High School Course Catalog 2019-2020

Technical Theatre

This course will provide students with a solid foundation in all major aspects of theatre design. Instruction will focus on skills pertaining to drafting for set and lighting design. Students will make use of strategies centered on technical language, implementation, and technique. Through the course the students will understand drafting for lighting and set design allowing the students to grow in creativity, critical thought, and analysis. This course will also work towards understanding the use of sound for theatre as well as the role of the stage manager. Students will be challenged to collaborate in groups and grow as a team as well as branch out individually to explore their own strengths and areas of interest.

Voice

Do you enjoy singing? This is your chance to learn some new songs and choral pieces while working on vocal fitness and technique, as well as diction, musicality, and expression. In preparation for their group exhibition performance, students may work on songs for the annual winter Arts Fest.

Musical Theatre

How do we communicate meaning in musical theatre? In this class, we shall work on vocal and acting techniques in the world of musical theatre, exploring musicals of yore and contemporary hits to think about what makes musical theatre a unique genre and how we--as performers and/or enthusiasts--can communicate the meaning that only musicals can. This class can be taken as a performance class or as an analytical class with exhibition options based in performance or dramaturgy (theatre analysis).

Art Studio and The Illumination Process

Art Studio is the students creating Art. I don’t tell them what to do, they don’t ask me what to do, but they do. The doing is essential. I only grade the doing. I never grade the student’s Art work. Students do art discovering where, when, and how they find joy and flow in doing art. Artworks will be what most conversations will be about. I will supported the students with technical and skill assistance, and work at keeping the art studio a safe place for their spirits and minds. The Illumination Process is a process of looking at and seeing a work of Art through their life experiences. It is about using Art to become more self-aware. Students will present an exhibition at the end of the quarter, the subject being the Art of the Student and/or The Illumination Process.

Page to Stage

This course introduces and explores theater from page to stage as a live performing art. Students will explore how the written word translates into live action by using a set of staged practices rich with social context. Learning through this tradition of theater, participants will appreciate social contexts related to the stage. Students will have the opportunity to study scripts and learn basic acting and directing tools to stage short performance pieces.

Art Studio

In Art Studio students explore their possibilities of enjoying, doing, and exploring art. The Essential Question is What images, media, techniques of the artistic creative process do I enjoy the most? The Essential Skills are Persisting in Achieving Quality and Working Creatively.

Stone Sculpture

Stone Sculpture is art done in reverse. We do the creative process by taking away material, not by adding material to something or over something. Each student will be given a 30- to 50-pound alabaster stone. They will be instructed on how to use the sculpting tools: hammer, chisels, rasps, and carbide paper. The students will start sculpting without a clear idea of what they are doing. I want them to look for and find lines and forms that are pleasing to them without trying to force an idea on the stone. The stone will give them many opportunities and possibilities to create those shapes. The students will learn to have a conversation with stone. They will practice patience and persistence as they create an abstract design with stone.

Dance Exercise​

In this class, students will work toward group and individual fitness goals through a combination of cardio, strengthening, and stretching exercises. Dance styles will include ballet, modern, Jazzercise, Kpop, improvisation, and hip hop. Students will also have the chance to improvise and lead class.

Introduction to Voice​

This class will introduce students to elementary vocal techniques and prepare them for choral performances. We will practice the craft of singing, which includes proper breathing and posture, among many other things. Students will use a variety of music to develop these skills while building their own performance-ready repertoires and collaborating as a choir to prepare for at least one show. In addition to group and individual practice sessions, students will learn about music theory and the art of voice.

Honors Art Studio

In this Art Studio the student has discovered where, when, and how they find joy in doing art. The advanced student knows what they want to do, has proven their ability to persist in achieving excellence, and embodies a process of creative and aesthetic growth. The goal of the advanced student is to do work with the purpose and intent of declaring their unique selves through intellect, skill, and production.

Radio Plays

Through this course, students will explore the interesting world of radio plays. They will explore radio play scripts, understand how to create compelling stories without visual elements, and use these experiences to write their own shows. The culminating project of this course will be a live recording of the students’ work, demonstrating their ability to fully envision, plan, and execute a live production in this medium.

Storytelling Theatre

In this course, students will explore methods of storytelling through various dramatic styles and techniques. The course will begin with the foundations of the oral tradition and progress through the evolution of humanity’s ability to tell stories. Such methods include the use of vocal techniques and body language. Students will be able to implement the different techniques confidently by the conclusion of this course.

Film: a Look at Classical Hollywood​

This course will dive into the Classical Hollywood period of film production. Students will be exposed to the styles, techniques, and approaches that led to some of the most iconic movies. Exploring films from the 1930s through the 1960s, students will extrapolate and reflect on their themes, period-defining characteristics, and historical importance. After gaining this perspective, students will compare the culture of film-making then to the present day. Students will also explore the Hollywood studio system and the difficulties it creates for actors and writers, and discuss how Classical Hollywood films would be perceived by modern-day audiences.

Choreography

This course is designed to introduce the dancer or dance lover to the art of creating interesting, stimulating dances with which the artist is satisfied. Throughout the course you will get a chance to experiment with various choreographic games and exercises, learn other students’ choreography, learn to critique and talk about dance using ideas from Doris Humphrey among others, and create and perfect one or more substantial pieces for performance at the end of the course. Students should come to the class prepared to move, and perform frequently in front of their peers.

Digital Design

Students will learn to use professional software to visually convey information effectively. Students will learn the basics of color theory and document and photo composition as they work in Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator. They will use their skills to design logos, business cards, and flyers. One does not need to be an “Artist” to take this class.

Digital Music Composition​

Students will learn how to create music on a computer from the ground up. The course will cover a basic treatment of harmony and music theory, focusing additionally on manipulating and complementing harmonic compositional elements through sound design, use of plug-ins, mixing, and mastering, all of which will be taught through project work in professional music-production software. Students will develop a portfolio of songs they have composed, and the exhibition in this course will be a presentation of this portfolio, answering the essential question “What is my sound?”

Introduction to Digital Photography​

"In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary." -Aaron Rose
In this class we will attempt to make extraordinary images with digital cameras. While we will learn how to use our cameras, how to use basic editing software, and about some of the greatest photographers in history, the goal of this course is to create high-quality images. We will work within various styles of photography (e.g. portraiture, landscapes, street, fashion, etc.) and work towards creating a public art exhibit.
NOTE: A digital camera is required for this class. The type of camera you have is not important, as long as it has manual controls. Please don't spend hundreds or thousands of dollars purchasing new equipment for this class. Many inexpensive cameras and lenses offer amazing image quality. Please contact Travis directly (tcooper@newschoolva.com) if you have any questions about equipment.
 

Study Skills and Organization

Do you want to help yourself find success at The New School and get prepared for college and beyond? Do you want to get more out of your study hall? This course will provide a time and a place for you to work, as well as individualized guidance and support for your core academic classes. We will focus on helping you develop your organization and study skills and work together to ensure you are using your time effectively.

Architectural Design​

In this course students will explore interiors and architectural design through 2D and 3D modeling. Students will explore the idea of architecture and interior design through history and learn to recreate and adapt designs that they love and admire to create new, exciting, and thought-provoking environments. Creativity, critical thought, and analysis are essential components of this class. This course will also work towards understanding the use of sound for theatre as well as the role of the stage manager. Students will be challenged to collaborate in groups and grow as a team as well as branch out individually to explore their own strengths and areas of interest.

Game Programming​

Computer programming languages are increasingly relevant in society, and knowing how to code is knowing how to speak the language of the future. This course will learn basic coding through scripting in C# for the Unity 3D game engine. Unity provides an intuitive user interface that makes the possibilities of computer programming approachable and exciting. Game Programming is a project-driven course, with students developing several of their own games. Each student will present his or her best game at the Science Fest in the spring.

AP Computer Science Principle

AP Computer Science Principles is a relatively new AP course tailor-made for the 21st century. This course assumes no knowledge of computers, starts with the absolute basics (what are the parts inside a computer) and builds out to include a comprehension of topics including programming, design, networking, real-world problem solving, and artificial intelligence. This course is based on the CS50 curriculum developed by David J. Malan of Harvard University.

Computer-assisted design for Theatre and Film

This course will focus on computer-based tools used for designing sets for both Theatre and Film. Students will design both interior and exterior sets using a combination of 2-D and 3-D techniques. Supplemental topics will include costume/fashion design and lighting design. Students will be able to confidently understand and implement the basics of designing for Theatre and Film by the conclusion of this course.

Physics and Simulations

In films, video games, and scientific fields, computers are vitally useful in realistically modelling how an event occurs. This course will use the computer software Mathematica to learn how to program real physical situations, from catapults to rockets to collisions. The use of software will allow us to delve deeply into physics without getting bogged down in arithmetic, and the course will serve as an excellent introduction to mechanics. This course may be taken for physics OR computers credit.

Musical Theatre

How do we communicate meaning in musical theatre? In this class, we shall work on vocal and acting techniques in the world of musical theatre, exploring musicals of yore and contemporary hits to think about what makes musical theatre a unique genre and how we--as performers and/or enthusiasts--can communicate the meaning that only musicals can. This class can be taken as a performance class or as an analytical class with exhibition options based in performance or dramaturgy (theatre analysis).

Page to Stage

This course introduces and explores theater from page to stage as a live performing art. Students will explore how the written word translates into live action by using a set of staged practices rich with social context. Learning through this tradition of theater, participants will appreciate social contexts related to the stage. Students will have the opportunity to study scripts and learn basic acting and directing tools to stage short performance pieces.

English B

In addition to the focus skills taught in English A, English B will introduce academic activities that focus on research methods, analytical writing, advanced reading comprehension, and independent presentations. Students will continue to concentrate on all areas of language while engaging in more challenging materials and discussions.

English A

The course English A will prepare students who do not speak English as their first language to approach high school academics comfortably and confidently. The course will focus on building effective communication skills through the four parts of language (reading, writing, speaking, and listening). This includes basic grammar structure and rules, organization and clarity in writing, expansion of academic vocabulary, reading comprehension and reflection, and improvement in pace and pronunciation. The course materials and activities will resemble those used in the TOEFL and will help introduce students to the high school classroom culture and curricula. Students will have ample time to practice speaking, work collaboratively with other students, and receive one-on-one feedback about their progress with the English language.

Scholarly Writing​

This class will offer additional help to students learning the method of analytical writing and help them meet The New School's expectations in preparation for the senior exhibition.

Communicating Meaning: Public Speaking & Debate

What is it that you really want to say? Did we understand what you meant? This course is designed to help you develop and hone effective communication skills. With in-class exercises, weekly projects, and examples from guest speakers and short videos, students will practice effective strategies and techniques of communication, with the goal of improving confidence and exhibition skills. For the exhibition, each student will prepare, rehearse, and deliver a short TED talk-style speech featuring at least one non-verbal mode of communication.

Radio Plays

Through this course, students will explore the interesting world of radio plays. They will explore radio play scripts, understand how to create compelling stories without visual elements, and use these experiences to write their own shows. The culminating project of this course will be a live recording of the students’ work, demonstrating their ability to fully envision, plan, and execute a live production in this medium.

Storytelling Theatre

In this course, students will explore methods of storytelling through various dramatic styles and techniques. The course will begin with the foundations of the oral tradition and progress through the evolution of humanity’s ability to tell stories. Such methods include the use of vocal techniques and body language. Students will be able to implement the different techniques confidently by the conclusion of this course.

Questioning the Classics​

What makes a text a “classic”? The Canon is generally regarded as the collection of what is the most valued art, music, and literature from history. And while those works may all have merit, the Canon can also be criticized for its lack of diverse voices and perspectives. In this class, we shall read, discuss, and write about texts generally regarded as classics and others that may not be (at least not yet), always questioning whether a “classic” should be labeled as such, the requirements for classic-status, and how those requirements may change over time.

Romanticism​

Romanticism, capital R, is not about hearts and romantic comedies; rather, it is about 19th-century revolution and self-discovery. In this class, we shall explore the characteristics of the Romantic artistic time period, analyzing art, music, and especially literature with the likes of Friedrich, Tchaikovsky, and Wordsworth. How do artists use the shared characteristics of Romanticism to express their personal artistic goals? We shall dive deeper into this question while reading an abridged version of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables.

Rebellious Women

How does a woman’s environment--political, social, economic, etc.--influence how she rebels? This course will analyze how diverse female writers and characters question, challenge, and do the unexpected to rebel against different systems and structures. We shall focus on how unique social, geographical, and historical environments can influence how women speak out, in fiction and nonfiction, in ways as unique as those environments.

Ursula Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-2018) known to many as creator of the world of Earthsea, brought a beautifully concise, intellectually rigorous voice to the genres of fantasy and sci-fi. In this class, we will read one of her most provocative books, ​The Left Hand of Darkness.​ We will also work on the micro level of writing skills needed to communicate one’s meaning clearly. The culmination is a primary source paper addressing the essential question of how gender shapes culture and one’s way of life.

The War of the Worlds​

How can one capture the essence of a novel in an adaptation? What is essential? What changes and why? After delving into the grandfather of panic and terror thrillers, H.G. Wells’ ​The War of the Worlds​ (1897), we will analyze several adaptations, beginning with Orson Welles’ radio play coup (1938). Then the class will determine essentials and co-write a creative adaptation in a contemporary setting and format which will be presented in a group exhibition.

Narrator & Perspective

The narrator is the lens through which we experience a novel or story. Narrators come in all shapes and sizes, not all of them trustworthy. In this course, we will read a variety of literature, told from a variety of characters in unusual situations (and sometimes told by no character at all...) We will discuss how “who’s telling the story” affects our experience and understanding of the texts we read. The final exhibition is a primary source analysis paper answering that same question in the context of one of our major texts. Essential Question: How does the choice of narrator shape the reader’s experience of a text?

The Language of Shakespeare​

Reading the plays of William Shakespeare, who is generally thought of as the most significant English writer of all time, is practically a high school rite of passage. Although his language may seem stilted and unfamiliar to the ears of some young readers, many argue that because Shakespeare’s plots and themes transcend human experience, his writing remains fundamentally accessible across history. On the other hand, many linguists suggest that Shakespeare lovers of all kinds miss many more of his basic meanings than they probably realize. There is no disputing that Shakespeare had an outsized impact on the English language, itself a massive influencer in global communication. However, language changes quickly! This course will involve a lot of literary analysis (reading, performing, and analyzing some of Shakespeare’s plays and poems), but it will also incorporate some historical linguistics (etymology, syntax, etc.) Essential Question: What is the relationship between the language of Shakespeare and our English today?

Writers Who Changed the World

Is the pen mightier than the sword? In this course we will will apply this question to many works of literature including novels, essays, and pamphlets by a variety of writers from around the world. Besides reading and analyzing works together, students will present a project about a writer who they think succeeded--or failed--to change the world through their work.

AP English Language & Composition​

This course is designed to teach the skills needed to succeed in a college level writing course. We will read a lot of nonfiction, working to determine each author’s purpose and the elements they use to rhetorically manipulate their target audience (tone, syntax, imagery, diction, symbolism, etc.) We will analyze and produce writing in many forms. The goals of the course are for students to be able to comprehend and comment on any nonfiction text they encounter and to communicate effectively by creating and sustaining arguments orally and in writing.

Literature and the Meaning of Life

What is the meaning of life? Philosophers have been pondering this at least since Socrates. In recent centuries, the novel has emerged as the most popular and prestigious form of literature, especially here in the United States. We will read ancient, medieval and modern literature to explore the meaning of life, especially how authors use literary techniques to shine a light on life’s most important questions.

Mark Twain: The Making of a Legend

Even today, Mark Twain is widely regarded as America’s greatest writer. Not only was he a famous novelist, he was also a well-known journalist, satirist, travel writer, and social commentator. But how did he become Mark Twain? What experiences shaped his life? What do his early works tell us about the man and the world he lived in? In this seminar-based class, we will read and discuss Lighting Out for the Territory: How Samuel Clemens Headed West and Became Mark Twain; Roughing It; several of Twain’s essays, articles, and short stories; and a novel of your choice. Your final assignment will be to write a critical essay about one of Twain’s works. (Scholarly Writing: Primary Source Analysis)

Reading and Writing Poetry

For most of human history, poetry was more popular than prose, but today prose is. This is a shame because poetry provides a rich path to express beauty (as well as ugliness) and emotions. We will read a variety of poetry exemplars and write our own. We will create a literary journal and go to Busboys and Poets for our own poetry slam. Come ready to grow and share!

NaNoWriMo: How to Write a Novel​

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The goal is writing a 50,000-word novel. (Don’t let the number scare you; you can do it and you’ll get lots of support!) In NaNoWriMo class we will use all of Q2 to work on completing a novel. We will read and analyze literary exemplars in mini-lessons, but the bulk of each day will be spent writing and workshoping our novels. At the end we’ll celebrate with a big publishing party!

Honors French

In Advanced French, you will deepen your understanding of French grammar, continue to expand your French vocabulary, and develop your speaking and writing skills. Both project-based and exercise-based, students will work on multiple projects throughout each quarter that result in both written and spoken presentations. Games, compositions, films, and literature will be prominent in the classroom, and students are expected to rise to the challenge. Venez profiter!   Focus Skills: Communicating Effectively, orally and in writing; Appreciating and Understanding Different Perspectives; Working Collaboratively

Spanish 3

This course is designed for students who, after finishing Spanish II, want to continue expanding their knowledge of the Spanish language and culture. Through the readings and films presented in this class, the course reviews and refines grammar structures, expands vocabulary, and improves students’ oral and written communication skills through discussions, written reports, and presentations. Cultural aspects are closely integrated with the language elements, giving students an appreciation for the diversity and cultural richness of the Spanish-speaking world.   Focus Skills: Communicating effectively, orally and in writing; Appreciating and understanding different perspectives; Working collaboratively

Honors Spanish

This course is designed for students that have finished Spanish II or III and want to continue expanding their knowledge of the Spanish language and culture. Through literature and films presented in this class, the course reviews and refines grammar structures, expands vocabulary, and improves students’ communication and interpersonal skills. Cultural aspects are closely integrated with the language elements, giving students an appreciation for the diversity and cultural richness of the Spanish-speaking world. Focus Skills: Communicating Effectively, orally and in writing Appreciating and Understanding Different Perspectives Working Collaboratively

German 1

Germany - home of the hamburger, mustard, beer, pretzels, Lederhosen, the Wall, brass band, classical orchestra, techno, and roots of the English language. Students will work on developing comprehension, conversation, reading, and writing skills in this central European language. Students will benefit from our ongoing exchange with the Kreuzgymnasium in Dresden, Germany.
The immersion approach, anchored in by Langenscheidt’s Geni@l Klick 1 curriculum, includes up-to-date teen themes, short animated movies, YouTube clips, Easy-German episodes, field trips, and cultural projects.
 

Spanish 1

Spanish 1 is a dynamic and interactive introduction to the Spanish language and culture. Through easy readings, everyday dialogues, songs and movies, the students will learn basic vocabulary and grammar structures for daily routine situations while expanding their knowledge about the culture and customs of the Spanish-speaking world.

French 1

French is widely accepted as one of the most beautiful languages, and this class will focus on reading, writing, speaking and listening basics through classroom activities. Designed for beginning students or those who have had only a minimal introduction to the language, French vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and cultural understanding are developed through written, oral, and interactive exercises.
Focus skills: Communicating Effectively, orally and in writing Appreciating and Understanding Different Perspectives Working Collaboratively

Honors German

This class encourages students to deepen their comprehension, conversation, reading, and writing skills through a tailored selection of diverse authentic material, including podcasts, newscasts, level-appropriate novels, Grimm Märchen, games, videos, and films. Students are expected to rise to the challenge of an immersion class in which conversation will be conducted almost exclusively in German. For grammar review and improvement, we work through Germany's standard Gymnasium 5 workbook. Students are invited to participate in our ongoing exchange with the Kreuzgymnasium in Dresden, Germany.

French 2

French is widely accepted as one of the most beautiful languages, and this class will focus on continued
reading, writing, speaking and listening development through classroom activities. French vocabulary,
grammar, pronunciation, and cultural understanding are developed through written, oral, and interactive
exercises.
Focus Skills:
Communicating Effectively, orally and in writing Appreciating and Understanding Different Perspectives Working Collaboratively

Spanish 2

This course reviews and continues the study of grammar and vocabulary with emphasis on four communication skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. We provide the students with a simple and interactive approach to the language and culture of the Spanish-speaking world. Through films presented and discussed in class, we emphasize conversation and solidify the student’s communication and interpersonal skills. Cultural aspects are closely integrated with language elements. Focus Skills: Communicating Effectively, orally and in writing Appreciating and Understanding Different Perspectives Working Collaboratively

Calculus

This class will cover the basics of calculus – limits, derivatives, and integrals – with in-depth looks at both the conceptual and computational aspects. The class will not be paced to the AP exam, but rather to the students’ understanding and should prepare students to either take BC Calculus next year in high school or Calculus 2 in college. Focus Skill: Making Connections and Being Aware of Context

AP Calculus

This class is geared toward the AP Calculus BC test that will take place in May, so we will cover functions, limits, derivatives, integrals, and series. Periodically we will review actual AP tests from past years to prepare for the AP test. To get you ready to take the AP test, we will be moving at a steady pace. Students should expect to do work over vacations (including summer vacation) and to double their time spent on the course in the few weeks leading up to the exam.

Geometry

This comprehensive course in geometry is designed to build logical reasoning and spatial visualization skills. The class is largely cumulative, as is all mathematics, in that we will continue to build on and use what we have already learned. Topics to be covered include deductive reasoning, lines in a plane, study of polygons with particular stress on triangles, transformations, congruence, similarity, properties of circles, constructions, areas and volumes of solids, coordinate geometry, and basic trigonometry.

Algebra 1

This most fundamental of mathematics courses covers the basics of solving and graphing linear and quadratic equations. Additionally, students will learn to factor equations, simplify radicals, and solve systems of equations. Focus Skills: Solving Problems and Making Connections and Being Aware of Context.

Pre-Calculus

This course builds on the concepts learned in Algebra 2 and prepares you for Calculus and other advanced math courses you may take in the future. Specifically, we will study various families of functions, the parametric and polar forms of representing functions and other relations, trigonometry, matrices and some isolated topics in discrete mathematics; if there is time, there will be a brief introduction to the concepts of instantaneous rates of change and limits (the beginnings of Calculus!). There will be a strong focus on viewing functions from various perspectives (such as verbal, numeric, graphical, and algebraic). Throughout the course, we will use graphing calculator (TI-84) technology to help us understand functions from these various perspectives. Focus Skill: Putting Information in Context

Algebra 2

Algebra 2 is divided into three topics: 1) the basic mechanics of Algebra -- an extension of what was learned in Algebra 1; 2) the principle of functions -- the idea that equations can be seen as mathematical “machines” which take input and create output; 3) the idea of “modeling” -- that functions can be used to represent real behavior in the world. Students will learn and review work with linear functions before expanding into quadratics, exponential, and logarithmic functions, as well as basics of Trigonometry (building on principles learned in Geometry). Algebra 2 prepares students for Pre-Calculus.

Algebra 2 (Foundations)

The purpose of this course is to prepare students for Algebra 2 and, in certain cases, Pre-Calculus. We will focus on fortifying the basic mechanics of algebra, including working with integers, fractions, linear and quadratic equations and their graphs, radicals, roots, and some basic trigonometry. This class can take a more relaxed approach and can be a place where real transformation can occur.

Mathematical Modeling

In this class we will use old math competition problems to hit problems of various scope. We will use AMC problems for quick thinking and warm-up problems, Johns Hopkins Math Tournament group test problems for hour-long exercises, and COMAP MCM problems for long-term work and exhibition.

Math & the Universe​

In order to appreciate the beauty of Mathematics, we will step back in time to see how the evolution of Mathematical ideas is closely tied to the human quest to understand our Universe. This course explores fractals and the Fibonacci Sequence to observe patterns all around us, how to measure cosmic distances and speed, calculate mass and size of distant objects in our universe, Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation, keeping track of lunar & solar cycles ,etc. Through our study of these topics we will explore our Mathematical Universe.

Statistics in Social Sciences​

This course will take students through an introduction to Statistics, a branch of mathematics with applications in many fields of study. Every day, we view targeted advertisements, interact with perfectly placed products, read informative articles, or even just listen to popular music, and it's presented to us with the use of Statistics. Throughout the class, students will learn to better understand the world around us, and how Statistics play a vital role in our lives.

Nutritional Analysis and Math Skill Building

Warm-ups for this class will consist of arithmetic and algebra exercises where students often make mistakes in higher classes. The body of the class will consist of research and learning about vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, gathering and analyzing data in spreadsheets, and utilizing those in mixture problems that create recipes and daily intake.

Personal Finance​

Financial literacy is key to helping us reach our goals in life. It is essential that we are able to recognize options, analyze those options, and plan for our success. Students will learn strategies for managing and tracking their spending and saving. We will also look into how credit affects our finances and how different types of credit work. We will discuss the many financial decisions that will likely affect students’ lives from selecting a credit card, understanding your credit score, buying a house or a car and what expenses they can expect to incur when they are out on their own.

Ultimate Frisbee

Our minds and bodies are intricately connected: a healthy mind makes a healthy body; likewise, a healthy body makes a healthy mind. It is through a course of Frisbee that we may explore this concept, and your teacher is an avid player. We will be outdoors much of the time--stretching, running, passing, and playing Frisbee. Frisbee is a social activity that requires personal collaboration: participation is mandatory, and we will have fun.

How Your Body Works

Research about health and disease has swung wildly over the course of our lifetimes, and what once passed as dogma (“All dietary fat is bad,” “Exercising longer and harder is better”) is now in question. We will learn about the anatomy and physiology of the major systems of the body, and discuss what various experts are saying about how to live healthy lives and protect ourselves from disease.

Mountain Biking​

The New School is uniquely located near Fairfax County’s Cross Country Trail, which connects south all the way to Occoquan and north to Great Falls. A short half-hour ride away is Wakefield Park, which has several criss-crossing, hair-pinning, bumpy, steep, and narrow mountain biking paths. This course will build biking competency and endurance to the point where such difficult trails can be enjoyed. As a level 2 P.E. class, it is required that students who enroll be adept at basic riding. NOTE: Students will need to provide their own mountain bikes (not road bikes) of a reasonably high quality (i.e., from a bike shop or outfitter as opposed to from a box store like Wal-Mart or Target). Finally, students should be prepared to ride in all weather conditions with appropriate apparel.

Dance Exercise

Students will build flexibility, strength, endurance, balance and coordination through dance-influenced exercises. While most classes will feature half an hour of stretching, half an hour of cardio and strength- building, and half an hour of learning choreography (building repertoire), individual exercises and sometimes daily routines will be tailored to the needs and goals of the students.   Focus Skill: Persisting in Achieving Quality

Soccer

Our minds and bodies are intricately connected: a healthy mind makes a healthy body; likewise, a healthy body makes a healthy mind. It is through a course of soccer that we may explore this concept, and your teacher is an avid player. We will be outdoors much of the time stretching, running, passing, and playing soccer. Soccer is a social activity that requires personal collaboration: participation is mandatory, and we will have fun.

Basketball​

Our minds and bodies are intricately connected: a healthy mind makes a healthy body. Likewise, a healthy body makes a healthy mind. It is through a course of basketball that we may explore this concept, and your teacher is an avid player. We will be indoors much of the time stretching, running, passing, and playing basketball. Basketball is a social activity that requires personal collaboration: participation is mandatory, and we will have fun.

Nature Walking

How can you avoid the post-lunch slump? Stretch your legs and take a walk! In this class, we will explore the trails around The New School, getting fresh air and a new perspective in the process. We will find ways to keep our strolls fresh, by doing some walking meditation, learning about the local plant life, engaging in lively conversation and/or games, etc. This class is a great way to earn PE credit for those who prefer moderate activity rather than high intensity exercise, those who want a way to liven themselves up before afternoon mod, or those who simply love nature. We will go outside every day if it is above freezing, unless there is a torrential downpour or it is unsafe in any way. Dress for the weather and be prepared to lose yourself in the outdoors for 40 min a day.

Nutritional Analysis and Math Skill Building

Warm-ups for this class will consist of arithmetic and algebra exercises where students often make mistakes in higher classes. The body of the class will consist of research and learning about vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, gathering and analyzing data in spreadsheets, and utilizing those in mixture problems that create recipes and daily intake.

Softball

Students are invited to come learn, play, and hone their skills in Softball! We will be using the fields at Thaiss Park, located next to the school, to explore the physical and mental aspects of one of our beloved pastimes. From having a catch in the backyard, to hitting a home run in a game, Softball is a sport that is easy to get started playing, but challenging enough to always keep you on your toes!

Choreography

This course is designed to introduce the dancer or dance lover to the art of creating interesting, stimulating dances with which the artist is satisfied. Throughout the course you will get a chance to experiment with various choreographic games and exercises, learn other students’ choreography, learn to critique and talk about dance using ideas from Doris Humphrey among others, and create and perfect one or more substantial pieces for performance at the end of the course. Students should come to the class prepared to move, and perform frequently in front of their peers.

Chemistry in Art​

In this course, students will explore the connection between chemistry and art. We will study the atom, the periodic table, molecules, and reactions. As our understanding of the chemical world increases we will learn how it applies to color, ceramics, and tie dye!

Project in the Sciences​

This course offers a sound background in the scientific method and experimental design. Once students have chosen their topic/problem, they will be given the freedom to design their own experiments with faculty feedback, refining their experiment design and ensuring replicability and reliability. Students will display their results in the New School Science Fest as part of their exhibitions. Essential Question: What is the value of the scientific method in exploring questions and problems?

Electrodynamics​

Electricity is one of the most important blessings that science has given to mankind. It has also become an integral part of our life and we cannot think of our world without it. This course will give you a basic understanding of electron theory, conductors and insulators, electric paint, static electricity, electric field detectors, electromagnetism, electrical circuits, AC/DC current, generators, step-down and step-up transformers, electrical formulas, hazards of electricity, the need for insulation, earthing, fuses, circuit breakers, and renewable energy sources.

Forensic Biology​

Forensic crime shows are increasingly popular, and DNA evidence especially is becoming the key to cracking many current and cold cases. In addition to DNA, this class will focus on biological forensic evidence such as hair type, fingerprinting, blood typing, and even non-human evidence that can pinpoint crime scene and time of death such as pollen grains and insect larvae.   Essential Question: What can I infer about crimes from biological evidence?

Chemistry of Fireworks

We all have experienced the colorful and impressive fireworks displays at Fourth of July celebrations and other events. These displays pack a lot of chemistry into those “Ooooo! Aah!” moments. In this course we will learn more about the history, construction, shapes, and colors of fireworks. We will particularly go over oxidation and reduction reactions which make the fireworks explode into those beautiful patterns. We will also investigate the topics of firework safety and environmentally friendly fireworks.

Forensic Chemistry​

Forensic scientists rely heavily on DNA evidence to convict criminals, but they also use chemical analysis to piece together the details of how crimes are committed. In this class, we will examine the role of chemical evidence in forensic science using techniques such as toxicology, isotope analysis, and spectrometry.   Essential Question: What can I infer about crimes from chemical evidence?

Synthesis of Biodiesel​

Biodiesel is a renewable and clean-burning diesel replacement that is better for the environment than ordinary gasoline or diesel fuel. We will study the available fuel sources now, the chemical composition of each of them, and their impact on the environment. We will do an in-depth study of the process of synthesizing biodiesel, the underlying organic chemistry principles, and benefits of using biodiesel.

Plants and Society

This course will focus on plant structures and classifications as well as how plants and humans have shaped each other throughout human history. After studying plant anatomy and reproduction, we will look at the impact that commercial agriculture and trade have had on the world. We will also examine flower structures, pollination, and food security. Additionally, we will examine how some plant compounds are concentrated to turn them into highly addictive substances, and how governments react. Essential Question: How do plants change the world?

Chemistry of Cosmetics

In this course, we will explore common cosmetic products. We will investigate their history, their components, and their effects on public health. We will investigate introductory organic chemistry principles then work in the lab to create and test our own products using these ideas. We will closely explore the relationship between lip balms and lipids, bath bombs and reactions, tattoo ink and metals, etc. This course will be project based with a large focus on experiment design and data analysis. Essential Question: How can the properties of everyday cosmetic products demonstrate chemical principles?

Does DNA Define You?

Our genes define many of our characteristics, but do they define the trajectories of our lives? This course will explore basic DNA concepts (structure, replication, cell division, heredity and gene expression) and then move into issues of ethics, genetic counseling, genetic discrimination, and gene therapy. Students will have the opportunity to have their genome sequenced through a commercial provider in order to answer the essential question for themselves and engage with the content on a personal level. Essential Question: To what extent does your DNA Define You?

Developmental Psychology

Understanding human development usually takes a lifetime. We learn a great deal from our own experience, but we are rarely able to observe more than a few individuals over long periods of time. This course will allows us to examine the cognitive, emotional, moral, linguistic, and psychosocial aspects of growth and development over a human lifespan, from conception, through childhood, adolescence, adulthood, to death. We will examine historical theories and current arguments relevant to this area of psychology. Coursework includes research-based experimentation, written reflection, and presentation. We will be participating in the science fest as well! Essential Question: What happens to humans as they grow?

Comparative Ecology

What factors make a desert a desert or a rainforest a rainforest? How do energy and materials cycle through ecosystems? Why does species diversity matter? We will compare our temperate deciduous biome to other biomes around the world to answer these questions and, in turn, learn more about the ecosystem in which we live. Final exhibition for the course will be to design a field guide to species present at the New School and an interpretive nature trail explaining how universal ecological concepts apply to our local setting. Essential Question: How do ecosystems and biomes around the world compare to each other?

Plagues and Society

How did the Black Plague change the world? Who really can take credit for “inventing” vaccines? How did the AIDS outbreak in the 1980s illuminate social inequalities? This course will use a selected text to explore the Plague, SmallPox, HIV/AIDS, and if time, a disease of the class’s choice. We will examine biological, sociological, immunological, religious, cultural, and technological impacts of major disease outbreaks. Essential Question: What are the biological and social implications of widespread disease?

Physics and Simulations

In films, video games, and scientific fields, computers are vitally useful in realistically modelling how an event occurs. This course will use the computer software Mathematica to learn how to program real physical situations, from catapults to rockets to collisions. The use of software will allow us to delve deeply into physics without getting bogged down in arithmetic, and the course will serve as an excellent introduction to mechanics. This course may be taken for physics OR computers credit.

Environmental Sociology

Interaction with the environment varies according to social stratification, and people and societies disproportionally encounter environmental problems on the basis of nationality, class, race, and gender. This class, a course instructed by Carolina and Diana, will combine an examination of environmental justice and the science behind the environmental hazards which affect the lives of people around the world. Though students will attend both classes, students will receive either a Social Studies or a General Science credit depending on the student's needs.

Environmental Chemistry​

How do we know if an ecosystem is healthy or not? To complement biological surveys, there are many ways chemistry can give us a glimpse of the status of ecosystems. This course will explore chemical analysis of air, water, and soil, and what can be inferred from chemical results. We will also explore other environmental chemistry topics such as how our wastewater is treated, how CFCs destroy the ozone layer, how acids leach from coal mining operations, and how carbon capture and storage works in the fight to slow climate change. Essential Question: How can I gauge the health of ecosystems through chemistry?

Black History​

The experience of Black Americans is not only historically unique, but an integral component of the American experiment, one which particularly demonstrates both the fragility and the determination behind the American dream. This course will study the history of Blacks in America beginning with their migrations during the colonial era. Students will examine the impact of the institution of slavery, the discrimination of the Jim Crow era, and the conflicts of the early 1900s as Blacks began to pursue political and social equality. The course will culminate with the Civil Rights movements of the mid-twentieth century. Scholarship skills will also be a primary focus of this course.

Change Lab

This course will attempt to tackle a local or global problem such as hunger or the consumption of fossil fuels. We will research the history of the problem, brainstorm and refine possible solutions, and develop a political strategy to begin solving whatever problem the class chooses. The overall goal of this course is to develop an action plan to educate and organize those who wish to be part of the solutions we propose.

Street Law

When can the police search you or your property? What are your rights as an employee or an employer? When are contracts legally binding and when can they be broken? Whether you are a citizen of the United States or a visitor the laws of this nation apply to you. Admittedly, some laws are more relevant to our daily lives than others. This course will explore US laws that every citizen should know about.

Political Communication

Patriot, communist, American, conservative, liberal, etc. These are some of the words we hear used to glorify or demonize people and ideas in our government. How do these words shape what government values and achieves? This course will examine major government actions and investigate how language has been used to shape those actions. We will analyze speeches, political cartoons, television commercials, blogs, and other media that are used to shape public discourse and influence public policy.

AP US History

AP United States history explores the central conflicts of American history beginning with pre-Columbian peoples and continuing until the post-Cold war era. The class will require serious devotion, and a lot of time will be spent reading and writing. The purpose of the class is to facilitate college level skills which include persuasive, analytical writing and high level discussion. Students will take the AP exam in the spring and potentially receive college credit.

Native American History

Like all minorities in American History, Native Americans have a rich story which is too seldom told. This course will give a voice to that narrative, and we will study the complex histories of different North American tribes before the arrival of Columbus in 1492. The class will also explore the lives of Native Americans following European colonialism and study the tumultuous relationship of the United States of America and its first inhabitants.

Women’s History

Fifty years ago, a new kind of history was born. For the first time, scholars realized that an important part of history had been neglected: the experiences of women. This course will retell the familiar stories of American history as they were experienced by women while analyzing the evolution of female identities and roles in the United States. We will discuss how women influenced, directly or indirectly, trends in American society, politics, and culture and examine how their experiences differed due to class and race.

Current Events​

This class will cover the latest current events in the world. It is designed to promote students’ cross-curriculum academic language and argumentation skills. Weekly units centered around a news topic will be the focus. Students will read, discuss, debate, and write about each weekly topic, using newly taught vocabulary words.  

Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness​

For thousands of years, people have sought to understand the human psyche through stories, songs, and literature. More recently the field of psychology has developed as a scientific approach to gaining insight into human thoughts and feelings. Much psychology research has focused on what is wrong with people—mental illness—but not as much on what is right. Positive psychology is the scientific study of human flourishing. In our class we will complete a brief overview of psychology and then dive into techniques to feel more positive emotions, engage in life, build relationships, find meaning, and pursue personal goals. Students will come away from the course with many tools to live a flourishing life.
 

Film: a Look at Classical Hollywood​

This course will dive into the Classical Hollywood period of film production. Students will be exposed to the styles, techniques, and approaches that led to some of the most iconic movies. Exploring films from the 1930s through the 1960s, students will extrapolate and reflect on their themes, period-defining characteristics, and historical importance. After gaining this perspective, students will compare the culture of film-making then to the present day. Students will also explore the Hollywood studio system and the difficulties it creates for actors and writers, and discuss how Classical Hollywood films would be perceived by modern-day audiences.

Economies of the Future​

Automation, self-driving cars, 5G, and rapid innovation are just a few reasons the economies of tomorrow will be radically different. This course will explore the foundations of today's economy and try to understand how future economies might work. Specific attention will be paid to labor markets, sustainability, and the growth of artificial intelligence.

Cognitive Bias Seminar​

There can be no doubt that the human brain is uniquely powerful: apparently alone among Earth’s animals, humans are capable of communicating across time and space using abstract symbols, of creating complex mental models, and of contemplating their own existence (as well as contemplating their own contemplation.) However, our brains also fail us constantly, usually in ways that we don’t immediately recognize. This honors course is structured around reading about and discussing the nature of the various errors in thinking that human minds naturally fall prey to, recognizing the impact of these cognitive biases on real life events and situations, and trying to figure out what we can do about it. Essential Question: How far should we trust our own thinking?

Applied Sociology

Students will learn to use specific research methods used in the field of Sociology. They will read excerpts from studies and see how these methods are used. Guided discussions will be a large part of the course as students learn to understand the sociological perspective and methods. By the end of the course, students will work together to design their own study and report that will include data that they have collected themselves as well as research from other studies.

How Do You Know?

As children, we view the universe as a concrete entity that is merely hidden from view. Much of early teaching is actually just the process of revealing facts and techniques which, rooted in the authority of the teacher, are meant to be taken at face value. As we develop, we recognize that power and knowledge are linked, and we must question what we have been taught as we become self-empowered. This course will explore the philosophy of knowledge and its relation to education, addressing topics ranging from empirical proof to logical inference to assertions rooted in power. For their exhibitions, each student will write a research paper in which the thesis answers the essential question “How is knowledge asserted, accepted, and changed?”

World Religions

No matter where we humans live, most of us end up worshiping the divine. Why? And what is religion anyway? We will explore the many facets of religion, as well as the following traditions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Baha'i Faith, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Chinese philosophy and religion, such as Confucian ideas and Daoism. We will take field trips to visit different houses of worship and meet priests, rabbis, imams and other religion experts. Get ready to explore the world...and world religions.

Greece: From Achilles to Alexandria​

Sometimes a small corner of the world has an outsize impact on history. Greece is one such place that has influenced philosophy, math, science, history, drama, and literature. In this class we will study the archeology, art, and arete (excellence) of Greek civilization. Be ready to taste the rich smorgasbord of civilization that the Greeks gave us.

Traveling the Ancient World with Herodotus​

In this course, we will learn about the ancient world from the world's first historian: Herodotus. As we read his life’s work, we will discuss many interesting people and events, and we will make connections between ancient times and our own world today. As you will see, Herodotus was much more than a historian. He was intensely curious about everything, and as he travelled through many of the lands he described, he became the world's first travel writer, foreign correspondent, and cultural commentator. Imagine you could travel back to ancient Egypt and return to tell about all the strange things you saw and heard. Herodotus is the next best thing! You will also learn about the great war between the Greeks and the Persians. Why did they go war, and how did the weaker side win? Along the way, we will also consider whether Herodotus can teach us anything about recent history, or even the future.

China, from the Xia Dynasty to Xi Jinping​

Today China is the most populous and, with the United States, most powerful country in the world. This is an amazing accomplishment given the tumultuous 20th Century that China endured. But world power status is not new to China. In this class we will learn about China from its prehistory through today. We will spend much of our time exploring the philosophy, art, and inventiveness of China. We will also take advantage of the Smithsonian collections at the Freer and Sackler galleries of art. Come ready learn about the world’s longest-lived and most influential civilization!

The Explorer

At the turn of the 15th century, Europeans were gripped by an astonishing realization: Columbus had sailed west and had landed not in Asia, as he had thought, but in a New World. What was this New World like and what lay beyond it? Would anyone succeed where Columbus had failed? Was it possible to tap the riches of Asia by sailing west? In this course, we will explore these questions by reading and discussing Over the Edge of the World, by Laurence Bergreen, which tells the tale of the incredible voyage of Ferdinand Magellan. Along the way, you will learn about geography and cartography, sailing and navigation, and the 16th-century clash of cultures that shaped our world today.

Environmental Sociology

Interaction with the environment varies according to social stratification, and people and societies disproportionally encounter environmental problems on the basis of nationality, class, race, and gender. This class, a course instructed by Carolina and Diana, will combine an examination of environmental justice and the science behind the environmental hazards which affect the lives of people around the world. Though students will attend both classes, students will receive either a Social Studies or a General Science credit depending on the student's needs.

Positive Psychology

Much psychology research has focused on what is wrong with people—mental illness—but not as much on what is right. Positive psychology is the scientific study of human flourishing. In our class we will complete a brief overview of psychology and then dive into techniques to feel more positive emotions, engage in life, build relationships, find meaning, and pursue personal goals. Students will come away from the course with many tools to live a flourishing life.

 

Course Catalogue 2019-2020 (PDF)

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