If you can dream it, you can find a way to create it in one of our STEM electives! Across the disciplines, innovation and creativity thrive in our elective program. Our STEM Electives offer a space for students and teachers alike to deepen our appreciation for the integrated nature of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
Several of our courses use the Makerspace as a setting for student learning and exploration. The makerspace is also available to students during sixth grade lunch for open exploration. Using a maker mindset, students routinely use a process that includes planning, designing, testing solutions, reflecting, and revising, and refining. Students also have the opportunity to use our STEM courses as a context for deepening their understanding of our district’s Shared Values.
The following outlines the various electives offered at North Shore Middle School:
Wow You Made What?
In this course, students have a chance to explore, design, and create, all within interesting limitations. By engaging in a series of projects, each taking several weeks, students will investigate answers to questions like:
How creative can you be, using a set of secret ingredients? (6th and 7th grade)
When natural disaster strikes, how can we use design and engineering to help those who are affected? (6th grade)
What do gears have to do with making your vehicle faster? (6th grade)
How can we learn and apply what we know about speed, data collection, and wind powered machines to make the best possible wind powered vehicle? (7th grade)
Legos are great, but do they have design issues? How can we improve them? (7th grade)
What IS that?!? Why is that under there? Have you ever asked yourself these questions? Have you ever tried to discover the answers yourself? This is the essence of exploration. With Viking Explorers, students can dive into underwater exploration and become part of the team that designs, builds, and drives underwater robots. We explore local waterways; see the unseen; discover Long Island, our home, like never before.
This fully hands-on, half-year elective course is an unforgettable adventure – we search shipwrecks, discover local marine life, take samples to study in the lab, create art, develop, edit, and publish your video footage, meet experts in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, travel around Long Island to explore its diversity, and share our observations with a global community of explorers.
"Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure science." - Edwin Powell Hubble
Robotics and Automation
Welcome to the high tech. world of the 21st century. This course which is part of the national middle school Project Lead the Way engineering curriculum will introduce students to the fascinating world of robotic design and automation.
Students will solve every day simple engineering problems by building models, machines and gadgets using Fischer-Technik (high tech LEGOS) supplies and equipment. Students will learn how to work with different types of mechanical devices such as gears, levers, pulleys and motors to simulate machines such as robotic arms, elevators, sorting, storage, and conveyor belt systems.
All devices will be controlled by student designed simple user friendly computer software programs that will operate sensors, motors and other electrical and mechanical devices (really cool stuff). This class will be held in our computer learning center located in the technology lab.
Engineering and Structures
Why do most buildings stand up for long periods of time? Why do they sometimes fall down? Why do some houses look beautiful inside and out while others do not? In this course students will use the computer as their drawing board and design a house using the software program 3D Home architect. Students will play the role of architect and design their own fully furnished dream house on the computer. You will learn about architectural plans, exterior and interior design concepts, foundation, framing, plumbing and electrical systems. All students will learn how to safely use the basic hand and power tools located in the technology lab and construct a small-scale model of one of the rooms in their dream house. Students will also act as engineers and learn about different types of structures such as bridges and skyscrapers and eventually design, construct and test a small bridge that they created in class. The class is held in our computer-learning center located in the technology lab.
Transportation & Vehicles
This course is part of the national middle school Project Lead the Way engineering curriculum. We introduce students to 3D computer solid modeling and model building using state of the art graphic design software and the tools in the technology lab. Students learn about different types of current transportation systems and then design air-powered dragsters and magnetic levitating vehicles on the computer, eventually building their individual designs in the technology lab. The dragsters will be powered by compressed air and race down a drag strip at 30 mph! The magnetic levitating vehicles will float effortlessly down a track powered by a small electrical motor. Besides using the computer as your drawing board, all students will learn how to safely use the basic hand and power tools located in the technology lab. The class will be held in our brand new computer-learning center located in the technology lab.
In the words of Albert Einstein, “Failure is success in progress.” Throughout this hands-on course, serious math and science students incorporate mathematical understandings with scientific investigations as they experiment and challenge what we believe about natural phenomena. Through what material does sound travel most effectively? Do pavement cracks follow a specific pattern? These are a few questions STEM Investigation students have tested and deliberated – join this course and find out what we will test out next! Our investigations will be driven by the mindset of a STEM thinker as we “Build, Create, Destroy, Explore, Design, and Solve.” Students are required to utilize technology, public speaking skills, and data analysis to share and argue the outcomes of each investigation. If you enjoy challenging yourself in math and science, this course is for you!
Have you ever wanted to invent something of your own? Design it, draw it, and then build it? Well then this is the course for you! We focus on mechanical advantages and utilize the six simple machines to achieve group-oriented goals. We follow in the steps of American cartoonist Rube Goldberg, an absolute genius when it came to making a seemingly simple operation the most humorous, outlandish, and complicated event. We design, draw, and then produce “Rube Goldberg” devices utilizing the six simple machines to develop a maze of operations triggering one another to complete a secret final task. Other projects involve gears and gear ratios to maximize the speed of electric motors to race “Speed Demons” which are student designed and built wooden racecars.
Computer Design Workshop
This course which is part of the national middle school Project Lead the Way engineering curriculum will introduce students to 3D computer solid modeling using state of the art graphic design software. Students will learn how to solve design and construction problems by creating realistic three dimensional models using a computer as your drawing board and pencil. The images created by students will look so real that they will seem as though you could pull them off the computer screen. Students will learn how to sketch out solutions to problems, develop images on a computer and eventually produce a set of plans and build models in the technology classroom that look as though they were produced by professional architects and engineers. This class will be held in our computer-learning center located in the technology lab.
Intro to Science Research
During this Science Enrichment elective, students are challenged to investigate scientific experimental design and learn research methods. Students complete an independent science research project. In doing so, they learn to define independent and dependent variables, construct hypotheses, carry out controlled experiments, analyze data and use their graphing skills to make valid conclusions. Students conclude this elective with an oral presentation of their research as well as a presentation of a research poster board. Students may choose to continue their research and enter LI Science Congress and/or LI Science and Engineering Fair held in the spring.
Do you enjoy working with your hands, recycling, and creating useful items out of trash? Then this is the course for you! Renewable Revolution will open students’ minds to creating "green" structures and objects. A "green" structure can be anything that does not harm or impact the environment, and in this course you’ll find that this can include furniture made of recycled materials, natural powered electrical sources, and home-grown food instead of purchased from a store. This class promotes environmental stewardship and mindfulness about reducing our carbon footprint.
Ever wondered if double-dipping really spreads germs? Does toast really always land butter-side down? Can you make a glow stick out of Mountain Dew, vinegar, and baking soda as claimed on the internet? Separating truth from fiction can be tough! In this elective we will endeavor to find the truth as we investigate claims using research and the scientific method. We will also watch episodes of MythBusters as inspiration and to analyze and critique the investigative methods demonstrated on the show.
Microbes and the Human Body
During this advanced biology class, students will be enriched by exploring human body systems and examine how the body responds to diseases. We will investigate the history of human biology and research famous diseases that have made an impact in history. We will learn basic microbiology techniques, such as culturing bacteria and Gram Staining for microscopic identification. Student will give oral presentations of their findings and participate in bioethical debates and Socratic Seminars.
What is the best temperature for making fudge? Does using melted butter make cookies softer? What makes a cucumber a pickle? Why are there eggs in my chicken cutlet? Cooking is loaded with hidden science, just lurking in the delicious shadows. Uncover the biology, chemistry, and physics that make our food so fantastic! Explore the science behind the food we eat, experiment with techniques to refine recipes, and eat the data! My hypothesis is this class will be mouth-wateringly magical!
The Math Behind the Winning Move
Do you enjoy exploring unique mathematical problems, puzzles, and games? Have you ever wondered how math is used in winning such a simple game as “Tic-Tac-Toe” or a game more complex as the game of “SET”? Students will explore a variety of strategy-based games utilizing mathematical skills and knowledge. Come see how math can unlock the secret to the winning move, and then use what you’ve learned to create an original game with math.
What are the effects of music on memory? Does this kind of question pique your curiosity? Would you like to design your own experiments and are you ready to take your study of science to the next level? In this course we will use the Scientific Method to learn more about how to research and analyze questions in all branches of science. Get ready to find a scientific question you'd like to investigate, and learn the strategies of conducting a study and presenting your findings like a real scientist would. This course is an excellent preview for students who are interested in conducting science research at the highschool level and beyond.
Ever wonder about how forensic scientists are involved in solving crimes? Are you curious to find out more about how scientists collect and use evidence that helps tell the story of what happened? It's time to get a closer look at how scientists analyze fingerprints, hair, and even blood. We'll learn the techniques used in crime labs and then apply our thinking and problem solving skills to conduct a lab investigation of evidence found at a North Shore crime scene!
Coding & Electronics
Have you ever thought about how something works like your phone, radio, computer, or TV? In this course we will explore the different electrical components that go into these devices. We’ll use the open source Arduino software and learn the C coding language to design and test circuits and control the functions of LED lights, servos, and motors...and find out what makes these electronics work the way they do. This hands-on experience with code and electrical circuits will give you the tools to create your own computer or mini robot of your own!!
In Design Squad, you’ll learn to think like an engineer and gain a deeper understanding of the design process. Can you design a container that will safely ship a Pringles chip to your home? Can you use toothpicks to create a bridge that can support the greatest amount of weight? Can you invent a holder for a 6-pack of soda cans that is animal-safe, sturdy, and easy to carry? Join the Squad and tackle these STEM challenges!
Wonders of Math
This course stimulates inquiry, sparks curiosity, and enhances our understanding of math. We will investigate mathematics through discovery and experimentation of unique challenges. Students will investigate areas of math not typically explored in regular math classes. We will pose non-routine problems and devise solutions to reveal wonders of mathematics.