The Phoenix Math program covers four major units. Each class caters to the individual needs of the students and moves at a pace that accommodates each student’s abilities. There are opportunities for the students to develop their skills through guided, math-related projects. The curriculum is presented through engaging group work, worksheets, teacher instruction and math games to develop enthusiasm and appreciation for the role of mathematics in our lives.
7th/8th Grade Math
The Middle School math curricula are organized around major focal points at each grade level (7th and 8th) as suggested by the National Council for Teachers for Mathematic. Instruction focuses on the “big ideas” in each content area: number sense, algebra, geometry and measurement, and probability and data analysis. Students demonstrate mastery of the content through both written and verbal inquiry, assessments and projects. Students are given opportunities for differentiated lessons and projects with one-on-one teacher support while working with their peer group in developing executive functioning and social skills.
9th - 12th Grade Math
Algebra is the study of how to solve problems that can be described with numbers. Students investigate mathematical concepts, learn critical thinking skills, and problem-solve with variables and graphs. They reinforce and build upon pre-algebraic concepts and apply them to polynomials through graphing, factoring, simplifying and using the quadratic formula.
These courses split the high school Algebra 1 curriculum into a two-year sequence for students who need extra time digesting mathematical concepts. It involves the review of algebraic symbols, ratios and proportions, and adds more steps to the solving of equations. It also includes graphing linear and quadratic equations and introduces graphing on a calculator.
Building on skills and concepts learned in Algebra 1, students delve more deeply into solving equations and inequalities, expressing mathematical relations through graphs and other visuals. They also look at some of the geometry and learn to express those concepts in algebraic form. Students also practice reading the math book to learn how to “translate” math words into something that makes sense to them.
This class develops geometric skills and concepts and the ability to construct formal logical arguments and proofs in a geometric setting. Although the curriculum is weighted heavily in favor of plane Euclidean geometry, there is room for placing special emphasis on coordinated geometry and its transformations.
This course is broken into three sections. The first section explores functions and their behaviors. Functions are specific types of relationships between two variables. The second section helps students develop a deeper knowledge of trigonometry. The third section is a blending of concepts: matrices and determinants, series and sequences, and probability.
This course teaches probability and statistics, integrating math and other real world skills. The course covers traditional methods of gathering, organizing, summarizing, analyzing and finally interpreting the data. In order to do this, students must first learn what makes up the statistics and the charts that are used. They then apply these methods to real-world problems and not just problems in a textbook.
Some say there are essentially only two ideas in the calculus – the derivative and integral. But students need some introductory ideas before they can get to the essentials. This course divides the calculus into three distinct parts after a quick review of algebra, functions and trig. First come limits and continuity. Limits tell what happens to a function f(x) as the variable x approaches some specific value, including plus or minus ∞. Then students use the concepts of limit and continuity to discover derivatives. Derivatives tell the rate of change of functions. Finally they study integrals, also called anti-derivatives.
This course delves more deeply into differentiation and integration, including parametric, polar and vector equations. It covers sequences and series, differential equations, partial derivatives and multiple integration.
In this class students learn about the processes and structures related to our beautiful Earth. They explore the atmosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere and they do so as scientists. They work both individually and in teams to complete laboratory experiments, analyze and interpret data, tackle research projects, present findings through written and oral presentations and relate what they learn to daily life.
7th/8th Grade Science
Our science curriculum emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to assist students in recognizing the commonality between physical and life sciences. We utilize a strength-based focus to enhance student’s individualized talents, conduct labs, and build meaningful projects which allow students to see the inter-connectedness of the world around them. Our science program stresses that the successful student will value depth and complexity over speed and coverage and develop their ability to become capable of researching and presenting as a scientific scholar in the discipline of his/ her choice and or find ways to use their unique talents to demonstrate their understanding of the science curriculum.
7th Grade Media Tech
This class provides an overview of many different types of technologies and software, emphasizing the use of computers for productivity and creativity. Students work with several different multimedia-based software packages including PowerPoint and Photoshop Elements. They also learn the basics of web design using HTML and CSS. Finally, students get a gentle introduction to computer programming using Khan Academy’s computer science curriculum.
8th Grade Media Tech
This course nurtures students’ passion for media and technology. They learn how to use software programs to produce complex texts, illustrations, photographs, sound, videos, and animations. Students use class time to create an e-portfolio, which showcases their creativity and assignments from their academic classes. Course content includes keyboarding skills, journal writing, computer systems, animation, sound production, video production, graphic design, basic programming and web development.
Introduction to Computer Programming (HS Elective)
This course gives students an introduction to computer programming using the Python programming language and provides an excellent base for more advanced studies in computer science. By the end of the course students are able to use their programming skills to create applications that solve real-world problems.
Advanced Computer Programming (HS Elective)
This advanced course in computer programming is a direct continuation of the introductory level course. Students will be immersed in Object Oriented Programming (OOP) concepts, principles, and design techniques. Students will show their understanding of the concepts by creating simple games. These games will be text-based at first, but later in the year, students will be introduced to the PyGame Module, a Python-based game creation framework. By the end of the course, students will be able to create games with graphics and animations.
9th - 12th Grade Science
Media Tech Biology and Honors Biology
Biology is the science of living organisms from single-celled bacteria to plants, animals and fungi. This course gives students a general overview of the major domains of life, cellular organization and function, photosynthetic producers (vascular and flowering plants), heterotrophic consumers (zoology), and human anatomy. Students learn how scientists ask questions about living things and how they construct an answer. They investigate methods and instruments biologists use and apply the concepts acquired to formulate their own hypotheses and test them. Students design experiments, take measurements, interpret and analyze data, generate graphs, and come to a conclusion based on collected evidence. Laboratory reports follow the format of scientific articles and students present their results visually as well as orally.
Honors Biology extends the depth and breadth and quickens the pace of topics covered. More sophisticated concepts and methodological and logical thinking skills are developed. Lab reports, projects and homework assignments are more challenging and rigorous.
Chemistry and Honors Chemistry
In Chemistry, students study matter and how elements and compounds behave, their individual properties and how they react. Students engage in discussions, readings, direct observation, laboratory experiments, and investigation of chemical processes in the media and our everyday lives. They become familiar with the interplay of physical and chemical reactions that are evident around us. They learn important concepts in chemistry, including the scientific method, data collection, nomenclature and notation, atomic components, orbitals, chemical structures and bonding, mole concept, stoichiometry, chemical reactions, kinetic theory, thermodynamics and thermochemistry, acids and bases, reaction rates, chemical equilibrium, electrochemistry, and nuclear processes. Labs reinforce concepts and skills needed in the field of chemistry.
Honors Chemistry extends the depth and breadth and quickens the pace of topics covered. More sophisticated mathematical, methodological, and logical thinking skills are developed. Lab reports, mathematical calculations, projects and homework assignments are more challenging and rigorous.
7th Grade Media Tech Conceptual Physics
This foundational course engages students in investigating key concepts of physics. Through exploratory learning and problem-solving, lectures, discussions, investigations, readings, laboratory experiments, following physics-related events in the media, and their own observations of the world around them, students hone their understanding of the underlying laws and principles that govern the workings of our immediate environment and the known universe. Topics include kinematics, Newton’s laws, energy, momentum, rotational motion, wave properties, light and optics, electromagnetism, and modern physics.
Honors Physics is an advanced course in which engages students investigate key concepts of physics.
Anatomy and Physiology
This course examines the structure and function of the human body. Some major topics homeostatic mechanisms, the role of chemistry and how important it is to function, levels of organization, and structures of the body such as the nervous, circulatory, and respiratory systems. Other topics are cytology, histology, diseases and dysfunction. Frequent labs facilitate understanding of major topics with an emphasis on learning vocabulary. Students research recent articles correlating with the topics.
The Genetics course explores major developments in the history of genetics from Mendel to the Human Genome Project. Students learn the basic principles of genetics, such as heredity and variation in living organisms, while lab exercises illustrate the principles of genetics, with emphasis on Mendelian inheritance in multicellular eukaryotes. Students will become inquisitive, critical, knowledgeable and open-minded throughout their science journey while learning the theory and techniques required in a biological laboratory. Students will also understand and evaluate current events in research and biotechnology. Students will have opportunities to state and defend a personal position regarding ethical issues in biotechnology and research.
Robotics (After School Program)
The Robotics Program at Bridges participates in the yearly FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) for grades 9-12. Students have a rigorous, real-world engineering experience under the guidance of professional mentors who volunteer their time and specific skills. During the brief build season in January and February, students design, build and program their own robot to perform the given tasks of that particular year’s competition challenge. Other students create safety and marketing videos and a team business plan. As each year’s challenge is different, students stretch their creative and technical abilities in the design process. They learn how to build a collaborative community, develop an original team brand, recruit other schools to FIRST Robotics, and participate in, and possibly win, what is considered one of the most intellectually challenging and fun high school competitions in the world.
History Department (HS)
Phoenix Humanities explores the people, ideas, and events that have shaped the world into what it is today. The students’ journey through history uses art, science, philosophy, literature, and technology as tools for learning about the past. They also learn how to become full participants in history by developing their reading, writing, and research skills. By learning about ancient cultures, they formulate questions that will help them learn about their own culture and, ultimately, themselves.
7th Grade Humanities (History and English)
The Humanities class incorporates both social studies and English/language arts to allow both disciplines to build upon and reinforce the other. Mastery of English language usage is an essential part of social studies, just as learning about historical, artistic, and philosophical concepts requires the development of skills like reading, composition and research techniques.
The content and pedagogy help students understand the connections between geography, technology, art, social structures, education, economics, government, and belief systems in the development of particular cultures. Conceptually, students explore the causes of human conflict and the relationship between cultural development and historical trends or patterns.
Each of the four major units employs a variety of teaching strategies and resources to engage young minds and ensure that every student is able to access the information presented.
8th Grade Humanities
This class covers the breadth and depth of the human experience in American history and literature from Native American origin myths to speculative ideas of the future. The goal is to develop a deeper understanding of what it means to be an American and a human which nurturing self-expression.
Students listen to voices often not heard in history, such as women’s, and people of American, African and European origin. Huckleberry Finn and other American classic short stories, poems, and essays help reveal the soul of the culture. Students complete research projects, including an investigation of the Constitution and an in-depth biographical study. The curriculum emphasizes the development of each individual student’s voice through multiple means of expression.
Ancient World History follows the course of human development from prehistory to around 1200 C.E. The course exposes students to a variety of cultures across space and time while emphasizing the differing success of various types of social organization and the impact of technological developments and availability of natural resources. Students explore the process of historical reporting as well as the environmental, social, political, religious, intellectual, and cultural factors that have shaped the world in which we live.
In this course, students analyze major social and political movements in the United States during the 20th century. The course starts with the First World War, studying the various attempts made to “normalize” society in the wake of destruction. It concludes with analysis of post-Cold War diplomacy in the decade leading up to the events of September 11, 2001. Students analyze critical events and turning points throughout this century through a variety of both primary and secondary sources. Students learn to think and act like real historians, constantly making connections to current events. They recreate, reenact, and reevaluate the historical events that have molded America into the country that it is today.
America History Honors
This section builds on the regular-level course, adding additional textual materials, and spending more time on the analysis of primary sources. Honors students also spend more time working in teams to produce collective products. They will, as a result, be better prepared for a university setting by honing their historical analysis skills while working efficiently with others.
America History Modern America in a Global World
In this course, students analyze major social and political movements in the United States during the 20th century. The course starts with the First World War, studying the various attempts made to “normalize” society in the wake of destruction. It concludes with analysis of post-Cold War diplomacy in the decade leading up to the events of September 11, 2001. The course covers a range of intriguing topics that appeal to all types of historians. We analyze critical events and turning points throughout this century by utilizing a variety of both primary and secondary sources. Students learn to think and act like real historians, constantly making connections to current events. They recreate, reenact, and reevaluate the historical events that have molded America into the country that it is today.
America History Modern America in a Global World Honors
This section builds on the regular-level course, adding additional textual materials, and spending more time on the analysis of primary sources.
Honors students also spend more time working in teams to produce collective products. They will, as a result, be better prepared for a university setting by honing their historical analysis skills while working efficiently with others.
Economics and Government (11/12)
This course will examine how economics and government interact and relate to each other in American society. The first semester will focus on topics relating to personal economic issues and participation in the larger economic community. The second semester will focus on topics related to both the structure and function of local, state and national government. The goal of the class is to prepare students to become independent, intelligent and active participants in both the American economy and political system.
Each semester covers three different units: cultural literacy, a reader’s workshop and a writer’s workshop. The Cultural Literacy Workshop enhances students’ understanding of personages and references they will need to know to access the dominant culture. Writing skills are supported and enhanced in a Writer’s Workshop in which students creatively explore the writing processes and explicitly practice the steps needed to produce excellent written communications. In the Reader’s Workshop, students analyze, appreciate, and are enlightened by literature written by contemporary masters of the form. Students read To Kill a Mockingbird over the summer. First term culminates by reading True Grit by famed stylist Charles Porter and, in second semester, students read Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle as well as classic short stories.
Students begin the semester in a Cultural Literacy Workshop focusing on the big idea of ambition. In this unit, they study the iconic, transitional era of the 1920s and the impact that ambition had on American culture, reading The Great Gatsby as an exemplar of this period. The second unit is the Reader’s Workshop in which students learn and strengthen effective reading skills and strategies. They read The Catcher in the Rye and explore the big idea of identity, and analyze the mechanisms by which Salinger communicates the major themes of the novel. Finally, the Writer’s Workshop teaches and reinforces effective writing skills. Students learn strategies, tools and processes to communicate written thoughts clearly and powerfully while reading short stories, essays and plays that that tackle the big idea of justice.
In the Cultural Literacy Workshops, students use a selection of stories and exercises that focus on physical, mental, and personal aspects of point of view. They are introduced to the concept of structure in literature as well as archetypical figures in writing introduced by Carl Jung in his work on dream analysis in psychoanalytic theory. The Reader’s Workshops focus first on perception (point of view) and how literary characters perceive the world around them, reading The Namesake. Then they explore appearance and reality, and how literary characters perceive their identifies. Students hone their academic readings skills, including active reading, note-taking and critical analysis reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Finally, the Writer’s Workshops focus on the idea of knowledge (point of view) using The Reluctant Fundamentalist and then family, reading The Quiet American. Writing for these workshops includes expository and critical analysis, with an aim to improve students’ written response to literature.
The Cultural Literacy workshops explore the idea of success as it applies to several key figures, using Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers. In the Reader’s Workshops, students compare My Antonia to several of William Faulkner’s short stories in order to glean crucial insights about literary style. The skills and observations cultivated during that workshop are put to work during the Writer’s Workshops, when students compose an extensive literary analysis of Faulkner and Hemingway.
Dramatic Writing (HS Elective)
In this course, students will learn the physical form and limitations of plays, the difference between plays and screenplays, the function of the individual elements of the dramatic writing formats, the broad concepts of theme, subtext, character development and plot, and how to ultimately apply those concepts in character studies, scene studies, monologues, and eventually in a one-act length written piece. Students will also get the opportunity to provide and receive constructive criticism from their peers and instructor. They will learn the value of positive critique and master the skills and language of constructive feedback.
This introductory course in debate is designed provide students with a set of systematic strategies to increase their abilities to react critically and to form arguments. Arguers seek to gain the acceptance of others for their point of view. Students learn the art of of asking the “right” questions, including right questions about their own thoughts. They also learn to muster reasons, obtain useful data, pinpoint the real issue and notice when an arguer evades it, and offer critical opinions based on those evaluations.
This is an introductory course for students with little or no background in the Spanish language. The goal is to help students to develop the ability to communicate in Spanish and understand basic Spanish as well as fostering an understanding and appreciation of the diversity of the Spanish-speaking cultures of the world. A strong emphasis is placed on using the language in a practical situation, while also helping students to grasp the basic of the Spanish grammar, syntax, and morphology.
This is an intermediate course for student with approximately 1 year of background in the Spanish language. Like Spanish 1, this course emphasizes the development of all four levels of language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students continue to develop the ability to communicate in Spanish in practical situations, while at the same time introducing them to Hispanic culture. A strong emphasis is placed on developing and improving basic Spanish grammar and syntax.
In this intermediate to advanced course, students strengthen their ability to communicate in Spanish, while at the same time continuing to experience the richness of the Hispanic culture. Subjunctive and indicative mode are used interchangeably as well as present, past and future tenses.
This advanced course is a literature survey and taught exclusively in Spanish. Students are expected to read fiction, poetry, and non-fiction works by noted Spanish and Latin American authors.
Japanese 1 is a course for students encountering Japanese for the first time. Students learn to communicate in basic Japanese, using fundamental grammar and vocabulary. As they become familiar with the Japanese alphabet (Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji), students read and write simple stories and informative passages. The course also explores Japanese history, culture, and subculture.
Japanese 2 provides students with a stronger foundation of the Japanese language through speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Students continue to develop their ability to write Hiragana, Katakana, and basic Kanji, learning to better understand and express themselves in the language. At the end of the course, students are expected to be able to communicate simple conversations with native Japanese speakers. The course also exposes students to more information about Japanese culture and customs.
Japanese 3 is an intermediate language course for those who completed Japanese 1 and 2 classes. Students continue to enhance their speaking, listening, writing, and reading skills with a focus on communication and listening comprehension. Students build their Japanese vocabulary and increase their knowledge of Japanese grammar systems.
Japanese 4 is an advanced language course for those who have taken Japanese 1-3. The ultimate goal of the class is to cultivate students’ fluency in Japanese. Students are expected to engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings, and exchange opinions in the context of class activities.
Japanese Language and Culture
The Japanese Language and Culture course introduces students to aspects of historical and modern Japanese life, exploring cultural elements like belief, moral values, social structures, and language.
German (HS Elective)
This course is for beginners of German as a foreign language. Students acquire a basic level of communication by linking the skills of listening, reading, speaking and writing, as well as by exposure to the underlying grammatical structure of German. The course includes insights into historical milestones, cultural achievements, political and economic realities and the lifestyles of current Germany and other countries where German is spoken. In addition, students will learn how German-speaking immigrants became an integral part of the fabric and formation of the United States. The documentary series “Germans in America” illustrates the subject. Additional films or short films will be shown.
This course coordinates a variety of art activities and integrates the study of art history and art, which coincides with the humanities curriculum, aesthetics and art production. Students explore original ideas through a variety of media, and develop a portfolio of class projects to be included on their website.
7th Grade Art
This course integrates the study of art and art history, interweaving the humanities curriculum with art production. Students participate in classroom discussions and activities that use skills associated with artistic thinking which include the ability to see clearly, analyze, reflect, make judgments, and generate new ideas from diverse sources.
8th Grade Art
This class introduces students to a variety of art media and techniques from basic drawing, painting and three-dimensional art projects, to printmaking, photography, and digital art. Each unit corresponds with the 8th Grade Humanities curriculum, allowing students to delve deeply into artistic practices connected to the historical and cultural fabric of the United States. Students learn about and discuss relevant topics and art examples from art history, developing a more informed and critical approach to the arts, history, and visual communication.
Introduction to Design Principles (HS Elective)
This course exposes students to a variety of design practices and the necessary skills associated with them. It covers architectural design, graphic design, industrial design, furniture design and fashion design. The related skills that students develop as part of each design discipline range from Adobe Photoshop to hand drawing to Google SketchUp and model building. As part of each unit, or design discipline, students explore some of the history behind the field, as well as what kinds of works are currently being produced in it. The ultimate goal of the class is for each student to develop a very diverse portfolio of work, as well as range of skills, in the broad field of design.
Studio Art (HS Elective)
This class introduces students to a variety of art media and techniques, from basic drawing, painting and three-dimensional art projects, to other media such as printmaking, photography, digital art, and installation art. Within each unit, students have the opportunity to learn and discuss relevant topics and art examples from art history, helping each student to take a more informed and critical approach to the arts and visual communication.
Photography (HS Elective)
This course introduces students to a range of photographic techniques and concepts, from traditional darkroom processing and printing to digital photography. It covers an extensive history of photography, and students become familiar with many important photographers and techniques from the past. Class projects follow the historical development of photography, from the earliest experiments with contact-printing on light-sensitive materials to using Photoshop to manipulate digital images. Students are expected to provide their own cameras, including but not limited to a simple digital camera.
Phoenix Drama helps students develop skills including physical and focus preparation, performance exercises and the ability to shift focus. Through classic improv games by masters like Viola Spolin, and by performing a culminating short dramatic interpretation, students enhance awareness of themselves and others, and participate meaningfully as part of a group.
7th and 8th Grade Performing Arts
Students awaken their awareness and explore how they can creatively communicate through performance art. They study performance theorists and technicians including Laban, Stanislavski, and Meisner through individualized acting assignments. A series of sensory awareness exercises inform the sequence of pantomime exercises designed to focus the actors’ attention on their physical communication skills followed by a series of monologue recitations. The students ultimately work together to craft, create, and perform in a culminating performance: a scene, or series of scenes in 7th grade and a one-act play in 8th grade.
Acting for the Stage and Play Production
Students enhance their awareness and refine their control of creative communication for the stage. They study performance theorists and technicians and use sensory awareness exercises to focus the actor’s attention on their physical communication skills, followed by a series of monologue recitations. Students apply their understanding and skills through two full-length productions, one each semester. Cultural and historical studies are incorporated into the curriculum dependent on the setting of the play and the origins of the playwright.
Technical Theatre Design Theory and Application (HS Elective)
Students construct the sets, and design the lights and audio for the school theatrical productions. Students work as stagehands, stage manager and light and soundboard operators. Students investigate architectural history and patterns related to the productions staged each semester, and apply their understanding of the influential and iconic designs to the creation of functional products for the stage. Students discover their own means of creative problem solving, collaboration and perseverance through unexpected situations.
This class makes all kinds of sports fun and accessible for all students. Students are introduced to a range of sports and games, and practice the skills and teamwork, which allow them to succeed in these and other cooperative activities. Students are assessed on their positive participation in activities, commitment to always trying their best, and cooperating respectfully with teachers and peers.
7th and 8th Physical Education
Physical education is an integral part of the total education of every student. Through physical activities such as calisthenics, hiking and jogging, stretching, and playing a variety of sports, students develop health-related benefits such as fitness, physical competence, and a cognitive understanding of body movement. Ultimately, students learn that they are absolutely capable of adopting healthy and physically active lifestyles.
Physical education classes teach students to derive health-related benefits such as fitness, physical competence, and cognitive understanding of body movement. Other benefits of physical activity in school include improved mental processes of perception, improved self-confidence and self-esteem, stress reduction, teamwork and stronger peer relationships, and improved judgment and reasoning, as they pertain to the development of physical skills. These benefits can help students in all facets of their lives. Each class has three main components: fitness, skill development, and games/activities. Good sportsmanship is a vital aspect of physical education, and is emphasized throughout the year. The fundamental goal is to create a positive environment for students to learn more about the health benefits of physical fitness, and how to make it part of their lives.
Phoenix Enrichment Clusters
Enrichment clusters are full-day classes schedule every Friday (unless there is an Intersession project) in which students explore new or familiar areas of interest, passion or talent. Fall 2014 enrichment clusters are the Phoenix Newspaper, Game Theory, Cooking and Music.
Middle School Enrichment Clusters
Middle school enrichment clusters are once-a-week classes in which students can explore a new or familiar area of interest, passion or talent. Fall 2015 enrichment clusters are Board Games, Photography, Wellness/ Mindfulness, Japanese Culture, Organic Gardening, Science Fiction and Claymation.
After School Music Programs
Additional Course Offerings (as schedule allows)
This class focuses on group drumming, world rhythms, and basic musicianship, emphasizing listening skills, basic beat patterns, improvisation and fun. The focal point is on African and Latin American hand drums, with some limited exposure to the drum set. Students have the opportunity to participate in group field trips to the REMO Drum Circle. Think STOMP meets The Blue Man Group meets Bridges!
This class is a weekly one-hour group session for guitar enthusiasts of all styles and skill levels. It introduces different aspects of playing guitar, and strengthens skills through a combination of hands-on, group playing and individual guidance. Basic musicianship, technique, improvisation, chords and scales are explored and expanded upon through learning and playing together. Students have multiple opportunities to perform as a group or as soloists at school events throughout the year.
This class is for students who already have several years of instrumental experience in a band setting. The musicianship areas explored in this class are listening skills, the basic musical structure of the blues, styles, chord changes, rhythms, accompanying other musicians, and how to take an improvised solo.
Beginner Rock Band
This class is for students beginning their instrumental experience in a band setting and uses rock music to teach fundamental musicianship and the skills of group playing. This is a performing ensemble.
This class works with a wide variety of challenging and fun music from many different genres (rock, blues, punk, singer-songwriter, world, etc.) to teach fundamental music theory and improvisation.
Chamber Pop Orchestra
The newest addition to the after school music program, Chamber Pop Orchestra provides a fusion of folk, pop, rock and classical music. The use of string instruments, alongside other more unusual noisemaking devices like ukuleles, accordions, saxophones, hand percussions, and layered vocal harmonies, gives students who have a few years of playing under their belts in the rock band — and don’t necessarily want to rock as hard — the opportunity to jam and perform in a real band setting.
This class builds on students’ passion for writing and sci-fit and fantasy literary genres to support creative writing. Students respond to individualized prompts, engage in table reads and learn to give and receive constructive criticism.
In addition to helping with the general garden work, elective students assist with more technical tasks such as irrigation maintenance, rainwater capture, and solar power generation. Each student also chooses an issue or interest to research within the broader topic of sustainability. Students study current debates on the future of sustainable living and seek answers to the most pressing questions of why, how, and when we need to fundamentally change our relationship with the natural world to forge a truly sustainable path into the future.
Oceans are the most important physical feature of our planet. They cover nearly two-thirds of earth’s surface and constitute the last great expanse of this planet to be charted and explored. This course introduces students to the physical and chemical characteristics of our world oceans (oceanography) and the organisms that inhabit them, as well as their special adaptations to their unique ecological niches (marine biology). As the concerns for the environment and the impact humans have on it grows, the important roles the ocean plays in the biosphere’s chemical and biological balance, becomes increasing clear. The demand for marine biologists and oceanographers in the professional world has risen accordingly. This course gives young students the opportunity to explore the work of a marine biologist or oceanographer, conduct field and laboratory studies, and learn how to design, conduct and report the results of experiments as a research scientist does.
History and Culture of Food (11/12)
This course covers the development of human civilizations through the lens of the history of food production, distribution and consumption. It also looks at a wide range of food-related topics such as industrial vs. organic/local agriculture, health issues, genetically-modified foods, food economics (individual, national and global), access to food, and food-based cultural identity. Students learn skills of analysis of a text for thesis, supporting arguments and underlying structure; analysis and evaluation of various historical interpretations; historical research and writing; identifying and evaluating propaganda and marketing media; and informed consumer behavior with respect to food and food-based products.