What Are Academies and Electives?

All Middle School students, as well as fourth graders, take academies. Academies take place on Friday afternoons and are led by teachers, parents, and administrators. They are shaped by student interests and encourage groups of children and adults to explore and work together. Academies inspire creativity, collaboration, and Design Thinking.

Seventh- and eighth-grade students choose two electives per semester in such areas as performing arts, visual arts, writing, math, and technology. Teachers lead electives, set unique learning goals, and evaluate students on their performance.  

Both electives and academies offer students an abundance of choices spanning math, science, technology, art, sports, drama, singing, writing, music, humanities, and even crafts and games! 

Previous Middle School Academies

Adaptations of Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol"

We'll read Dickens's original "Christmas Carol" and discuss it thoroughly, including how students would adapt it to film if they were the director, writer, or actors. We'll get nice editions of the book, do a lot of reading, both in the Academy and at home, talk about what we're reading in detail and how we would adapt it as a play or movie, then look at and discuss several film adaptations, and discuss each one: choices, casting, changes, and more. If you love to read, and are eager to read and discuss a hard book written more than a hundred years ago, then this is the group for you.

Classic Card Games

If you like playing strategic card games, then this academy is for you! Each week we will learn the rules of some classic card games, such as Euchre, Pinochle, Hearts, Whist, Rummy, and many others. Then you will have time to practice and hone your skills through free game play and tournaments. 

First Lego League Team

If you are participating in the FLL Robotics team program, you must sign up for this academy (if in 5th or 6th grade). You will learn skills and work with your team on your robot and project!

STEM Fair Academy

Do you want to study rockets? Do you want to investigate bacterial growth on agar plates? Do you have an idea for a project or experiment for Nueva's STEM Fair? This is the academy for you! This double academy (will run for first two rounds in a row) is dedicated for students who want more time, space and resources to prepare a project for Nueva's STEM fair and to explore, investigate and discover!

Previous Middle School Electives

Chemistry & Art

Chemistry & Art

The history of chemistry and the history of art are inseparable. In this elective, we will explore how an understanding of chemistry can inform our artistic process and how an appreciation for art can motivate us to deepen our knowledge of chemistry. You can expect to learn about chemistry, perform experiments, and create your own artwork. Possible areas for exploration include: the chemistry of color, fabric and fabric dyes, sculptural materials (such as concrete, plaster, and polymers), and ink and paper. In addition, we can use chemical structures as inspiration for art and explore the role chemistry plays in the preservation and restoration of art.

Digital Photography

Digital Photography

How can a photograph shape how you see the world around you? What drives you to capture the world in the way you do? We’ll delve into these questions throughout the semester as we develop our unique perspectives as photographers, informed by an increasingly deep understanding of photographic history and ethics. We will explore and practice a different type of photography each week including portraiture, diptychs, abstracts, and photo stories. To further enhance our photographs, we will evolve our technique in Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom and offer thoughtful critiques of our peers’ work. We will maintain individual photo-a-day projects throughout and carry out an independent final project at the end of the semester.

Forensic Science

Forensic Science

Do you love science, detective work and mysteries? Forensic Science combines these, using skills and techniques that come from a variety of disciplines- logic, mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics and technology- to solve crime! Students enrolled in this course will get a hands-on crash course in crime scene investigation and the forensic sciences.

Groove Workshop

Groove Workshop

Groove Workshop is a performance-based overview of various musical styles. Some of the styles that we will cover include rock, jazz, Latin, funk, country, pop, rap, reggae, and blues. Students will learn how to play each style on their respective instruments. Each student will be part of a band that will prepare for live performances.

Robotics Team

FTC Robotics Team

This elective is only for 8th graders participating in the FTC Robotics program, and is required if you are. The elective class will be time to learn the tools, techniques, and programming required for participating in FTC, and time to work with your team on this year's challenge.

Yearbook

Yearbook

This is your opportunity to join a team of your peers to tell the Nueva Story! In this course you will learn to shoot compelling documentary photos, write a variety of journalistic coverage, and design and lay out gorgeous pages. Students will be assigned editorial positions at the start of the year that reflect their primary interest in design, photography or writing – but all students will have a chance to work on all facets of Yearbook production.

The Middle School yearbook team will be responsible for collecting the stories and photos from the Hillsborough campus that capture the highpoints of the school year and feature the unique experiences that make Nueva such an extraordinary school. In addition, the Middle School yearbook team will interface with the Upper School yearbook team to coordinate coverage and creative ideas. At the end of the year you will have created a beautiful and dynamic yearbook that your peers will treasure for years!