Middle School Courses

AESA Prep Academy’s Middle School Courses are accredited by SACS, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Mathematics curriculum is aligned by grade and satisfies the National Standards and Principals for Mathematics Science Education Standards and is supported by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, as well as the SAT Reasoning Test developed by the College Board, and the ACT, the American College Test governed by ACT Inc.

The Science curriculum is aligned by grade and satisfies the National Science Education Standards developed by the National Science Council supported by the National Science Teachers Association, as well as the SAT Reasoning Test developed by the College Board, and the ACT, the American College Test governed by ACT Inc.

The English curriculum is aligned by grade and satisfies the National Standards for Social Studies supported by the National Council for the Social Studies, as well as the SAT Reasoning Test developed by the College Board, and the ACT, the American College Test governed by ACT Inc. The Social Studies curriculum is aligned by grade and satisfies the National Standards for Social Studies supported by the National Council for the Social Studies, as well as the SAT Reasoning Test developed by the College Board, and the ACT, the American College Test governed by ACT Inc.

5th Grade Academic Courses

The fifth grade is based upon “hands on learning experiences” that foster critical and creative thinking processes. Classes offer traditional, academically rigorous information taught within a framework based upon creativity, exploration, investigation and experimentation. All classes will concentrate on student’s verbal and writing communication skills.

5th Grade English (1 credit)

The focus of 5th grade English is on written and verbal communication, reading comprehension, rhetoric and grammar, vocabulary and spelling. Students are challenged to summarize, predict, visualize, clarify, and understanding scaffolding to enhance reading comprehension. Students will also learn to expand their vocabulary by incorporating the use of synonyms, antonyms, homonyms, prefixes, idioms, and Greek and Latin roots. Utilizing modern literature, students will learn to love to read and will build a firm Language Arts base for the rest of middle school English courses.

5th Grade Science (1 credit)

This hands on investigative approach to science concentrates on ten major scientific areas; astronomy, biology, chemistry, robotics, physical science, meteorology, earth science, environmental science, the human body, and ecology. Using the scientific method students will learn how to conduct research, investigate, collect data, record observations, and use control groups. In class, students will build projects, conduct experiments as they learn basic scientific information in a fun and experiential manner.

5th Grade Math (1 credit)

Students will utilize manipulatives and participate in “hands on experiences” as the further their mathematical knowledge in the following major concepts and skills: whole number computation, number sense: .0001-999,999, addition and subtraction of non-negative rational numbers, transformations, properties of plane figures, perimeter and area, bar graphs and stem-and-leaf plots, coordinate grids, rates of change, line graphs, simple equations and inequalities, median, and mode and range. Students will solve relevant and authentic problems using appropriate technology and apply these concepts as well as those developed in earlier years.

6th Grade Academic Courses

6th Grade English (1 credit)

This two semester one credit course emphasizes clear, coherent writing for a variety of purposes. Students will write personal narratives, compare and contrast essays, conduct an interview with a person of significance as well as write several research papers. In all of these topics students will learn the process of webbing/ outlining, rough drafts, editing and a final composition. This course also teaches principles of grammar as they relate to writing, spelling patterns and strategies, and listening. Students will also write a variety of styles of poetry.

The required combination of Reading and English for 6th graders introduces students to a range of essential skills. The course emphasizes clear, coherent writing for a variety of purposes. It also teaches principles of grammar as they relate to writing, spelling patterns and strategies, and listening and speaking skills. Students read both silently and aloud, for clarity and comprehension. They also gain practice in paraphrasing, summarizing, determining main ideas, drawing conclusions, predicting outcomes, and generalizing. In addition to the required text and featuring Anne of Greene Gables, Maniac Magee, The Phantom Tollbooth, the course also requires self-selected reading material.

6th Grade History (1 credit)

This two semester one credit course teaches people and places of the contemporary world. Students describe the influence of individuals and groups on historical and contemporary events, identify different ways of organizing economic and governmental systems, and explain how the level of technology affects the development of selected societies. Students will present research material on a variety of topics in a variety of styles. Topics include cultures and governments of China, Byzantine and Roman Empire, World Wars as well as Africa. Styles include essays, poetry, brochures and advertisements.

6th Grade World Civilization (1 credit)

This course teaches people and places of the ancient world as well as the contemporary world. Students will be able to describe the influence of individuals and groups on historical and contemporary events, including, but not limited to, governmental issues, organization of economics, and how technology affected the development of selected societies.

6th Grade Math (1 credit)

This two semester one credit course covers addition and subtraction of whole numbers and decimals, as well as the multiplication and division of whole numbers. Teaches perimeter, area, circumference, and introduces fractions.

6th Grade Science (1 credit)

This two semester one credit course teaches physical science, Earth science, and life science. As an activity-based course, students are required to perform a variety of scientific experiments and to report their findings. Students discover the thrill of scientific investigation while learning to hypothesize, perform experiments and report, chart and graph data. Includes activities and resources to help students understand aspects of physical science, Earth science, and life science. Teaches the solar system, living systems and ecosystems, body systems, cells and DNA, the rock cycle, ground water and watersheds, anwater investigations. Also, students will use the scientific method to investigate and experiment.

7th Grade Academic Courses

7th Grade English (1 credit)

This two semester one credit course teaches literature, writing, grammar, and vocabulary. Students learn to identify basic literary devices, understand and analyze readings, write for a variety of audiences and purposes, use appropriate grammar and usage in writing, improve speaking and listening skills, and expand vocabulary. The course includes introductions to the genres of Fantasy, Science Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult Novels, Poetry, Adventure Novels, Greek Epics, Folk Literature, Nonfiction, and Drama. Students will read The Outsiders, The odyssey and Kavik the Wolf Dog, as well as Fables.

7th Grade History (1 credit)

In this two semester one credit course Students learn to see history through the eyes of the people who lived it because, when we understand how people shared the past, we better understand how we can shape the future. Emphasizes European exploration and colonization; Anglo-American settlement, annexation, and statehood; causes and results of the Mexican War; and the involvement of Texas in the Civil War.

7th Grade Texas History (1 credit)

Students will learn about Texas History; how the past affects the future. They will learn about Anglo American settlements, the fight for Texas Independence, annexation, statehood, and the involvement of Texas in the Civil War. This course will also encompass the men and women who helped shape Texas.

7th Grade Math (1 credit)

This two semester one credit course teaches mathematics as a step-by-step process, including adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing decimals and fractions. Also covers pre-algebraic expressions and equations, number theory, and geometry.

7th Grade Science (1 credit)

This two semester one credit course teaches the interactions between the Earth, sun, and moon, and instructs students how to identify and locate features of planet Earth. Emphasizes how we interact with our surroundings through sight and sound. Students learn to describe the physical world by describing matter, physical and chemical changes, and solutions. Covers how to classify and describe living things, from the simplest organisms to the most complex plants and animals. Each lesson provides a hands on experiment and teaches the scientific process. Students create their own experiments as well and perform curriculum based experiments. Students will research and build a solar cooker and test its functionality.

8th Grade Academic Courses

8th Grade English (1 credit)

The course covers reading strategies, literature studies, vocabulary development, spelling review, writing for a variety of purposes and modes, speaking and listening skills, and principles of grammar and punctuation as they relate to writing, with a special emphasis throughout upon nonfiction.

8th Grade History (1 credit)

This course provides an in-depth study of American history from 1530 to 1877, beginning with the Colonial Period and continuing through the American Revolution, the creation of the Republic through the writing and ratification of the Constitution, the Jefferson and Jackson eras, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. Also covered are colonization, relationships between ethnic and cultural groups, cause and effect, significant individuals and events, nineteenth century reformation efforts, Supreme Court decisions, and geographical factors.

8th Grade Science (1 credit)

This course is a combined introductory course in Earth science, physical science, and life science. Emphasizes forces, energy, energy materials, resources, Earth materials and resources, air, molecules in motion, and life at the cellular level.

8th Grade Math (1 credit)

An introductory course covering basic concepts in preparation for Algebra I. Includes adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing whole numbers, decimals, fractions, mixed numbers, and integers. Also, manipulating place value and powers of 10; estimating sums, differences, products, and quotients. Teaches identification of angles and triangles, and use of scientific notation.

Foreign Languages

The Foreign Language curriculum is aligned by grade and satisfies the National Standards for Foreign Language Education and is supported by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language, as well as the SAT Reasoning Test developed by the College Board, and the ACT, the American College Test governed by ACT Inc.  Students are encouraged to take Dual Credit Spanish from the University of Texas for their Advanced Foreign Languages Classes.

Introductory Middle School Spanish Levels I and II (1 credit)

This course is an introductory course to the basic vocabulary and grammar for Spanish Level 1. The students will be exposed to the culture and traditions of Latin America.

Introductory Mandarin Chinese (1 credit)

This course is an introductory course to the basic vocabulary and grammar for Mandarin Chinese 1. The students will be exposed to the culture and traditions of China.

Electives

Art Exploration Grades 5-7 (1 credit)

Grades 5-7

Explore all types of mediums and techniques as you learn the Principles and Elements of Art- in a fun way! This exploration will take you through, drawing, painting, clay, sculpture and mixed media projects. During this time you will meet some artists that have come before you as we learn techniques in their style. This will be a great exposure to all types of art and you will leave the class with a better understanding of art terms and techniques to allow you to specialize in a specific art class later at AESA Prep Academy.

Art Exploration Grades 8-9 (1 credit)

Grades 8-9

Explore all types of mediums and techniques as you learn the Principles and Elements of Art- in a fun way! This exploration will take you through, drawing, painting, clay, sculpture and mixed media projects. During this time you will meet some artists that have come before you as we learn techniques in their style. This will be a great exposure to all types of art and you will leave the class with a better understanding of art terms and techniques to allow you to specialize in a specific art class later at AESA Prep Academy.

Introduction to Photography and Digital Media (1 credit)

Grades 5-8

This elective course will help students understand the fundamentals of digital media, and will expose students to the worlds of:

  • Digital Photography
  • Graphic Design Basics
  • Video Production

Areas of emphasis will include:
How digital devices work: how to use your camera, how lighting works, how to compose and shoot a compelling image, how to print and share images, how to plan and produce a story through imagery.

Students will receive classroom instruction, field demonstration and see examples. They will be given opportunities to shoot images and receive personal instruction while in the field both in outdoor and indoor settings. Students will participate in constructive group critiques to review their work as we examine the fundamentals of photographic composition and visual impact. The course will conclude with a group exhibition featuring original work from each student.
At the end of the course, students will:

  • Know how to use the various features of their equipment
  • Be able to decide what type of lighting to use in a given situation to produce optimum results
  • Feel empowered to make deliberate creative choices
  • Understand how to use editing software to produce images and videos
  • Be able to publish and share their projects with others

Fashion Yesterday and Today (1 credit)

What is your “style”? The Fashion Industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. We will take a BRIEF look at how cultures influence how people dress. After our march through history and world cultures we will begin to examine the industry from the twentieth century until today. The class will include lecture, discussion, research and projects. We will learn the basics of figure drawing for the purpose of fashion illustration. A possible project idea would be preparing for a fashion show with drawings, fabric selections, simple construction techniques, and modeling our masterpieces. For our fashion show we might enlist a photography and journalism team which could be our very own AESA Classmates.

Introduction to Speech (1 credit)

This elective course will teach students how to write, prepare, edit, and give a speech in a variety of situations. Areas of emphasis will include: knowing your audience, conquering stage fright, body language, stage presence, humor as a key component and developing the ability to relay informative or persuasive content. This will be a dynamic class where every student will be getting up and talking in front of the other students during each and every session! Through immersion, repetition, and fun classroom exercises, students will learn how to grab the audience’s attention and how to hold it. They will simultaneously learn how to relax and be themselves in front of any size audience, therefore giving a much more effective speech. Students will also learn the process of writing a speech for a variety of settings or occasions. Appropriate videos of different speakers in different situations will be shown as examples. These will include motivational speeches, stand up comedy routines, informational speeches, and persuasive speeches. The course will conclude with the students giving a speech from a category of their choosing to assembled students and parents. Grades will be based on student participation during class, enthusiasm for the coursework, and on improvement from day one to the final speech.
At the end of the course, students will:

  • Know how to relax and be confident while addressing an audience.
  • Be able to prepare an effective speech for any situation.
  • Feel confident in their ability to address large and small groups of people.
  • Stand up straighter, be more confident, and feel empowered to get up and speak!

Debate I (1 credit)

Grades 9-12

Debate is a year long course that provides instruction in the art of public speaking, with an emphasis on specific debating techniques. Students will have the opportunity to develop critical thinking and analytic skills along with logic and impromptu speaking techniques to defend opposing sides of social issues. The course is designed to further students’ research skills and promote an awareness and understanding of political and current-event issues.

Students will find themselves learning various formats of debate including: Lincoln-Douglas, Public Forum (a type of team debate), and Extemporaneous Speaking (impromptu speeches analyzing current events). Most of the course focuses on the in-class debating of major political and ethical issues. Major concepts to be taught include, case-writing, rebuttals, cross-examination skills, analytical thinking, and political and moral philosophy.

Health (1 credit)

Health education prepares students to shape their behavior in health enhancing ways. Students will learn to access valid and reliable health information, analyze the influences in their lives, communicate effectively, and use real life scenarios to practice making decisions and set attainable goals. Students will also watch various documentaries that involve emotional, physical, and nutrition wellness. By the end of this course, students will understand advanced health principles. The goal of this course is for students to develop the skills necessary to manage stress healthfully and enhance the quality of their personal, family, and community life.

Nutrition (1 credit)

This is course emphasizes the fundamental concepts of nutrition with a focus on the relationships of nutrients to health, fitness, and athletic performance. Topics include basic dietary components, principles of body function, considerations for disease prevention and management, dietary regulation, dietary myths, food safety and weight management.

Intro to Digital Cinema (1 credit)

This class will introduce students to the world of motion picture creation using computers and digital technologies. Students will be given a crash-course in the history of motion pictures, learn the basic theories of storytelling, and begin exploring the technologies and skills necessary to create high-quality digital movies for use on the Internet and DVD. Over the course of the class, students will create their own micro-short films and participate in a group short film that will be submitted to the SXSW film festival.

Mythology (1 credit)

World Mythology explores the beliefs, cultures, and history of ancient societies from around the world in order to gain knowledge beneficial to the academic disciplines of literature, philosophy, art, comparative religion, science, anthropology, archeology, and psychology.

In this course students will: Interpret myths for their sociological, philosophical, and historical significance. Identify various universal archetypes, themes, symbols, and motifs found in myths. Analyze the cultural significance and relevance of important ancient stories (including The Iliad, The Odyssey, The Aenied, The Epic of Gilgamesh, and Sigurd the Volsung). Develop a greater knowledge of the world cultures (including Greco-Roman, Norse, Judeo-Christian, Celtic, Mesoamerican, Native American, and Babylonian).

Students will improve their communication skills through many classroom discussions, multimedia presentations, and speeches.

Comparative Religion (1 credit)

The study of world religions is an integral part of understanding individuals, countries, and nations. Many concepts in religion can be very abstract. Consequently, an effort has been made to create a course outline that simplifies the task at hand: teaching world religions in a manner that communicates abstract concepts in historical context with an understanding of diversity and sensitivity to individual beliefs.

This course outline relies upon a chronological and geographic approach. For units IA and IB a sequential approach is employed. Beginning with IC, a geographic approach is added. At this point the study of world religions is divided into eastern and western with Mesopotamia being the dividing line. Under the development of western religions a study of Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are included. Under the development of the eastern religions a study of Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, Sikhism, Shinto, and religions of Korea and Japan are included. Although this is only one approach, by taking a geographic perspective, religions with similar history and features are automatically grouped. Additionally, the study of religions benefits from an approach that considers the three fundamental features of religions: theoretical, practical, and sociological. Finally, the study of religions is not limited to those included in this course outline. The included religions are those that have been historically studied as part of religious studies. The instructor should integrate other religions where appropriate.

Wildlife Program (1 credit)

In our Wildlife Program we use indoor and outdoor activities – including field trips to wilderness areas and other local resources – to explore such topics as biodiversity, habitats and ecosystems, interdependence, adaptation, wildlife populations, human impacts, wildlife management, and other current issues. We will also look for responsible actions that we can take, to benefit one or more causes that we identify and explore. Our program largely will be based on the award-winning “Project Wild” curriculum, which has been developed by a consortium of state, national, and international environmental educators.

The Wildlife Program at AESA is currently directed by Audie Alcorn, who was a ranger for the U.S. National Park Service for 7 years – most of that at Zion National Park in southern Utah, where he wrote, produced, and presented numerous evening programs, visitor center talks, and guided hikes on the natural and culture features of that area. He was also very active in Boy Scouts in his youth, once taking part – at age 14 – in a 5-week, 750-mile hike from Alabama to Washington, D.C. – arriving in time to march in the Independence Day parade in our nation’s capital on the occasion of the Bi-centennial 4th of July celebrations. Audie is eager to grow this program into a key component of a well-rounded education.

Costume and Fashion Design (1 credit)

In Costume & Fashion Design students learn about the basics of the design process from concept through construction of a finished garment. Elements of design, such as line, rhythm, texture, are discussed as students study current and historical fashion. Practice in figure drawing and garment sketching will help students learn to transfer ideas into 2D renderings using sketching and colored pencils. Students will learn the basics of hand and machine sewing, use and modification of sewing patterns, and selection of fabrics and notions, as they work on various projects.

Theatre Arts (1 credit)

In Theatre Arts students learn to use body, voice and imagination to dramatize stories on stage. Emphasis is placed on developing awareness and skills in expressive use of the body through space and time, along with techniques of vocal production and stage presence. Each class will devote some time to warm-ups and acting exercises including pantomime, improvisation, skits, character development, play analysis, rehearsal and performance techniques, and the collaborative artistic process.