turn unwanted items into products with new purposes or artistic value. We will share ideas and inspirations with each other and use most of our time creating. Turn t-shirts and jeans into reusable bags, combine unwanted clothes to create new outfits, turn plastic water bottles into jellyfish, tin cans into vertical gardens, old maps into picture frames, or …. your imagination is the limit. This elective will help keep these unwanted items out of the landfill and also give us an excuse to get off the computers and create things with our hands.
Helios Cookbook. Do you like cooking or baking? Do you come up with new creative meals for you and your family? Does your family have a special meal that you love making? In this elective, we will be creating a Helios cookbook from our favorite recipes, family recipes, and fun new ones we discover along the way. During the elective time, we will be looking for new recipes, sharing recipes, and creating our cookbook. Part of the time during elective could be used as cooking and/or baking time depending on the level of supervision required. As a note, this elective may require time outside of our designated elective to complete the recipe. MAY REQUIRE ADULT SUPERVISION
The Star Wars Universe. Have you ever wondered –– why Luke’s journey in A New Hope seems so familiar? what makes a Sith’s lightsaber blade red? how all of the stories, told through various media formats, fit into the larger Star Wars canon timeline? (Wait, do you mean to tell me you didn’t know there is an official Star Wars canon timeline? Good news: We’ll fix that!) We’ll look at important events in Star Wars mythology, watch parts of movies, documentaries, episodes of the Clone Wars, and Star Wars Rebels, and we’ll also read selected passages from a few books and read through a few issues of various digital Star Wars comics. Now you may be thinking to yourself: “Wait is this a class that I can come to and just watch movies and read comics?” My answer: maybe. We'll start by watching and examining the hero’s journey in Episode IV: A New Hope (bring popcorn!). We’ll examine how real-world religions, philosophies, and historical events play out in the Star Wars canon. And if you really want to go deep into the bowels of an exogorth, we’ll examine the light and dark sides of the force through selected readings from The Jedi Path and the Book of Sith. Most importantly, there will be plenty of opportunities for you to suggest what you would like to learn about. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll all construct our own Star Wars character.