A+ Summer Middle School immerses rising 6th, 7th and 8th-grade students in an environment that encourages critical thinking, creative problem solving, and collaboration. For five days, students will explore their potential as inventors, detectives, and strategists. Interdisciplinary classes will strengthen students’ talents in reading, writing, and science while pushing them to employ these skills in new and imaginative ways.
Each A+ Summer Middle School course is built around a central piece of classic literature: Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles in Future Studies, and Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap in Mystery Summer. Students expand on their analysis of these texts to inform their writing and provide a backdrop to their science explorations.
In A+ Summer Middle School, students begin most days with a brain challenge tournaments, complete with brain benders, physical challenges, and trust exercises that require students to demonstrate critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork. Students spend the rest of their day in their chosen “major,” Future Studies or Mystery Summer. (Track offerings vary by session).
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Whether online or in-person, Education Unlimited proudly offers top-tier curriculum in our A+ Summer Middle School program!
A+ Middle School is designed for students who are already excelling in school. While there is no minimum GPA requirement for the program, students who are already achieving a 3.0 GPA (or equivalent) will be best prepared for success in the A+ program. We recommend that returning A+ Middle campers select a different track if they wish to limit curriculum overlap.
Track 1: Mystery Summer
Conspiracies! Crime! Murder! Theft! In the Mysteries track, students will become gumshoe readers and first-rate sleuths. Students will learn to identify fallacies of reasoning, distinguish between evidence and inference, and detect subtle clues and hints. Students will read mystery masters, such as Edgar Allen Poe, Agatha Christie, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in addition to more contemporary writers of detective fiction.
In this course, students will also learn the basics of crime scene forensics and how to employ deductive logic as a way to piece together evidence to identify a culprit. In one week, students will learn about code breaking, fingerprinting, blood examination, and ink and handwriting analysis. Armed with a detective’s most significant tools- the skillful power to pose leading questions and the ability to magnify deceptively insignificant details, students will break codes, take prints, and analyze the evidence in order to solve a final camp-wide mystery.
From the perfect crime to the clue that unravels the entire plot, writing a detective story is one of the best exercises for young writers because it requires thoughtful plot development and meticulous story mapping. With the help of top-notch writing instructors, students will author their own slice of detective fiction for fellow students to solve in a final reading that will have everyone trying to figure out “Who Dunnit?”
In Reading, students read “The Mousetrap” by Agatha Christie, as well as many other suspenseful texts. Students also solve several “mini-mysteries” throughout the week using their newfound skills.
InWriting, students will craft their own mystery story over the course of the week, using their knowledge of plot devices and inserting intentional clues for the reader. This is the capstone project which in the end will be a polished piece that will be read aloud to families.
In Science, students will become forensic scientists, solving real-life crime mysteries. Students will dust for fingerprints, learn how to blood type, and immerse themselves in the exciting world of forensics each day.
Track 2: Future Studies
For forward-thinking students ready to build their vision of a new world, students enrolled in the Future Studies track have an in-depth opportunity to think creatively and practically about today’s dilemmas and tomorrow’s possibilities.
Specific Skill Development:
In this highly engaging and multidisciplinary program, students will explore, discuss, and analyze the future within a historical context. Instructors will assist students in continually making the link from the past to the present, on to the future, with questions such as: How is this similar to a historical event of the past? What lessons did we take from this event that we could apply to this event? How does the evolution of the norms in society influence reactions to this situation? How has or will technology influence this idea? What if there were no technology? Futures students continually have the opportunity to apply the gamut of will engage in continued application of ‘21st Century Skills’ over the course of the week – Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Creativity.
In this track, students will invent useful objects for the future using the Engineering Design Process as a foundation. They will learn how to think like an inventor, draw up a project proposal, prototype, and market their idea. From homes to chores, participants will update common objects and tasks to make them future-friendly. Moreover, students will learn about significant inventors and inventions in history.
Students will also read notable “authors of the future,” including Ray Bradbury, Douglas Adams, and Suzanne Collins while asking the central question, How do past and future experiences impact a vision of the future? Students will practice advanced principles of effective storytelling as they build their own out-of-this-world settings and craft their original narratives.
Highlights & Deliverables:
Critical thinking about the future, while applying a research-based, analytical historical context builds intellectual curiosity, high level creativity, and keen awareness about contemporary issues facing humanity. It is a way for students to think about how rapidly developing technology, environmental degradation, societal evolution and world politics may play out for future generations. Future Studies is meant to be an intersection between literature, civics, science, technology, and social science.
In Reading, students read The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. Through this they explore and analyze a variety of science fiction and real-world pieces, comparing and contrasting common threads and differences in reading and writing about the future, and how that has changed over time.
In Writing, students will use knowledge of story arcs and character archetypes to craft their own science fiction story over the course of the week. This is the capstone project which in the end will be a polished piece that will be read aloud to families.
In Science, students will consider possible problems in the present and how they might become bigger problems in the future. They will engage in the Engineering Design Process to analyze, update, and reimagine common objects to solve a problem.
For Summer 2021 A+ Summer Middle School is offered online, live with our instructors!
Don’t see a class you want in your time zone? Check other time zones to flexibly fit your needs!
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Education Unlimited believes in small-group, immersive learning with subject matter experts and experienced teachers. We strive to provide industry-leading instruction to all of our students and hold all staff to the highest possible standards. Staff assignments vary by program and location. Some of our recent staff members for this program include:
Daniel Williams, MFA - Writing Instructor
Daniel Williams is an instructor and copywriter with a Master of Fine Arts in Fiction from the University of Massachusetts. Daniel brings a combination of creative writing expertise and seven years as a copywriter, focused on the creation of stylistic content that is clear and concise, to his role as an instructor for our A+ Summer Programs. Prior to teaching College Writing at the University of Massachusetts, Daniel worked abroad in Mexico, Malta, and Spain as an editor, copywriter, and translator for emerging brands and novelists, including Edie Meidav and Alberto Chimal. In addition to his Master’s Degree, Daniel has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.
Daniel is fluent in Spanish and has begun to learn Arabic. He has received travel grants to the Atacama Desert in Chile, and Tayrona National Park in Columbia. In addition to his teaching and copywriting roles, Daniel continues to work as a translator and interpreter between Spanish and English. He has presented on the topic of ambient music in the classroom as a way to relax students, improve focus, and stimulate creativity.
Patrick McHugh, MFA - Writing Instructor
Patrick McHugh is a native Arizonan with a background in English literature, creative writing, and critical theory. He is a graduate of Arizona State University's Barrett Honors College with a degree in English literature. Patrick received his Master's degree in English literature from the University at Buffalo. Experienced in a wide variety of classroom settings, Patrick initially taught at SIAS International University in Henan, China before returning to Arizona. While in the states he has worked with EU as an Assistant Director, A+ Middle School English teacher, and taught creative writing at the Emerging Writers Institute for both middle school and high school students. He previously taught 6th grade English for BASIS Phoenix. Currently, Patrick is serving as an adjunct faculty in the English department at Grand Canyon University, with a focus on English Composition courses for freshman students. He is passionate about guiding each student using their own voices and talents, fostering unique reading and writing skills as well as empowering critical thinking. On a personal level, Patrick is a devoted music lover and performs as a clarinet player, drummer, and electronic composer. He also indulges his interests in contemporary art and 21st-century literature.
Harrison Foster - Instructor
Harrison Foster holds a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley. His love of language and the power of words has inspired his teaching career. He has taught in both class and individual format, developed curriculum and materials, and worked to build confidence in high school students as they prepare for the college application process. A master in both the teaching of writing and standardized test preparation, Harrison has been a strong addition to our A+ and College Prep programs.
Prior to his time teaching, Harrison spent 10 years working in community radio. He produced and hosted a weekly music program in addition to a weekly movie talk show. His work in radio honed skills in writing, promotion, content creation, and production. He has spent time in social media marketing as a content strategist and manager of editorial and promotions for a film trivia game app. Harrison joined Education Unlimited in 2016.
Oishee Shemontee - Logic and Science Instructor
Oishee Shemontee is an experience science instructor and SAT tutor with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in English from the University of California, Irvine. Oishee is passionate about making science more relevant and easily accessible to people from a young age. In high school, she co-founded a peer tutoring program to help students struggling in biology, chemistry and physics. Since then, she has gained over six years of experience as a private tutor in the Greater Los Angeles Area specializing in English, Algebra, Chemistry and SAT preparation to students ranging from 8th grade to college level.
On the rare occasions when she is not reading or writing, Oishee enjoys music, traveling, and working with nonprofit organizations to encourage the education of girls and women in her homeland of Bangladesh.