Paramount to the Middle School experience is the opportunity for students to explore their interests and find new passions through the elective system and after-school club choices. Students select two electives per semester from a wide variety of choices. Most courses are semester classes; however, choir, band, and orchestra require a full-year commitment.
Country Day’s elective program encourages students to explore subjects not generally found in the core curriculum. Among the wide-variety of electives we offer, here are a few your student will love!
Cavaliers Who Code
Have you ever wanted to learn how to create your own apps, games, animations, or other types of digital media? Learn how to use math and logical thinking to turn your ideas into your own interactive programs with Cavaliers Who Code. We will be using fundamental computer science concepts to create a variety of programs using a block-style coding environment. We will also experiment with writing code that controls different types of hardware like buttons, lights, and other sensors. This hands-on coding class is well suited for techies with all levels of experience.
Fire up your Kindle, explore the stacks in Matthews Library, break out your slippers and read-along snacks (I have comfortable couches in my room, by the way), and join the Book Club elective. The English teachers get to choose what books students read for English class; Book Club is a place where students get to follow their own interests, share good reads recommended by peers, or indulge in a favorite author. Reading is the single most important thing students can do to enrich vocabulary and language development (as well as raise verbal test scores)—so why not do something that is so good for the brain and fun besides. The formula for this class is simple: read and share books. Develop a lifelong habit of being an unabashed bookworm!
This class will be a space to learn and play the game of chess. According to student interest, we might also address: open v. timed play; correspondence chess; thinking strategically; the history of the game of chess; famous chess champions and matches. Open to beginners who know nothing about chess as well as experienced players.
Farm to Fork
Sacramento is home to the farm to fork movement and central to fresh organic and local foods. Production includes harvesting, storage, and processing sustainable agriculture. In the Country Day Middle School, learn how to raise your own food in our organic garden, then cook delicious meals using the food you’ve raised.
Do you love playing games but always wondered how to make one? If so, join us for a semester of fun as we explore basic game design principles and introductory coding to create working analog and digital games. You will learn to use programs such as Scratch, Alice, and App Inventor. This is an introductory course – no experience necessary.
Do you like to build? Come unleash your engineering and creative talents in the Maker Lab! If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “Why don’t I have a catapult?” this is the class for you. In our elective, we’ll learn the principles of good design while completing challenges ranging from building towers, flying paper airplanes, and racing balloon-powered cars. There will be prizes for teams that construct the best projects! Later in the semester we’ll work on open-ended projects led by student interest. Possibilities include roller coasters, basic woodworking, and elaborate Rube Goldberg contraptions. Throughout the semester the class will emphasize experimentation, safety, and fun!
In this class students will learn the origin, usage, and foundations of several different martial arts from around the world. This will include the history of the inception of the specific art, as well as hands-on practice. Practical self-defense techniques will be introduced through experiential learning in the classroom. We will explore Judo, Jiu Jitsu, Tae Kwon Do, Krav Maga, Karate, Kendo, and Kung Fu to name a few.
What do automatically-opening doors, supermarket self-checkout machines, thermostats, and NASA’s Mars Rover all have in common? They’re all types of robots! Students in the robotics elective course will have the opportunity to design, build and program a robot of their own in order to overcome a variety of challenges. Students will learn the fundamentals of engineering and prototyping, as well as learning to program using the Lego Mindstorms software package. Don’t be fooled by the colorful block exterior — Lego robots are the real deal, and the Mindstorms kits have powered everything from US Defense Department research to MIT’s autonomous Solar Racers. Participation in the FIRST LEGO league competition is encouraged, but not mandatory, and includes an additional after school component to the class.
In this elective, you will spend time studying videos as well as creating them. We will begin the semester by studying storytelling. Through movies, television shows, and other content, we’ll explore the structure of stories and identify important pieces. We’ll use this storytelling understanding to create short videos throughout the semester.