Uniquely Athenian

Focus Days

Test handmade popsicle stick bridges to understand physics. Perform your own archeological dig in the hills behind the baseball field to discover which society's goods you've encountered. Go on a field trip to the Asian Art Museum to see in person artifacts you have been studying. These are just some of the things you will do during Focus Days

To allow for richer and deeper hands-on experiences that take longer than a class period, the Middle School breaks from its daily schedule every Friday for daylong activities that bring together elements from all your classes. Middle School faculty have the unique opportunity to collaborate outside their class and department to create meaningful, interconnected experiences for students. Focus Days are one of the hallmarks of Athenian's Middle School experience.

Classic Athenian Focus Days

Panathanaea: Perform a dramatic presentation in handcrafted dress, cook Greek food, participate in an olive harvest, and compete in Olympic Style games in groups representing Greek city-states in this culminating day integrating art, social studies, English, and science.  

Softballs in the gym:
Exploring how to answer the question, "How many softballs can fit inside Athenian's gym?" students spend the day devising creative ways to measure the odd shape of our gymnasium. 

Island Day: Travel between Pacific Islands (across Athenian's campus) with handmade goods for trade to experience the trade system firsthand.

Scratch Programming: Develop your own interactive animation program using Scratch, a powerful drag-and-drop programming language.

Field Trips: Search for geological evidence at Sibley Volcano, practice navigation skills while hiking in Las Trampas, volunteer at the Alameda County Food Bank, visit the Asian Art Museum, explore the chaparral of Black Diamond Mine, and visit the Immigration Station on Angel Island.

Class Trips

Faculty-led adventures each spring offer 3-8 day experiences with your classmates. As a sixth grader, you will spend three days bonding as a class in Pinnacles National Monument. Camping, rock climbing, basic orienteering, camp cooking and cleaning, group skits and games provide a great vehicle for you to gain some independence and class cohesion. As 7th graders, you can choose from regional trips that emphasize service and outdoor adventure. As 8th graders, you will see your U.S. history and English curriculum come to life with a trip to Washington, D.C. Experience the life and times of the founding of our country through a thorough exploration of the nation's capitol.

Engineering & Design

Creating and making are necessary skills for all students. You will have the opportunity to work in Athenian's Maker Studio during elective and Focus Days, join Athenian's robotics collective, and build an airplane!

List of 3 items.

  • Introduction to Airplane Building Elective

    Students build aluminum tool boxes using all the techniques they will need to participate in the airplane project.  Students who complete the elective are then encouraged to transition into the building the airplane.
  • FIRST Lego League

    Two FIRST Lego teams compete in the Middle School to build robots using lego kits.
  • "Spirit of Athenian" Airplane Project

    Around 55 students a year participate in the airplane project, assembling a fully functional, FAA approved two-seat plane by hand. From riveting the wings to installing the engine, Athenian students have successfully completed two Piper Cub planes. The Spirit of Athenian III is expected to be completed in the next couple of years.
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