Matter Mysteries* – Course Canceled
Strange things are happening: a mysterious, unidentified substance has been found, the principal’s water is disappearing, and even more mysteries abound. Never fear, you are on the case! In this course, you will become a detective and use scientific skills to solve mysteries. After learning about the investigative processes of a scientist, you will gather your own information about solids, liquids, and gases by making scientific predictions, designing and conducting experiments, carefully recording your observations, and collecting data. You will then use the information and discoveries you uncover to solve some very puzzling mysteries about matter.
*Course adapted from an evidence-based science curriculum, What’s the Matter?, from the College of William and Mary.
The World of Water: Hydrology 101– Limited Availability
Water is everywhere! Did you know that approximately 71% of the Earth is covered in water? But, where does fresh water come from? How do we make sure that we don’t run out of this precious resource? How do we provide water that is safe for people to drink? The study of hydrology involves investigating water-related questions just like these. In this course, we will take on the role of hydrologists to explore many topics like the hydrologic cycle, water conservation, safe drinking water and rising sea levels. Using field and laboratory techniques, we will identify the most important characteristics of streams, explore the physical processes controlling water and landscape interactions, and learn how to analyze water quality. We will integrate environmental science and policy to discuss pressing global water issues and water management. At the end of the course, you may even have a chance to use your knowledge of the world of water to model healthy watersheds and construct your very own water treatment plant!
Games Galore!: The Math Behind Games- Full, Waiting List Only
When you flip a coin, does it matter if you started with heads or tails? How important is it to stick to the rules? What is the difference between skill and luck when it comes to playing games? In this exciting course, you will use advanced mathematics to explore the laws of probability and learn how to determine if a game is fair. As you play a variety of games, you will calculate the chances that each player can win, and you will use creative problem solving to change the rules that are unfair. With a combination of math skills and logic, we will analyze all types of games and create our own fair and unfair games to test n our probability lab! Who knows, you might design and be able to justify the rules of the perfect new game for all your friends!
Introduction to Coding and Robotics- Full, Waiting List Only
Computer programmers are learners, dreamers, strategists, and creative thinkers. They develop complex codes to solve everyday problems. The skill of coding is becoming more and more important in our technology-driven world. Being able to code may be fun for creating computer games, but there are other real life applications as well. In what ways do computer programmers help make our lives easier? How do computer programmers turn lines of code into action? What are the thinking processes and personal characteristics needed to write successful code? Come learn the answers to these questions and more as you challenge your mind and test your creativity while learning the basics of computer programming! In this introductory coding course, you will take on the role of a programmer to solve coding challenges by developing working scripts. By the end of the course you will have plenty of ideas about how to use coding to solve small and big challenges in our world today, and to develop creative and useful solutions to all sorts of difficult problems.
Note: This course is specifically designed for students who are new to coding and robotics.
Media Mania: Using Science to Study the Impact of Media- Limited Availability
Without a doubt, we live in a media-driven age. From newspapers and magazines to television and smartphones, media is not only accessible to us, it also asserts itself into our busy lives. In this class we will pull back the curtain to examine how the media industry works and investigate how media and technology impact our lives. We will uncover the research methods and theories used by academic scholars to investigate issues regarding youth media use, as well as techniques used by industry representatives to determine whether media products are meeting their goals. Together we will investigate media in many forms, including both printed and digital, and discuss how media connects us and allows us to share information like never before. Class participation will culminate in a student-developed experiment designed to investigate a hypothesis related to media and technology. You will even have a chance to collect your own data and perform a data analysis, examining the results of your media research. This class will engage you and make you think critically about the media that surrounds us every day!
Molecular Genetics- Full, Waiting List Only
Have you ever wondered why you look a certain way? Have you considered questions like —Why do I have blue eyes and my mom and dad have brown eyes? What makes me different from a plant? Why are polar bears white? If you find yourself asking these types of questions, then you are already thinking about the complexities of genetics. We will answer these questions and more as we take an in-depth, hands-on investigation of genetics and how genes makes everyone unique. Starting at the molecular level, you will learn about the DNA double helix, the processes of transcription and translation, and genetic mutations as we explore the intricacies of the genetic code in your cells. You will investigate topics such as natural selection and classical Mendelian genetics, and examine the role that genetics plays in other fields like immunology and medicine. Understanding genetics will allow you to better understand yourself and the world around you. By the end of the course, you will be able talk about the laws of genetics like a real scientist as we discuss the ways that DNA shapes every living thing.
Psychology 101- Available
Humans are fascinating creatures who do complicated things, and the study of psychology allows us to investigate why we behave the way that we do. Have you ever wanted to understand why your little brother acts the way he does? Or why people act differently in groups than they do when they’re by themselves? Perhaps you have thought about how to frame an argument to convince someone of your stance. In this course, we will explore the vast terrain of psychology: including the importance of the brain in cognitive processes, emotions, and social interactions. We’ll talk about how psychologists differentiate the normal from the abnormal. We will explore how psychology can help improve our lives, from better study habits, to effective mental health treatments, to more productive interactions with others. Throughout the course, we will emphasize the importance of a scientific approach to human behavior, and encourage one another to apply this approach to our own questions about psychology!