Exploratory and Spanish

  • Exploratory - Each Quarter, 9 Week Rotation

    Each Exploratory course is thoughtfully designed to be engaging, encourage critical thinking, and to expand on basic skills acquired in grades K-5. Additionally, these courses introduce students to topics and opportunities offered to them through the D300 High School Pathway Programs; which are 14 unique programs available to incoming freshmen (D300 Pathway Programs). Exploratory classes provide middle school students with a chance to try or explore units which may excite them and spark an interest to consider various high school elective courses or pathway programs when collaborating with high school counselors to develop schedules in their 8th grade year. All CTE (Career & Technology Education) and Art courses provide experiences and opportunities meant to inspire student considerations of the many possibilities for their future jobs, as well as potential careers and/or vocations. Please feel free to reach out to the Exploratory teachers at any time throughout the year for an individualized parent-teacher conference or to simply ask specific questions about the courses at AMS.

    *Students in AVID or Spanish do not take Exploratory courses.

    College & Career Readiness I, II, and III

    “College & Career Readiness” is the umbrella title for a series of courses designed uniquely for each grade level to support educational growth and student’s discovery of their best ways to balance academics with social lives. All AMS Exploratory students will have this course during their first quarter only. Each course culminates with a Personal Branding Project where they design a digital portfolio of what they have learned and planned for themselves.

    • 6th grade, “Planning for Success” - is a class where students will practice self-identification, communication skills, organization, and critical reading. 

    • 7th grade, “Exploring Success” - helps students learn about; high school elective courses, high school pathway programs in D300, and start researching their options beyond high school such as training, degrees, and various certifications.

    • 8th grade, “Achieving Success” - encourages students to focus on what is happening now, during their final middle school year, while thinking ahead for high school. They will explore some basic financial skills, SMART goal setting, soft skills for employment, and career readiness.

    Innovative Technology

    This course develops student’s multimedia skills using a variety of digital tools. Each grade level has unique units designed to guide students towards identifying which hardware and software tools can be used to enhance creative project ideas. 

    • 6th Grade - includes 2 individual units; *Computer Coding, using Code.org to learn basic Javascript computer language in block format, and *Podcasting where students write, record, and edit their own full audio podcast in WeVideo.

    • 7th Grade - starts with *Visual Literacy, They read, write, and create visual images after learning basics in typography, layout, color, and images, and practice applying the skills in Google Slides projects. Students then have a *Graphic Arts unit, where they modify existing visual content and practice making their own images in Pixlr Editor.

    • 8th Grade - the quarter switches back and forth between concepts related to *Video Editing and *Film Production to help students learn how to develop, film, and produce their own short films using the online-based software, WeVideo.

    Project-Based Learning (PBL)

    This course is centered upon the teaching method entitled Project Based Learning, in which students gain knowledge and skills by investigating an authentic, engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge over an extended period of time, and then complete a project based upon what they have learned.  There are two projects per quarter, per grade level.

    • 6th Grade - includes a project based on the use of Energy called *Put a Spark In It, as well as a project on the fundamental concepts of *3D Design and Printing using Tinkercad

    • 7th Grade - students will be creating, writing, and filming a *Public Service Announcement as one of their projects, and will also be utilizing what they have previously learned about 3D Design and Printing to create a working model of a *Prosthetic Hand using Tinkercad.

    • 8th Grade - focuses on the process of discovering new ways of combining resources with *Entrepreneurship, where students create a product and business pitch for that product as a project. The 2nd project will have students learning about city planning in order to design a model of a *Future City.  

    Visual Arts

    Middle School Art Exploratory, for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade, is designed to actively engage students in the process of creating a variety of pieces of art. These courses provide the stepping stones for students to consider pursuing art on their own, more advanced art-making in high school, discover their own artistic voices, and fully engage in the beginning of art-related career opportunities.

    • Each Grade Level will engage in art units including:

      • 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional visual projects.

      • Creating personal artwork while learning about the Elements and Principles of Design.
      • Introduction to artwork presentations in art galleries and other venues around the world.
      • Making real-world connections to student’s own art-making.
      • Respond to art through class discussions and written work.


    Spanish - Year Long Exploratory

    Middle school world language instruction enables students to take *two years of Spanish based upon eligibility and teacher recommendation. Throughout these 2 years, students will interact with and build upon vocabulary, grammar concepts, and culture. The high school Spanish 1 curriculum is broken down and split between both 7th grade and 8th grade Spanish. 

    Students who successfully complete the middle school course with passing grades will earn 1.0 credit and be eligible to take Spanish 2 as freshmen in high school.