Curriculum

Upper School Classroom

English: 4 Years

Most classes offered at Honors level

Grade 9

Introduction to Literature and Composition
The first part of this course focuses on genre studies (poetry, drama, short fiction) as students learn the jargon of literary analysis. The second part introduces students to the origins of Western literature, including world mythology, Homer’s Odyssey, and Dante’s Inferno.

Grade 10

American Literature and Composition
This course traces the evolution of the American literary tradition from the colonial period to the present, examining major authors and the movements to which they belong. The component units emphasize close critical reading and analysis, as well as the process of writing a research paper using Modern Language Association Style.

Grade 11

English Literature and Composition (Honors or AP)
This course studies selected works of English literature from Beowulf to the twentieth century, introducing students to the canonical works of the English-speaking culture, including the works of Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Milton, as well as the Romantics, the Victorians, and the Modernists. AP sections prepare for the English Literature exam.

Grade 12

AP Language & Composition with World Literature
This course focuses on developing college level writing with a special emphasis on world literature as described below. Skills in argumentation and critical analysis are reinforced in order to best prepare students for the AP Examination.

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Honors World Literature
This course focuses on discovering how various cultures and authors have sought to map the human experience through literature. The reading will investigate canonical authors that have influenced civilization, as well as contemporary voices that explore cultures often under represented.

-or-

Advanced Topics Literature Seminars
These semester-long, seminar-style courses offer students the opportunity to immerse themselves in the work of a major author, literary movement, genre, or time period selected for the semester by the instructor. Through extensive class discussion and frequent writing assignments, students are encouraged to explore the essential issues of the human condition. (See The Meadows School Upper School Course Catalog for specific information about each seminar.) Classes taught as Advanced Topics Seminars include:

  • Moby Dick and the Search for Life's Meaning in Literature
  • Victorian Gothic Fiction
  • Why So Serious? A Study of Humor in Literature and Film
  • Science Fiction and the Classics
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Race and Ethnicity
  • Chicano Studies
  • Myth and Magic
  • Chaos Theory and Creativity in Literature

Electives

Publications I: Journalism

Publications II: Yearbook

Mathematics: 4 Years

Most classes offered at Honors level

Geometry

Students study the development of logic and formal proofs, angles, parallel and perpendicular lines, polygons, congruence and similarity, constructions, circles, area, perimeter, volume problems, and transformations. This course includes a comprehensive review of algebraic concepts and some trigonometry.

Algebra II or Algebra II/Trigonometry

Algebra II includes a review of Algebra I concepts and covers topics such as field properties of complex numbers; relations and functions, including linear and quadratic systems and their applications; polynomial, exponential, and logarithmic functions; matrix methods; sequences and series; and elementary probability. Trigonometry includes the study of trigonometric and circular functions and their inverses, polar representation, and solution of right and oblique triangles.

College Algebra w/Trigonometry

College Algebra with Trigonometry includes the study of trigonometric and circular functions and their inverses, polar representation, and solution of right and oblique triangles.

Precalculus AB

In addition to a thorough review of Algebra II/Trigonometry topics, polar coordinates, vectors, linear programming, parametric equations; translation and rotation of graphs, exponential functions, matrix algebra, probability, and limits are studied.

Precalculus BC

This course is designed for students slated to take Calculus BC (AP) the following year. Advanced Precalculus topics are explored during the first semester, followed by an introduction to the AP curriculum.

Calculus

This class emphasizes theoretical and practical applications of calculus. Topics covered include properties of analytical geometry, transcendental functions, limits, derivatives, anti-derivatives, and definite integrals.

Calculus AB (AP)

Students study the fundamental technique and theory of differential and integral calculus, with a rigorous study of limit theory and continuity, continuing with the theory and application of differentiation and integration of elementary functions. Elementary differential equations are introduced.

Calculus BC (AP)

This college-level course presents a thorough treatment of the differentiation and integration of functions of a single variable as well as an introduction to the differentiation and integration of vector-based functions.

Statistics (Honors or AP)

Students learn the major concepts and tools for collecting, analyzing, and drawing conclusions from data.

Multivariable Calculus

This college-level course is a continuation of the study of functions begun in Calculus AB (AP) and Calculus BC (AP).

Computer Science Electives

Computer Science A (AP)
This is a course that is equivalent to a one-semester, college-level introductory Computer Science course. This course is offered alternate years.

Computer Science Principles (AP)

This rigorous course introduces students to the fundamentals of computer science. Students will explore the seven “big ideas” of computer science which are: creativity, abstraction, data, algorithms, programming, the Internet, and the global impact of computing on society.

Science: 3 Years

Most classes offered at Honors level

Biology

Biology (Honors or Pre-AP)
This course is intended to be an introduction to the basic concepts and principles of modern biology. Among the topics covered are scientific methodology, cytobiology, molecular biology, taxonomic diversity, genetics, evolution, and bioecology. Biology Pre-AP (Honors) includes more detailed content and moves at a faster pace, designed for students with a strong interest in taking Biology (AP) at a later time.

Chemistry

Chemistry (Honors)
This course serves as an introduction to the major topics in chemistry and requires the ability to perceive abstract and mathematical relationships. Studies include atomic structure, the Periodic Table, the nomenclature of compounds, chemical bonding, chemical reactions, chemical equations, molecular structure, behavior of gases, theory of oxidation-reduction, and electrochemistry.

Physics (Honors or AP)

Physics (Honors or AP)
Areas of study include kinematics, dynamics, wave theory, atomic theory, and an introduction to the theories of modern physics. Laboratory investigation illustrates the nature of experimental work in physics and supplies necessary empirical information.

Electives

  • Biology (AP)
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology (Honors)
  • Health Science Applications (Honors)
  • Chemistry (AP)
  • Environmental Chemistry (AT)
  • Physics C (AP)
  • Modern Physics: Concepts and Philosophy (AT)
  • Engineering Design (Honors)

Social Science: 4 Years

Most classes offered at Honors level

Grade 9

World History
This Honors survey course traces the evolution of political, social, religious, technological, and economic institutions from Neolithic Revolution to modern times. The emphasis is on Europe, Asia, African, Latin America, the Middle East, and Western civilizations.

 

Grade 10

U.S. History (Honors or AP)
This course examines the significant events, trends, issues, and problems encountered in the American experience. Politics, economics, and an examination of the development of American culture are key facets of the course.

Grade 11

European History (Honors or AP)
This course focuses on European history since 1450. It introduces students to the cultural, social, and political developments that have significantly shaped the world in which they live.

Grade 12

U.S. Government (Honors or AP)
This course examines the nature of the American political system, its development over the past 200 years, and how it functions today. The principles, processes, and institutions through which the political system operates are examined.

Social Sciences Electives

Electives

  • History of Art (AP)
  • Psychology (AP)
  • World History (AP)
  • Cities and Buildings of the World
  • Constitutional Law
  • Cultural Anthropology
  • History of Piracy
  • Introduction to Economics
  • Introduction to Law
  • Politics of Terrorism
  • Religion and Philosophy
  • Social Injustice
  • Witches in European Art
  • Entrepreneurship: Modeling the Real-World Business Founder
  • Social Media and the Law

World Languages: 3 Years

Most classes offered at Honors level

French

French I
Beginning conversation, oral proficiency of basic concepts, aural comprehension, mastery of basic grammar, introduction to culture.

French II
Expands on French I. Emphasis on written French as well as spoken (i.e. essays, presentations). Increased vocabulary and reading proficiency.

French III
Complex conversation and composition supported with excerpts from Francophone literature and realia.

Cultural and Historical Perspectives through French Films
By watching and studying contemporary French language films, students will be able to appreciate cultural perspective of the region.

French IV (AP Language and Culture)
Intensive review and application of grammar geared toward conversational and written fluency in preparation for the College Board AP Examination. Expository compositions.

Latin

Latin I Honors
Introduction to basic grammar and vocabulary, derivatives, Roman history, culture, and mythology. Emphasis is laid on mastery through the recognition and application of patterns (morphology) and grammatical rules (syntax).

Latin II Honors
Continued acquisition of derivatives and vocabulary begun in Latin I Honors or MS Latin I; further inquiry into Roman history, culture, and mythology; completion of advanced grammar/syntax with the goal of reading longer passages of unadapted prose by the year’s end.

Latin III Honors
Review of the principles of advanced Latin grammar, followed by the reading of authentic Latin literature in the original. Authors vary from year-to-year, but works of both prose and poetry are always included. A typical year would begin with Aulus Gellius, then a transition to Ovid, and finish with Catullus. Introduction to multiple meters (dactylic hexameter, elegiac couplets, and hendecasyllables, typically), as well as rhetorical and poetic devices.

Latin IV Honors
Continuation of the survey of Latin authors explored in Latin III Honors through the reading of authentic Latin literature in the original. Authors vary from year-to-year, but works of both prose and poetry are always included. A typical year would be spent with the historian Livy and the poet Martial. Special emphasis is laid on sight-reading and on the continued exploration of new meters and rhetorical and poetic devices, all while cultivating a more in-depth appreciation for the genre.

AP Latin
Preparation for the College Board AP Examination, covering selections from Caesar’s Gallic Wars and Vergil’s Aeneid. In-depth literary and historical analysis are honed through the cultivation of the skills necessary to navigate the multiple types of assessment encountered on the exam: multiple-choice and short-answer questions; translation both seen and at sight; and expository essay writing.

Latin V Honors
Continuation of the survey of Latin authors explored in Latin IV Honors and/or AP Latin through the reading of authentic Latin literature. Authors vary from year-to-year, but works of both prose and poetry are always included. A typical year would be spent with the orator Cicero and the poet Horace. Special emphasis is laid on sight-reading and on the continued exploration of new meters and rhetorical and poetic devices, all while cultivating a more in-depth appreciation for the genre.

Spanish

Spanish I
Beginning conversation and pronunciation, beginning grammar and culture.

Spanish II
Continue oral-aural approach, reading, grammar, and rapid vocabulary building, conversation; grammar, including introduction to Golden Age Literature.

Spanish III
Increase vocabulary and reading, original writing, begin literature, conversation, advanced grammar mastery; continuation study of Golden Age Literature. Hispanic art is emphasized, investigated.

Spanish III - Pre-AP
Feeder course for the Advanced Placement courses.

Spanish IV - Pre-AP
Students will be exposed to more sophisticated vocabulary and more complex grammatical structures and incorporate the utilization of modern technology.

Spanish (AP Language)
Preparation for College Board AP Examination.

Spanish Film and Composition
Focuses on contemporary and traditional themes. The student will develop organizational skills for effective writing and speaking at the intermediate level.

Spanish V (AP Literature)
Spanish literature in preparation for College Board AP Examination.

Performing Arts

1 Year of Fine or Performing Arts

Music, Band & Strings

Elite Strings Ensemble
Designed for students who have previous experience playing violin, viola, cello, string bass, guitar or piano. The course includes the development of skills necessary to become independent as a musician and continue developing a life-long interest in music performance. Students will be introduced to classical music as well as other popular styles with a variety of performing experiences throughout the school year.

Topics covered:
  • Sight Reading
  • Performance Skills
  • Musical Skills Development
  • Form and Structure in Music Understanding
  • Composing and Arranging
  • Music Technology Knowledge
  • Stage Presence
Symphonic Band
This course is designed for the advanced band student. The band performs a Fall/Winter/Spring concert, at school sporting events, and at graduation. Various groups will be developed from the main class and will include Symphonic Band, Mustang Pep Band, Percussion Ensemble, and Meadows Jazz Band. Students are also required to participate in local school district events.

Topics covered:
  • Music Pieces for Upcoming Concerts
  • A Structured Warm-up for Developing a Fundamental Based Routine:
    • Rehearsal Behavior
    • Characteristic Sound on the Horn
    • Breathing Routine for Focus and Timing
    • Embouchure and Vowel Shapes
    • Articulation and Release
Introduction to Music Fundamentals/Keyboard Lab
This class focuses on basic music literacy and keyboard skills. As much as is possible, instruction will be tailored to individual students’ skill levels. No experience is required. However, a piano (or 88-key digital keyboard equivalent) is required for students to be able to practice at home. Intermediate level students that already have some experience with the keyboard and/or music theory will also be accommodated.

Topics covered:
  • Reading/playing from a Grand Staff
  • Key Signatures
  • Circle of 5ths
  • Playing Intermediate-level Piano Literature

Students that demonstrate a high level of proficiency by the end of the year will be invited to sign-up for Advanced Placement Music Theory during the following year.

Advanced Placement Music Theory
This course expands upon the skills learned in Introduction to Music Fundamentals/Keyboard Lab, or on existing skills developed from previous musical studies. Fluency in basic note-reading as applied to playing an instrument and/or singing is a must. Students will become well versed in the compositional practices of what is generally referred to as the “Common Practice Period”, centered in Europe (roughly) during 1600 to 1900. Ultimately, this course is designed to deepen the serious musician’s understanding of music theory and composition in all genres, and intensify affinity and passion for music making.

Topics covered:
  • Four-part Choral Writing and Arranging
  • Visual Score Analysis, Harmonic, and Formal Analysis
  • Rhythmic, Melodic, and Harmonic Dictation
  • Realization of Figured Bass Lines
  • Rudimentary Keyboard Skills
  • Sight Singing and Ear Training

Acting

Acting I & II (Advanced)
An introduction to techniques and concepts of classical and contemporary theatre. We will introduce historical information about theatrical technology and acting styles. The goal of this course is to make students familiar and comfortable with aspects of the theatrical space and performing within. Advanced students begin thinking as a director and continue with in depth scene and character study.

Topics covered:
  • Voice Dynamics
  • Body Understanding and Movement
  • Mind Connection with Characters
  • Memorization
  • Various Performance Styles
  • Historical Study
  • Monologues and Small Scene Work
  • Shakespeare
Acting Seminar
Acting seminar pushes students to new limits through constant work with monologue and scene work for film as well as the stage. Directing concepts becomes a focus while online/video based “Master Class” lessons are explored.

Topics covered:
  • Audition Reel
  • Headshots and Resume
  • Build Performance Repertoire
  • Various “Theatrical Schools of Thought” in Practice and Theory
  • Historical Study
  • Multiple Performance Opportunities

Theatre

Technical Theatre 1, Advanced, & Seminar
In this course, students become familiar and comfortable using theatrical equipment and the space around them. Hands-on experience is given by running events and creating items used in performance opportunities.

Topics covered:
  • The Stage and Backstage Spaces
  • Design Elements and Research
  • Properties, Costumes, and Set Construction and Fabrication
  • Theatre History: Greek, Roman, Renaissance, Italian Commedia del’ Arte, and more
  • Collaboration and Creativity
Theatre Production: Acting or Technical Theatre
Students will get to immerse themselves in the production of a play in this course. Students will learn how to be an actor or technician while creating the mainstage shows of the year. They will also gain knowledge and understanding for all elements involved.

Topics covered:
  • Stage Presence, Public Speaking, and Audition Techniques
  • Script and Character Analysis
  • Ensemble Work and Collaboration
  • Improvisation
  • Problem Solving Skills
  • Individual Creativity and Expression
  • Basic Technical Knowledge
  • Design Elements
Musical Theatre Character & Movement
A class for the actor, dancer, and singer. Students will learn how to incorporate vocals and character development into the dance movements of their part. They will also gain an understanding of how different types of choreography exist to fit a show.

Topics covered:
  • Motivating Movement
  • Styles of Dance
  • Performance Aspects of Dance and Musical Theatre
  • Building a Musical Theatre Repertoire
  • Audition Techniques
Theatre Workshop
A hands-on course in specialty skills for performers and technicians. Students will learn aspects of theatre that can set them apart from the norm.

Topics covered:
Special effects make-up
  • Puppetry
  • Prosthetics and Wigs
  • Mask Fabrication
  • Close-up Magic
  • Juggling and Kinetic Juggling

Fine Arts

1 Year of Fine or Performing Arts

Visual Arts

Studio Art I
This course introduces students to the fundamental concepts, tools, techniques, and principles of making art. Students should expect to create in a variety of two- and three-dimensional media while acquiring an appreciation for art theory.

Topics covered:
  • Basic Art Vocabulary
  • The Creative Process
  • Safely Working With Tools and Materials
  • The Use of a Variety of Art Media
  • An Appreciation and Pride in Fine Craftsmanship
  • Applying the Elements and Principles of Design
Studio Art II
Building on the basic skills and techniques students learned in Studio Art I, students should expect to continue creating in a variety of two- and three-dimensional media. A stronger foundation in drawing skills is emphasized. Art pieces become more challenging technically and conceptually. The goal of this class is for students to develop both their technical skills and personal vision for their creative work.

Topics covered:
  • Mastering Basic Art Vocabulary
  • Continuing The Creative Process
  • Visually Expressing Emotions and Insights in Response to Individual Experiences
  • Possible Art Careers
  • Multimedia Technology as it Relates to Art
Studio Art III/Pre-AP Studio Art
This course is for students who are interested in portfolio development, either for themselves or to submit as an Advanced Placement Studio Art Portfolio. In this case, students may choose from a list of potential assignments and select their preferred media. Students should demonstrate a serious commitment to their artwork. Class is taught at a faster pace and requires more project preparation at home than previous classes.

Topics covered:
  • Developing a Personal Artist Style
  • Artist Statements to Accompany a Portfolio
  • Finding a Focus for the AP Concentration
  • Showing a Breadth of Techniques and Skills
Studio Art Advanced Placement
This art course allows students to complete their portfolios to be submitted to The College Board. In either the Pre-AP or AP Studio course, students will develop a series of 15 works that satisfy the requirements of the portfolio to submit for rating.

Topics covered:
  • Developing and defining an Artist Style
  • Clear Artist Statements to Accompany a Portfolio
  • Making a Cohesive Portfolio
  • Showing a Breadth of Techniques and Skills

Photography

Photography I
Beginning Photography is designed to teach students the use of photographic equipment and materials, as well as basic knowledge of photographic composition.
 
Topics covered:
  • Basics of Camera Operations
  • Digital and 35mm Black and White Photography
  • Individual Creativity
  • Visual Problem Solving
  • Craftsmanship of Photoshop Basics
  • Artistic Appreciation
  • Beginning a Portfolio
Photography II
This course explores intermediate digital photography and artistic composition. Students will learn a variety of beginning and intermediate photo-editing techniques using the latest version of Adobe Photoshop.

Topics covered:
  • Composition and Exposure
  • Lighting Variables
  • Basics of Graphic Design
  • Digital Manipulation
  • Photo Journalism
  • Portraiture
  • Portfolio Collection
Photography Pre AP/III
In this course students will learn advanced camera and photo editing skills while digitally taking photos and manipulating them with Adobe Photoshop software. A hands on experience in recording memories of The Meadows School will also be a large portion of the class.

Topics covered:
  • Advanced Digital Manipulation
  • Scanning and Design
  • Studio Lighting
  • Portraits
  • Presentation Portfolios
  • Critiquing Photographs
  • School Spirit and Yearbook
  • Portfolio Development
Photography AP
The class will be spent developing and expressing the artistic qualities, area of concentration, and breadths of the photographer's work.

Topics covered:
  • In-depth Exploration of a Particular Design 
  • Coherent Development of an Idea
  • Artistic Success and Statement
  • Showing a Range of Experimentation and Experience in 2-D Design
  • Finished Portfolio

Film Studies

Filmmaking
The basics of video production skills will be incorporated into one or more video projects during this semester-long course. Editing software includes iMovie, Final Cut Pro, and Adobe Premiere Pro.

Topics covered:
  • Camera Operations
  • Directing
  • Screenwriting
  • Audio Recording
  • Editing
  • Critical Discussions
Film Studies
Stories are powerful, and with the explosion of media in our times, storytelling in film is more relevant than ever. In this course, a range of topics will rotate during each semester with class members viewing films and discussing the impact it has made.

Topics covered:
  • Documentaries
  • Horror
  • Foreign
  • Syfy/Fantasy
  • AFI top 100
  • Academy Award Winners

Forensics

Elective

Forensics I

Introduction to Speech and Debate

Forensics II-IV

  • Advanced Policy
  • Lincoln-Douglas
  • Individual Events

Health & Physical Education

2 Years or 4 Seasons of Sports

Interscholastic Athletics

One sport season is equivalent to 0.5 credit toward the graduation requirement. A maximum of 1.0 credit may be accumulated each year. Sport-season credits may be combined with PE credits to satisfy the two-year PE requirement.

PE credits do not count toward the minimum 23 credits required for graduation although a combination of PE/Interscholastic Athletics credits equivalent to 2 credits is required to graduate.

Fitness Center

Students acquire knowledge about fitness that may be used throughout their lifetime.

PE credits do not count toward the minimum 23 credits required for graduation although a combination of PE/Interscholastic Athletics credits equivalent to 2 credits is required to graduate.

Sports Medicine

This course teaches students the basic anatomy of the most commonly injured body parts. The class will review anatomy of such body parts and include taping and wrapping techniques along with beginning rehabilitation routines. Upon completion of this class students will have earned First Aid, CPR, and AED certifications from the American Red Cross.

PE credits do not count toward the minimum 23 credits required for graduation although a combination of PE/Interscholastic Athletics credits equivalent to 2 credits is required to graduate.

Strength Training

This course is designed to teach students about the safety, techniques, health benefits, types, and importance of physical conditioning through various programs that include weight gain, weight loss, and cardiovascular training.

PE credits do not count toward the minimum 23 credits required for graduation although a combination of PE/Interscholastic Athletics credits equivalent to 2 credits is required to graduate.

Health

The Nevada Department of Education requires one semester of Health for graduation. Students who attended Middle School at The Meadows meet the requirement. Students new to The Meadows must complete a one semester program for graduation.

PE credits do not count toward the minimum 23 credits required for graduation although a combination of PE/Interscholastic Athletics credits equivalent to 2 credits is required to graduate.