STEAM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. It adds a creative, human and aesthetic component in what people know as STEM. STEAM is also a verb, it is all about action in learning. The essence of STEAM at Middleburg Academy is an attitude and an atmosphere that provokes and serves each student’s curiosity. We live in an integrated world and problems are more functionally intertwined than ever before. We want to prepare Middleburg Academy graduates for this complex challenging world. The future leaders will be those graduates who acquire the skills we are developing in our STEAM Curriculum. Creative and Collaborative thinkers that are driven to develop the best solution within the present constraints.
The goal of the English Department at Middleburg Academy is to develop the reading and writing skills of our students, together with an appreciation of both classic and contemporary literature and the ability to analyze its contents. Regular study of vocabulary, grammar, mechanics, and punctuation ensures that students have a good command of the English language and are able to express their ideas effectively. English classes also teach students basic research skills so that they may analyze, assimilate, and consolidate information from a variety of sources using the proper methods of documentation. Students usually take four years of English at Middleburg Academy, with honors and regular sections available in grades 8-11, and a choice of senior electives or Advanced Placement English in grade 12.
The Middleburg Academy Department of Sciences strives to create an interconnected view of the classic disciplines. By inspiring students to embrace their curiosity, creativity and confidence, we aim to guide students to a new way of thinking about the universe.
Students are encouraged to ask questions and to focus on what asking a certain question means rather than only thinking of the solution. The road of questions which the students blaze leads them eventually to opportunities to do independent research and discover new innovative ways to think. Even within the core classes the goal is to guide the students to re-create the methods through which discoveries were made originally using the knowledge and tools they have at their disposal. To undertake this task of learning takes a certain amount of daring to make mistakes and the discipline to be honest with yourself which we hope to instill using trust and guidance.
The core science classes here at Middleburg academy are Biology, Chemistry and Physics, all offered at varying levels of depth from general to Advanced Placement. From here the course options include Astronomy, Ecology, Research Topics in the Biological Sciences and Art and Science of Food. These electives are only limited by what students are interested in learning and can be supplemented by an individual study or, if there is enough interest, a new class catered to their specific curiosity.
Mathematics requires sustained immersion in a cumulative learning process that increases in complexity during high school. Beginning with the fundamentals of algebra and geometry, students are gradually introduced to the abstract language essential for higher branches of mathematics.
Problem solving is the most vital element in this process. And so, we focus on helping students master the craft of understanding, correctly setting up, and ultimately finding solutions for problems.
Once they begin working on calculus, students have greater autonomy to explore their mathematical imagination. As powerful techniques are mastered, students are exposed to real world problems that first gave rise to calculus.
Beyond the classroom, our department has happily encouraged students to participate in mathematical olympiads. The availability and friendliness of instructors also allows motivated students to explore mathematical curiosities after school.
Visual and Performing Arts
Students who study art at Middleburg Academy relish their experiences. Inspiration is all around, with 3600 square feet of loft-like studio space overlooking a stunning panorama of the Virginia countryside; a bucolic campus to photograph, paint, draw or discover ceramics. A Sculpture/3D design program was recently initiated, allowing students to explore techniques and methods in woodworking, metal works, forging and glass etching. A gallery between the studios provides exhibition space for our students and many have participated in local and regional exhibitions and have been very successful by winning top prizes, locally and regionally. Our recent graduates are attending top tier art schools and colleges and often return to share their experiences and achievements. In addition, many of our former students are currently employed in art related careers and also visit the campus and share their knowledge and experiences.
History courses at Middleburg Academy allow students to develop the skills that will lead to success at the collegiate level, particularly: critical reading and thinking skills, data and map analysis, oral presentation skills, and analytical written expression.
Beginning in ninth grade with Western Civilization, students not only explore the ancient civilizations of the Western tradition such Greece and Rome, but also receive an in depth history of three distinct regions: Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. The tenth grade year focuses on European history beginning in the Renaissance period and prepares students for junior year United States history. The eleventh grade year is a detailed history of the United States. During the senior year, students are offered a wide array of electives, ranging from African history, German and Russian studies, Women and Leadership, Current Affairs, and a history of the Reformation. The History Department offers advanced placement courses in U.S. History, European History, and U.S. government and politics.
Middleburg Academy is blessed by its geography, and the school’s short distance from Washington D.C. and the rich battle sites of both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War are frequented by our students. As well as offering great opportunities outside of school, students are able to join many extracurricular organizations supported by the history department such as Model U.N. Aided by Middleburg’s S.T.E.A.M initiative, students in the history department are surrounded by all the necessary hardware and collaborative tools to become a twenty-first century student of history.
Modern and Classical Languages
"Habere alteram linguam est habere alteram animam”
“Tener otro idioma es poseer otra alma”
“To have another language is to possess another soul."
Through a holistic and interdisciplinary approach, the language department’s goal is to engage students to become more world-conscious, tolerant, and knowledgeable, to be active leaders and global citizens in an ever-shrinking world.
Upon completion of language study at Middleburg Academy, our students will not only be competent in the history and culture of their particular language, they will also be able to communicate effectively in that target language, opening their future to diverse opportunities as well as putting them in the position to make effective and lasting change in their worlds.
Computer Science and Engineering
Computer Science and Engineering at Middleburg Academy is a rigorous curriculum designed by Project Lead The Way (PLTW) that completes the overall STEAM initiative launched in 2015. The infusion of these two strands of study into an already strong core curriculum in the Arts and Sciences completes the circle that enables students to develop 21st-century skills. The focus skills in these strands include curiosity, collaboration, communication, and creativity.
In the Engineering course, students explore the fundamentals of engineering design through activities and projects that progress from ideas to complete 3D models. Engineering drawing begins on paper with isometric and oblique perspective sketching, and then progresses into complete orthogonal drawing packages that use an industry standard software package, AutoDesk Inventor. From Inventor, students are then able to produce their designs using the MakerBot 3D printers, facilitating a strong three-dimensional special awareness of form, fit and function.
The ability to take an idea from concept to a working model is critical in the 21st century. This course enables ideas to become reality. Special projects that serve Middleburg Academy are also a critical part of this course: supporting CouchFest, and PumpkinChunking to name a few.
As students progress through the Computer Science survey curriculum, they gain skill in coding and knowledge about how the Internet and the constructs that surround it are producing “best of breed” solutions to today’s computing needs. The first part of the course is spent building foundation-coding skills using Scratch and MIT App Inventor. After achieving proficiency with these languages, the students then progress into Python, developing a working knowledge of object-oriented programming.
Designing and building an App provides a strong sense of creative value along with a critical understanding of knowing the material or medium within which the solution is to be developed. Blue-sky ideas constrained with real limitations are a great combination for creative tension, yielding “best of breed” solutions.