What’s the Matter?
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 science 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 matter mysteries.
Computer programming! Robot mazes! Controlling robots remotely! Problem solving! This course has everything you need to challenge your mind and test your creativity. Using Sphero interactive robots, you will brainstorm hands-on solutions to real-world problems through computer programming. As you take on the role of an engineer, programmer, and scientist, you will learn how to test your robot knowledge, manipulate variables, and refine your coding to improve on your design. Your instructions control the robot and can transform it into a dancer, make it maneuver obstacle courses, and instruct it to perform a variety of other tasks. In this course you will go on an exciting journey into the world of robotic programming where you will experience first hand how robots can help us perform mundane tasks that we may not want to do and difficult tasks that are extremely challenging to do. Come ready to explore how robotic programming works as you imagine how you can use it to better our lives in the future!
Where’s the Beach?
Congratulations, you have been appointed to the town council! As a member you make many important choices about your town, and you have just been asked to make a very big decision that could impact your city for years to come. You have been asked to decide if a children’s camp should be built on the beach in your city. At first you love the idea of the camp! However, there are problems with the camp, too. People in your town are concerned that construction will cause the beach to erode, but the camp director wants to begin construction right away. Quick, what will you decide what to do? You owe it to your town to protect the beach from erosion, but you know the camp will be great for your city, too. Is there a way to protect the beach and continue the construction on the camp? After learning about erosion and environmental protection, you will work to develop scientifically based regulations that will satisfy the long-term needs of the town and allow for continued construction for the new camp. Will your plans help save the beach?
Media Mania! Using Science to Study Media’s Impact
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. Class participation will culminate in a student-developed experiment designed to investigate a hypothesis related to media and technology. Students will collect their own data and perform a data analysis, examining the results of their research. The class will engage in the scientific method as real scientists!
Introduction to Macromolecules
Have you ever looked at the nutrition facts on the back of a granola bar and wondered what each of those words meant? Or perhaps you’ve seen commercials advertising “energy bars” for athletes or “fat-free” products for those trying to lose weight and pondered how the components of each product contributed to the overall goal of energy or weight loss? In this course, you will learn the answer to these questions and more as you investigate the components of food and how they impact your body! Together we will study three major types of large molecules, or macromolecules, that serve as the building blocks for food—carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins. Through hands-on experimentation and problem solving, we will explore the roles of each type of macromolecule in the human body and examine the impact of these molecules on health and disease. Come ready to take on the role of a biochemist as you explore the BIG role that macromolecules play in your well-being!
Creative Writing: (Re)imagining the Monstrous
We don’t usually think of monsters or villains as characters that can be heroic, brave, or good; and yet, great authors often make us care about them very deeply. But how do writers make these characters that we distrust so memorable? How do they make us feel a mixture of horror and sympathy, revulsion and pity? Even more importantly, how do you create a villain that is so believable and complex that she or he challenges your reader to find the good within the evil? In this class, you will read and write about the monstrous from many angles, from the horrifying tales of Edgar Allan Poe to the magical lands of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and J.K. Rowling, from the strange poetry of Lewis Carroll to the exciting fantasy of Hayao Miyazaki and William Shakespeare. After reading these poems, stories, screenplays, and plays, you will test out these authors’ techniques for yourself, using music, images, and plot to create new and fascinating characters that bring the reader into your world.
From the Page to the Stage: Novel to Script to Productions
Every great theatrical production is a combination of the imaginations and storytelling abilities of the playwright, director, and actors. Theatermakers have to take the words on the page and turn them into unique productions. What does this process look like? What do actors and directors have to consider when developing a production that will surprise and excite an audience but satisfy the audience’s attachment to a story they may know? How can artistic choices by theatermakers portray the meaning, themes, mood, and tone envisioned by the playwright while remaining original? We will answer these questions and more through the exploration of Rick Elice’s play Peter and the Starcatcher. We will explore excerpts from the novel while critically analyzing the choices that Elice made when turning the novel into a script, to empower and challenge you to envision and workshop aspects of a future production. How will your artistic choices impact the audience’s understanding of Elice’s script and the original novel? Explore notions of devised and suggested theater as you take on the role of actor, writer, and director and learn the skills needed to critically analyze any text you love and bring it to life for others!
Pathogens and Protectors: The Science of the Immune System
Your body is constantly exposed to pathogens, but thankfully it has a built-in system of protection to keep you healthy – your immune system! In this course, you will learn about the complexity of the innate and adaptive immune systems within your body and how they work together to fight off intruders and disease. You will then put your knowledge to great use as you take on the role of a scientist and perform hypothesis-driven experiments to investigate ways to help improve the efficiency of the immune system. You will also learn to think like an engineer, as you apply your knowledge to design solutions to examples in which one or multiple components of the immune system are not functioning properly. With the scientific and engineering design methods to guide you, you will develop effective solutions to real-world health problems. If you love science and solving mysteries, then this is the course for you.