This course guides students through the study of living and non-living systems and how they interact with one another. Students explore the world they live in by posing questions and seeking answers through scientific inquiry. Discovery takes place through observation and data collection. Broad topics include the structure, function, diversity, and evolution of organisms on Earth. Learning outcomes for the course concern the ways in which microscopic and macroscopic features of life determine its functions, the dynamic processes occurring within and between organisms and their environments, and the methods that scientists use to generate hypotheses, design experiments, and refine their understanding of the natural world. Key concepts are intentionally related to key concepts in other fields such as math, literary arts, and social studies.
This course adopts perspectives from physical and human geography, history, and anthropology to examine relationships between humans and their environments. Students explore the evolution and interaction of communities around the globe and the shared challenges these communities face, from climate change, to loss of biodiversity, to social inequality. After an overview of methods and perspectives (these include cartography, the study of geographic terrain, and more widely-applicable analytical approaches) each unit is structured around a core skill and its application in a particular world region. As the course proceeds, students draw connections and comparisons, strengthening their ability to research, synthesize, and critically assess different perspectives and contextualize current events within and across regions. By the end of the year, students have honed their perspective-taking, research, pattern analysis, and systems thinking skills and expanded their understanding of spaces and communities around the world.
Literary Arts Fundamentals
This is a literature‐based language arts development course. Students learn fundamental skills in reading, writing, and thinking, based on the reading and analysis of high quality works of fiction and nonfiction by the greatest authors of the past and present. Each of the three units centers on the development of cross-genre skills, like interpretation, making persuasive appeals, and creative writing. In the first semester, students engage with and create works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Assignments emphasize core areas for developing language arts skills including reading for information and appreciation, writing in multiple genres, revising and editing one’s work, building vocabulary, and creating rich and varied sentences. Synchronous class activities provide students opportunities to practice these skills in a collaborative environment, designed to create cross-discipline connections and opportunities to apply their learning outside the classroom.
This course introduces students to foundational elements of geometry: points, lines, triangles, quadrilaterals, and circles. Students learn to apply basic transformations to these shapes, to evaluate them for similarity and congruence, and to perform fundamental operations such as finding the distance between two points, the slope and midpoint of a line, and the volume of a figure. To provide early exposure and comfort with more contemporary topics, students learn basic logic and computer programming, beginning with flow charts and geometric proofs that employ them. They also complete a unit in statistics and probability, including work in basic combinatorics. Throughout the course, numerous activities and core assignments emphasize the application of these concepts to real-world scenarios and problems.
Social and Emotional Learning
Social and emotional learning (SEL) is now recognized as an invaluable component of student development. Throughout this course, students will reflect on their own SEL skills and abilities, and their interactions with those around them. Students will spend the first half of the course looking at themselves: executive functioning, self-awareness, and self-management. Through reading, watching, and reflecting on the science of learning and their own habits and emotions, students will develop productive introspection. The second half of the course will encourage students to look outward in their interpersonal relationships and the ways in which they are actively engaged with the world around them. Understanding how effective interactions are formed, maintained, and will be the focus of the final three learning outcomes: social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making.