Minimester Courses

Minimester 2019 provided the following opportunities for experiential learning and lots of fun:

A3+Art, Architecture, and Animation immersed students in creative freedom and personal artistic development as they explored visual storytelling and diverse techniques such as encaustic painting, illustration, and animation. Students experienced the intuitive artistry of self-taught artists and the contribution they are making to contemporary art and our visual landscape, looking at visionary architecture, environmental gardens, and fanciful roadside attractions. The A3+ journey continued with a visit to the creative hive, Interface Media Group in Washington, DC, where students toured a television studio, talked with animators and discussed their work, including 3D animation and interactive multimedia. A mashup architectural tour of museums on the Mall provided real-world examples of diverse architectural styles, form, and function that ended with a walk through the spectacular conservatory at the US Botanic Garden.

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Back to the Future: Depictions of the Future in Film provided opportunities for students to explore how movies portray our future. While they watched and discussed movies with futuristic themes, they also visited the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, learned the basics of Photoshop and designed a movie poster.

Be All You Can Become introduced students to activities they didn't normally have the opportunity to participate in, and helped them gain an appreciation for an active lifestyle, sports, and athleticism. Activities included playing flag football, paintball, go-karting, and roller skating. They also conducted research on sports and nutrition.

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Behind-the-Wheel Driver’s Education helped students prepare to become responsible, skilled drivers, offering four hours of classroom instruction each day, behind-the-wheel training, a car maintenance workshop, a car and driver safety workshop, a field trip, and movies about cars. Students completed requirements to receive their Temporary Driver’s License.

CSI Forensic Science provided opportunities for students to learn the fundamentals of investigating crime scenes and using forensic science principles. Collaborating as teams to document crime scenes with measurements and diagrams, students used advanced digital photography techniques to record both visible and invisible evidence. Additionally, teams learned to collect and process physical evidence, including fingerprint processing, trace evidence collection, blood spatter analysis, and firearm trajectory. Students utilized science and math skills while having a fun experience, visiting a science museum, an escape room, and a spy museum, participating in a Smithsonian forensic science activity, attending the FBI experience, visiting a courthouse and sheriff’s office, and completing scavenger hunts.

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Junky to Funky gave students a hands-on experience in repurposing objects, taking something old, perhaps something they found in a thrift store or in the attic, and giving it a new life and purpose by making it funky and cool. Students learned some basics about using tools and made fun objects from materials they found, including visiting the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore and participating in a class activity designed to expand how they thought about things we all discard on a regular basis.

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Next Steps is the feature opportunity of the college advising program at SMS where students experience colleges and the application process up close and personal. They toured college campuses in the Mid-Atlantic and Virginia, learned from professionals in admissions offices about how to prepare their application, practiced drafting a college essay, prepared a resume, created their Common Application and worked with a top-rated test prep company to prepare for the SAT exam.

On the Road Again took students on an RV adventure where they explored National Parks and so much more in the "Grand Canyon State". They visited Organ Pipe National Park, the Sonoran Desert Museum in Tucson, the Grand Canyon, and spent a day exploring Biosphere 2 at the University of Arizona in Oracle, AZ. They also took a kayaking trip on the waters of the Colorado River just below the Hoover Dam, and visited Las Vegas on their trip back home.

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