10th Grade Courses

Two Term Courses

These course meet two out of three terms and earn 10 credits. Students in grades 10-12 seeking permission for Honors work in English and/or History may do so in the first term next year.

English 10: American Literature

American Morality (Required)

What does it mean to be American? From the revolution that defined our independence to the very cases contended today in the Supreme Court, in this required course we address all elements of Americanism, the beautiful and the sordid. In doing this, we turn to great American writers whose professed goal it was to define generations of American citizens, and we use these writings to ask the question: What does it really mean to be American?

For the second term of American Literature, students choose one of the following courses:

American Identity

There are myriad tangible and intangible ways that we define ourselves — from large scale identifiers like nation and religion, to the little things, like choosing what shoes to wear in the morning. The Identity Term looks at identity through varied American lenses, and all of these perspectives help inform our own perspectives of who we are and why we believe the things we do.  

American Journeys

From switching schools to road trips to crossing borders to westward expansion, movement and travel are quintessential parts of our individual journeys and America’s history. In this class we explore the relationship between movement and change and the impact on characters’ development and sense of self. Through these journeys, we hope to get a better sense of the role of movement and travel within the American experience and experiment.

Global History II: US and World History

From Power to Superpower (Required)

From Spanish American War to the beginning of the Cold War, this course will explore the evolution of the U.S. as a global superpower, its territorial expansion, its foreign policy and involvement in different wars and conflicts. You will examine how governments garner popular support for military and humanitarian interventions abroad and how the outcomes of these actions have affected and been affected by political decision-making and geopolitical interests.

For the second term of Global History II student choose one of the following courses:

A Time for Change

From the advent of modern steel-making and new forms of communication like the telegraph to the election of the first African American president, you will explore change and evolution in politics (role of government, gender, race), culture (music and art), and technology and examine how the U.S. developed as the nation it is today. This course is a bird’s eye view of major political, cultural, social, scientific, and technological changes that have affected the nation and the world at large.

Economic Powerhouse

With its national debt rising relative to its increasing productivity, the United States has recently been supplanted by China as the world’s largest economy. What has been the impact of the U.S. economy and its deficit on American society in terms of both growing prosperity and economic inequality? What is its role in a globalized world? How have economic interests and institutions shaped and influenced American political decision-making? You will examine the structures of the U.S. economy, their domestic and global effects, and how the U.S. became an economic powerhouse.

Math: Algebra II A and B

Algebra II A and B

Algebra II is a continuation of symbolic reasoning and understanding of mathematical models from Algebra I. The first term builds on topics such as polynomials and quadratic functions. In the second term, students will extend their algebraic reasoning to include topics such as nonlinear systems of equations, logarithmic functions, and exponential relationships.

 

An honors-level curriculum is offered to all students at the start of each term. The honors curriculum demands that those students explore and understand aspects that are more abstract or complex (both conceptually and mathematically) while completing more challenging projects and assessments.

 

Prerequisites: Algebra I

Math: Geometry

This course takes a discovery-based approach to Euclidean geometry, allowing students to develop an understanding within the context of explorations and applications. Coding will play a significant role in helping students develop their logical reasoning skills.

 

Prerequisite: Algebra 2 and departmental permission. Offered at the Honors and S1 levels. Honors level requires departmental permission.

Modern Language: Chinese I

This introductory course for Mandarin Chinese is designed for students who have no previous exposure to the language. It stresses the building blocks of spoken and written communication- pronunciation, tones, stroke order and radical recognition. Students will be able to engage in basic daily interactions in Chinese using speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. Grammar is introduced incrementally through storytelling as functional chunks for meaningful communication. Vocabulary is practiced in a thematic and communicative way, and the topics that are discussed include: introductory greetings, family, dates and time, hobbies, visiting friends, making plans, studying Chinese and school life. Students will also study cultural and historic elements of the Chinese-speaking world. Audio and video materials, computer software, games, projects, and presentations foster student interaction and participation. By the end of the first year, students should know approximately 300 words.

Modern Language: French I

This introductory course provides students with the basic skills to read, write, speak and understand introductory-level French. The emphasis of the class is to acquire language through constant exposure to comprehensible input with the use of storytelling and reading. In the second term, the teacher uses French exclusively in class. Vocabulary will be taught communicatively through stories and with some thematic units including greetings, telling time, weather, school, sports, food, making plans, family, and clothing. Grammar will be acquired mainly through listening and reading, although there will be some direct instruction. Students completing this class will be able to comfortably use the present tense of common regular and irregular verbs, articles, subject pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, commands, question formation, possessive adjectives and more.

Modern Language: Spanish for Native Speakers

This course offers heritage speakers of Spanish the opportunity to study Spanish formally in an academic setting. In this course, students will review grammar structures and develop an academic vocabulary that will help them critically analyze a text, write essays, and acquire new information in different content areas. Students will examine linguistic concepts and socio-cultural issues, developing a greater understanding of their Hispanic heritage. Students will develop their ability to think, write and speak maturely and persuasively in Spanish as they debate a variety of contemporary polemics. The instructional approach integrates language and content with an emphasis on grammar and acquisition of new vocabulary, as well as developing techniques to write academic papers in Spanish.

Two terms course.

Modern Language: Spanish I

This introductory course provides students with the basic skills to read, to write, to speak, and to understand introductory-level Spanish. Vocabulary is practiced in a thematic and communicative way, and the topics discussed include: introductory greetings, friendship, school, sports, leisure activities, food, family, clothing, the home, and health. Grammar is learned incrementally, and the topics introduced include: indefinite and definite articles, subject pronouns, the present tense of regular verbs, the present tense of irregular verbs, adjective agreement and placement, possessive adjectives, direct and indirect objects, and the preterit tense of regular verbs. Students also study aspects of various Spanish-speaking countries. Audio and video materials, computer software, games, projects, and presentations foster student interaction and participation.

Performing Arts: Acting - Intermediate

Intermediate Acting continues the actor’s process through warm-up exercises, rehearsal techniques and games, improvisation, and scene work. Students learn to discover their inner resources and use them to inform their acting work. Students’ work will focus on actions and objectives, sense memory, subtext, and character analysis and creation. Individual and group exercises culminate in scene work from comic and dramatic plays.

 

Two Term Course

Prerequisite: Foundations of Theatre or permission of instructor

Open to Grade Levels: 10, 11, 12

Performing Arts: Choral - B-Side A Cappella

B-Side A Cappella builds on and further develops the skills introduced in Circa and A Cappella Foundations while introducing a cappella vocal arranging and improvisation. Students will begin the course by developing vocal technique through warm-up exercises, reading music and exploring diverse repertoire. Throughout the course, they will learn how to work independently in smaller groups and will be given leadership opportunities in weekly rehearsals. The aim of the course is to prepare students to arrange and rehearse a cappella vocal music independently and to perform in public concerts throughout the two terms. This course can be taken more than once.

 

Two Term Course.  Can be taken for 1 Term if in conjunction with A Cappella Foundations

Prerequisite: Any Upper School choral ensemble or permission of the instructor.

Open to Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12.

Performing Arts: Instrumental Ensemble I

Instrumental Ensemble is open to all instruments including strings, woodwinds, brass and rhythm section (piano, guitar, bass, percussion). This performing arts course strives to build a strong foundation for the student musician. Students will study and play a wide range of repertoire with a focus on building technical skills while exploring the cultural and historical context of the repertoire. This course utilizes components from the classical music traditions as well as contemporary styles such as jazz and blues as vehicles to develop students’ technique and creative processes. Class material will integrate music theory, instrumental technique, rehearsal/performance skills, and improvisation skills. The ensemble will perform in formal mandatory concerts throughout the year. Students should be capable of playing their instrument independently with at least one full year of private lessons and/or ensemble experience. Weekly individual lessons on their instruments are available on campus to students for an additional fee. Financial aid information for private lessons is available upon request.

 

Two Term Course

Prerequisite: One year experience with private lessons and/or ensemble experience.

Open to all grade levels.

Performing Arts: Instrumental Ensemble II

The Instrumental Ensemble II course builds on and further develops the skills introduced in Instrumental Ensemble I. This ensemble is open to all instruments including strings, woodwinds, brass and rhythm section (piano, guitar, bass, percussion). Students will study and play a wide range of repertoire with a focus on building technical skills while exploring the cultural and historical context of the repertoire. This course utilizes components from the classical music traditions as well as contemporary styles such as jazz and blues as vehicles to develop students’ technique and creative processes. Class material will integrate music theory, instrumental technique, rehearsal/performance skills, and improvisation skills.The ensemble will perform in formal mandatory concerts throughout the year. Weekly individual lessons on their instruments are available on campus to students for an additional fee. Financial aid information for private lessons is available upon request.

 

Two Term Course

Prerequisite: Instrumental Ensemble I, Ikonoclastic or placement audition.

Visual Art

In this class you will have the opportunity to work in all the visual art studios and with all the visual art faculty. Identify your own artistic interests, build on past creative experiences, and develop the technical skills you need to make your ideas visible. Instruction will cover a range of materials, tools, and techniques. Regular discussion of The World of Art and Art History will provide context for our work. Critiques, documentation, and presentation will be essential elements of the class, with an emphasis on both process and product. Try something new or pursue your lifelong passion.

 

This class may be taken more than once. No prerequisite


One Term Courses

These courses meet one term, Fall, winter, or spring and earn 5 credits each. English and history students seeking Honors designation sign contracts in the first term of next year to earn that credit.

BVR-X: Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurs drive our nation’s economy and lead the way when it comes to both job creation and innovation. This class will expose students to all elements of a startup company, including market research, writing a business plan, building financial projections, securing funding, pitching the business to outsiders, and launching a product. Students will work regularly with founders of startups (both successful and unsuccessful) as well as venture capitalists and other investors of early-stage companies. Students will work in teams to develop an idea for a new and innovative company, and, at the end of the course, will pitch their ideas to local venture capitalists. Companies must be designed not only to be profitable but also to make a positive impact on an industry or on society.

 

Open to 10th, 11th and 12th graders – Prerequisites: None

BVR-X: Game Design

What makes a great game? The right balance of strategy and luck? A compelling story and an immersive experience? Unique rules and mechanics? In this course, after analyzing successful board games, card games, and video games, students will generate their own ideas and create virtual and/or physical prototypes. Storytelling, coding, graphic design, artificial intelligence, and systems thinking will all be incorporated within this course.

Open to 10th, 11th and 12th graders – Prerequisites: None

BVR-X: Universal Logic

Are there certain patterns and relationships that appear over and over again in the real world? Is there a hidden logic behind the way that things work? Do ideas evolve in the same way that living things evolve? Can we use a mix of math, science, art and code to help us see new connections, gain a deeper understanding of the world and predict the future more accurately? Topics may include biomimicry, neural networks and genetic algorithms.

Open to 10th, 11th and 12th graders – Prerequisites: None

BVR-X: Video Production

If you want to make a short film, this class is for you.  Short films are often created for screening at film festivals; they are experimental and unconventional in style.  From generating an idea, creating a storyboard, capturing footage, to learning the craft of editing image and sound on a timeline, you will explore the main elements of video production.  In this course, we will analyze and deconstruct selective short films, contemporary commercial films, and we will take a close look at the youth-made video phenomenon.

Open to 10-12 grades. No prerequisites.

Independent Study

Students have the opportunity to explore English, History, Mathematics, Science, Language, or Arts topics of interest under the supervision of a member of the appropriate department. After designing a project with a faculty member, the student presents a formal proposal to the Department Heads for approval. (An Independent Study may not duplicate the content of another course already being offered by the department because of schedule conflicts.) The student works in his or her own time and meets with the specified department member during one scheduled period per week for discussions and planning. Application forms are available from the Upper School Director. Proposals must have been submitted by the regular course selection dates.

Math: Precalculus - Functions

In this course, students will take a deeper look at various families of functions: rational, radical, exponential, logarithmic, parametric and polynomial. Students will learn about the ways in which domain, range, continuity, inverses, composition and transformation apply to those functions. Students will also have opportunities to analyze real-world data and generate predictive models. Topics from discrete math are often included in this course, as well.

 

Prerequisites: Algebra II and Geometry. Honors level requires departmental permission.

Offered at the Honors and Standard levels. Recommendations made by the department.

Math: Precalculus - Trigonometry

Students in this course will learn about angle measurement, periodic behavior, and a range of applications related to both right triangle and circular trigonometry. Analytic geometry and polar coordinates are often included in this course, as well. Prerequisites: Algebra II and Geometry. Honors level requires departmental permission.

 

Offered at the Honors and Standard levels. Recommendations made by the department.

Modern Language: Advanced Chinese

In Advanced Chinese, students will continue to develop their reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. At this level, students have greater autonomy with the language and are encouraged to use it creatively and authentically. Grammar is studied incrementally through storytelling as functional chunks for meaningful communication. Vocabulary is practiced in a thematic and communicative way, and the topics that are discussed include: dining, shopping, asking for and giving directions, and expressing opinions. Students will study the culture and diversity of the Chinese-speaking world in the form of culturally rich images, videos, music, and some authentic texts. Audio and video materials, computer software, games, projects, skits and presentations foster student interaction and participation.

Prerequisites: Demonstration of mastery of Intermediate Chinese skills, usually 10 or 15 credits of Intermediate Chinese and Departmental Permission.

Cuisine and Culture: Students will learn vocabulary related to groceries, ingredients, dining out and the kitchen. They will learn different expressions as well as units of measurement used in Chinese-speaking countries. They will also learn about the typical dining etiquette.

Travel and Transportation: Students will learn practical topical vocabulary around travel, asking for and giving directions while developing their skills of reading authentic Chinese signs, understanding Mandarin of various accents and expanding their vocabulary.

Health & Environment: Students will explore topics including individuals’ wellbeing, exercise, nutrition, access to healthcare, and the interrelationships between human activity and the natural as well as built environmental change.

Learning Chinese Through Media: Through various sources of Chinese media including authentic images, students will learn to discuss new topics from popular culture in China to globalization. Students will also gain more understanding of regional cultural differences in Chinese speaking areas.

Modern Language: Advanced French

Prerequisites: Demonstration of mastery of Intermediate French skills, usually 10 or 15 credits of Intermediate French. Departmental Permission Required.

French Theater:In this class, students will explore plays from various centuries and compare and contrast how French theater has evolved. What brought about these differences in both themes and in style? Students will delve into works by Marcel Pagnol, Molière and other Francophone playwrights. Students will analyze what themes came up in these plays which represented the reality in France and the world in those centuries. Through close readings of  plays, performances, videos and other sources, students will explore ways French theater has evolved.

 

Art Culture & Current Events of the Maghreb: This class focuses on contemporary issues taking place in the French Maghreb: Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. Students will use contemporary texts, films, music, and art to learn more about this region which was colonized by France. The Maghreb is a region where both Arabs and ‘Berbers’ have lived for centuries and a place that Jews and Muslims have called home. Students will engage in debates, write blog posts, keep a journal, and do presentations on various current topics such as the situation in Western Sahara, what it means to have been colonized in the Maghreb, the tension between the indigenous people of the Maghreb and the Arabs, race and identity, post colonization, the role of religion, just to name a few topics. The class will be taught entirely in French. Works studied will include stories by Tahar Ben Jelloun, Fatima Mernissi, Kiffe Kiffe Demain, and La Civilisation, Ma Mère as well as Music by Cheb Khaled and Idir, films by Yamina Benguigui and Nabil Ayouch, Art by Andre Elbaz and Yto Barrada.

 

The Francophone World: Western and Central Africa:Students will be exposed to the many identities, traditions, and cultures of the Francophone world. The course will begin with a historical review of how the Francophone world came to be, focusing on Western and Central Africa. Through film, literature and the study of current events, students will understand how the relationships between France and its former colonies have changed and continue to evolve in a post-colonial world.

 

Revolutions: France, Haiti and Beyond: This course will look at Revolutions across the Francophone world and their effects on national identity. We will begin with the enlightenment philosophy that fueled the French Revolution and other revolutions since. We will look at significant moments in and the causes and aftermaths of the French Revolution, the Haitian Revolution and other revolts and revolutions across the Francophone world. We will look at these revolutions through different lenses using a variety of primary and secondary sources, from official documents to novels, plays, movies and more. The class will also address current conflicts happening in the Francophone world such as in Mali and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

 

Modern Language: Advanced Spanish

Prerequisites: Demonstration of mastery of Intermediate Spanish skills, usually 10 or 15 credits of Intermediate Spanish. Departmental Permission Required.

Boston Latino: This course is designed to allow students to refine their Spanish language skills while learning about the Latino communities in the Greater Boston area. One of the goals for this course is to inspire global learning in our immediate surroundings. Some of the class activities will include visits to museums, oral histories, guest speakers, and collaborative as well as independent projects.

Environments in Crisis: This course focuses on current environmental challenges across Latin America. Students will be encouraged to analyze the connections between the social contexts and contemporary environmental crises. Through case studies, students will explore the interrelationships between human activity and environmental change. The topics to be studied will include the destruction of the rainforest, water pollution, exploitation of natural resources, habitat destruction and endangered species. Students will examine how social media, community engagement, and advocacy initiatives have played key roles in the positive outcomes of environmental problems.

Gender & Society in the Spanish Speaking World: In this course, students will study gender roles and inequality throughout the Spanish-speaking world. Through literature, film, current events, and personal stories, students will have an opportunity to think critically about the impact that gender has on individuals, families, and societies. Students will be expected to demonstrate their understanding and express their opinions in discussions, essays and projects. One of the goals for the course is for students to make connections to their surroundings and and to effectively leverage social to actively express their views.

Social Justice in Latin America: In this course, students will investigate the key social justice issues facing the Spanish-speaking populations of the Americas. We will examine struggles for equity among various groups, including indigenous populations, political dissidents, and the poor and disenfranchised. Using a variety authentic sources from the media, such as news articles, documentaries, music, literature and poetry, we will compare and contrast the multiple perspectives of people of Latin American descent. Students will be expected to demonstrate their understanding and express their opinions in discussions, essays and projects. One of the goals of this course is for students to understand the societal forces that shape the beliefs and attitudes of diverse groups of people.

Modern Day Colombia: While discovering what Colombia is like today economically, socially and culturally, students will gain a better understanding of the country as a whole from different angles. Students will research and learn about the drastic changes that have taken place in the last twenty years, especially in certain regions, that have revamped and revived Colombia to as it stands today.

Voices from Latin America: Storytelling has long been a powerful way in which communities share, process, and reflect upon their histories and personal experiences. In this course, students will work with the Spanish language podcast Radio Ambulante (think This American Life in Spanish) as well as other narrative forms, such as oral histories, film, and music, to explore varied Latin America experiences through highly engaging stories. The goals of this course are to broaden and deepen our understanding of the varied Latin American experience and to explore how the medium of podcasting and other storytelling formats are used to shape and share narratives.

Modern Language: Foundations of Chinese

Foundations of Chinese builds on students’ basic proficiency established in Chinese I. Students may enroll in this course having demonstrated proficiency equivalent to completion a full-year high school course. This course will continue to develop students’ listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. Grammar is studied incrementally through storytelling as functional chunks for meaningful communication. Vocabulary is practiced in a thematic and communicative way, and the topics that are discussed include: hobbies, weather, dining, celebrations, shopping and asking for directions. Students will continue to study the culture of the Chinese-speaking world in the form of language use, traditions and current events. Audio and video materials along with computer software, games, projects, and presentations will be used to foster student interaction and participation. The following non-sequential, Foundations of Chinese courses will be offered in 2018-2019. Most students will want to sign up for both courses in order to be prepared for Intermediate Chinese the following year.
Prerequisites: Demonstration of mastery of Chinese I skills. Departmental Permission Required.

Make a Good First Impression: Students will learn to introduce themselves in culturally appropriate ways and learn about formal and informal speech.

Friends from the Start: Students will learn vocabulary related to background information, hobbies, leisure time and celebrations.

Modern Language: Foundations of French

In Foundations of French, students will continue to develop their language skills through reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Vocabulary will be taught through stories and accessible texts chosen around the themes of each one-term class. The class will be driven by comprehensible input; in other words, listening and reading that is understandable. Through readings and research students will also expand their cultural understanding of France and the Francophone world. Students completing this class will be able to comfortably use verbs in the passé composé and imperfect, direct and indirect pronouns, reflexive verbs, some relative pronouns and negative expressions. Students will show the language that they can produce creatively through writing assignments, videos and projects.

Prerequisites: French 1 or MS French C. Most students will want to sign up for two of the following 5-credit courses in order to be prepared for Intermediate French the following year.

The Marketplace: Students will develop their oral and written skills in French as they learn about the buying and selling of goods in the French speaking world. From groceries and clothing to hotels and restaurants, students will learn to barter, compare and contrast. Students will learn vocabulary related to groceries, ingredients and cooking. They will also learn about typical prepared foods that can be found in the marketplaces of francophone countries.

Everyday Life: Students will get a chance to compare their lives to those of French and Francophone teens today. By the end of the term, students should be comfortable describing their daily lives, from simple morning routines to hobbies and habits.

Human Rights: Focusing on 3 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, students will develop their oral and written skills in French. From access to food to the right to education, students will be exposed to new vocabulary and grammatical structures. While the course will have an overall global view of these issues, particular attention will be given to issues concerning the Francophone world.

Modern Language: Foundations of Spanish

In this course, students will continue to develop their reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. Vocabulary is practiced in a thematic and communicative way. Grammar is learned incrementally, and the topics that are discussed include: the present progressive tense, direct and indirect object pronouns, estar + adjectives, reflexive verbs, verbs like gustar, comparatives and superlatives, the imperfect tense and the preterite tense. Students will study the culture of the Spanish-speaking world in the form of language use, customs, celebrations, art, historical figures, and current contributors to Latin American and Spanish society through a series of two or three one-term Foundations of Spanish courses. Most students will want to sign up for two of the following 5-credit courses in order to be prepared for Intermediate Spanish the following year. Course topics are briefly outlined below.

Prerequisites: Spanish 1 or MS Spanish C.  

Social Life: Students will study vocabulary related to family, friends and social life in the Spanish-speaking world. Students will build their communication skills as they tell stories about family and friends.

The Marketplace: Students will develop their oral and written skills in Spanish as they learn about the buying and selling of goods in the Spanish speaking world. From groceries and clothing to hotels and restaurants, students will learn to barter, compare and contrast.

Cuisine & Culture: Students will learn vocabulary related to groceries, ingredients and the kitchen. They will learn different expressions as well as units of measurement used in Spanish-speaking countries. They will also learn about the typical gastronomy of different countries.

Customs and Celebrations: In this course, students will explore different traditions and celebrations practiced in Spanish-speaking countries. They will also learn to talk about their own customs and experiences.

Travel & Tourism: In this course students will know about different countries with Spanish-speaking populations, their most important historic places, the urban and rural environment and will also practice the necessary skills and vocabulary to plan a trip and make reservations.

Modern Language: Intermediate Chinese

In Intermediate Chinese, students continue to develop their reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. At this level, students have greater autonomy with the language and are encouraged to use it creatively and authentically. Grammar is studied incrementally through storytelling as functional chunks for meaningful communication. Vocabulary is practiced in a thematic and communicative way, and the topics that are discussed include: making recommendations, giving directions, expressing doubt and certainty, and expressing opinions. Students will study the culture and diversity of the Chinese-speaking world in the form of culturally rich images, videos, music, and some authentic texts. Audio and video materials, computer software, games, projects, skits and presentations foster student interaction and participation.

 

Prerequisites: Demonstration of mastery of Foundations of Chinese skills, usually 10 or 15 credits of Foundations of Chinese and Departmental Permission. Students will eventually need to take at least two of the Intermediate level courses.

 

Home, School and Work: Students will learn to talk about their life at home, school and their plans for their future education and careers. They will learn the necessary vocabulary to express their likes and dislikes concerning their present life, education and future goals.

Meeting Our Needs: Students will discover vocabulary related to people’s feelings, physical and mental states, courses of actions and routines. They will also learn about people’s lifestyles and customs in China and other Chinese-speaking regions.

Modern Language: Intermediate French

In Intermediate French, students will improve their reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. At this level, students have greater autonomy with the language and are encouraged to use it creatively and authentically. Vocabulary is acquired through exposure to authentic texts and communicative practice, and the topics that are explored include: making recommendations, expressing doubt and certainty, and expressing opinions. Grammar is refined incrementally. Students will learn a few more tenses while refining their written and oral communication. The class will use more authentic texts and documents from the Francophone world to guide both language learning and discussions. Students will study culture and diversity in the form of current events, film, music, and famous novels and stories.

Prerequisites: Demonstration of mastery of Foundations of French skills, usually 10 or 15 credits of Foundations of French. Most students will want to sign up for two of the following 5-credit courses in order to be prepared for Advanced French the following year.

France: A Nation of Regions: As a country, France is known for, among many other things, its cheese and gastronomy; but each dish and each cheese comes from its own distinct region. What makes a country roughly the size of Texas have so many distinct regions with their own distinct cultures? In this class we will look at the regions of France and see what makes them unique and proud including gastronomy, art, poetry, music, literature and history. We will look at the French idea of terroir and why the foods from one area are unique to that area and cannot be reproduced elsewhere. The class will also look at how the French government and the regions themselves attempt to preserve their cultural heritage in the face of a changing world and globalization.

Action and Romance: This course will use the abbreviated version of the classic play “Cyrano de Bergerac.” The story will act as a starting point, allowing students to build mastery in the future and conditional tenses by reworking and re-imagining the tale. Additionally, students will be exposed to new tenses and review the past tense.

Place & Identity: Students will explore cultural identity and how it is related to place. We will look at themes such as immigration and rural vs urban environments. Students will look at a variety of authentic sources that explore places and the people that inhabit them including Butterfly in the City and Jean de Florette, as well as representations of place and identity in poetry and music. Finally, we will look at how places have influenced and been represented in art.

Technology In Our Lives: Students will be introduced to the vocabulary of technology and social media. Additionally, students will be given the opportunity to research and discuss how technology and social media have affected our everyday life, the factors that have allowed for recent technological advances, as well as any moral and ethical implications. Student created products will include both written and oral communication using different platforms, allowing for a thorough review of foundational grammar, as well as future and conditional tenses.

Modern Language: Intermediate Spanish

In Intermediate Spanish, students continue to develop their reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. At this level, students have greater independence with the language and are encouraged to use it creatively and authentically. Vocabulary is acquired in a thematic and communicative way. Grammar is practiced incrementally, and the topics that are practiced include: preterite and imperfect, familiar, formal and nosotros commands, future and conditional, present subjunctive. Students also study the culture of the Spanish-speaking world in the form of authentic literature, historical and literary figures, customs, celebrations, and music. Audio and video materials, Skype conferences, computer software, games, projects, and presentations foster student interaction and participation.

Prerequisites: Demonstration of mastery of Foundations of Spanish skills, usually 10 or 15 credits of Foundations of Spanish. Most students will want to sign up for two of the following 5-credit courses in order to be prepared for Advanced Spanish the following year.

Health & Wellness: In this course, students will explore topics including exercise and eating habits, access to healthcare, and the cultural context and politics of food.

Me, Myself and I: In this course, students will explore their personal histories and origins, relationships with their communities, how their choices shape their future.

Urban Life: In this course, students will explore changing landscapes, displaced communities, and migration in the context of the Spanish speaking world.

Storytelling: In this course, students will explore aspects of storytelling including short stories, journalism, poetry, and oral histories and the art of the interview.

Business & Entrepreneurship: In this course, students will explore how Hispanic and Latino businesses shape communities, creating business plans tailored to the needs of Spanish-speaking communities, and designing, producing, and marketing products.

Performing Arts: Choral - A Cappella Foundations

A Cappella Foundations will introduce students to the fundamentals of a cappella singing, including vocal technique, music literacy, and artistic expression. Students will begin the term working on developing their voices through warm-up exercises, vocal improvisation and music reading. They will also cultivate a working knowledge of fundamental music theory. Throughout the course, students will learn how to listen for tuning and ensemble blend during rehearsal. The aim of the course is to develop confident musicians and prepare for a public concert at the end of the term. This course can be taken more than once.

 

One Term Course

Prerequisite: No prerequisite

Open to Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12.

Performing Arts: Choral - B-Side A Cappella

B-Side A Cappella builds on and further develops the skills introduced in Circa and A Cappella Foundations while introducing a cappella vocal arranging and improvisation. Students will begin the course by developing vocal technique through warm-up exercises, reading music and exploring diverse repertoire. Throughout the course, they will learn how to work independently in smaller groups and will be given leadership opportunities in weekly rehearsals. The aim of the course is to prepare students to arrange and rehearse a cappella vocal music independently and to perform in public concerts throughout the two terms. This course can be taken more than once.

 

Two Term Course.  Can be taken for 1 Term if in conjunction with A Cappella Foundations

Prerequisite: Any Upper School choral ensemble or permission of the instructor.

Open to Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12.

Performing Arts: Choral - Circa - Women's Vocal Ensemble

Circa introduces female singers to the fundamentals of ensemble singing, including vocal technique, music literacy, and artistic expression. Students will begin the term working on developing their voices through warm-up exercises, music reading, and vocal improvisation. They will also cultivate a working knowledge of fundamental music theory. In Circa, we will study and perform music of different styles, ranging from classical to pop. Interested students will be given leadership opportunities in weekly rehearsals such as leading vocal warm-ups or serving as section leaders. The aim of the course is to develop confident musicians and prepare for a public concert at the end of the term. This course can be taken more than once.

 

One Term Course

No prerequisite.

Open to Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12.

Performing Arts: Technical Theater - Mainstage Design Independent Study

Mainstage Design Independent Study is a course for students with experience in Theatrical Design who are ready to design or assistant design on a mainstage production at Beaver. Students will learn about and utilize design, rendering tools, and communication strategies while gaining an assistant designer or designer resume credit. The successful student would practice skills and strategies related to communication, planning, and collaboration, as well as exercise creative thinking and problem solving methods essential to producing a theatrical design. Students taking this course must also take the Technical Theater Afternoon Activity in the same term. This course can be taken more than once.

 

One Term Course

Prerequisite Tech Theater – Design & Tech Studio and permission of instructor.

Science: Biology Applications - Neuroscience

The most basic function of the brain is to keep  you alive. Your 100 billion neurons regulate breathing, heart rate, hunger and sleep cycle. But perhaps what fascinates us the most about the human brain is how it goes beyond these basic functions and generates emotions, perceptions, and thoughts that guide behavior. In this course, we will take a deep dive into brain science, exploring everything from the biochemistry of a neuron, to the latest research on psychological disorders like depression and addiction. Topics in this course include anatomy and physiology, synaptic transmission, neuroscience, perception and learning, behavior and cognition, and psychology.

 

Prerequisites: Biology Foundations. Honors section with departmental permission.

Science: Biology Foundations - The Structure & Function of Life

From the development of antibiotics to solar panels, the living world has provided countless solutions to the most challenging problems we have faced as a human race. These solutions have all been developed from a deeper understanding of the relationship between structure and function, a major theme in biology. Using the lens of the microbiome, this course gives students the opportunity to study this relationship, beginning at the molecular level and continuing up through the cellular and organismal levels. More specifically, topics to be covered include biochemistry, enzymes, cellular biology, genetics, evolution, and comparative anatomy and physiology.

Prerequisites: Chemistry Foundations. Honors section with departmental permission.

Science: Chemistry Applications - Quantitative Analysis

In Quantitative Analysis, students will build on the basic chemical concepts and skills learned in the foundations course. The concept of a mole will be explored and students will use stoichiometry to predict and analyze products of chemical reactions. Students will be able to assess their experimental efficiency by determination of percent yield in the different reactions/experiments. Additionally, students will explore acids and basis as well as gas laws through both conceptual and quantitative lenses.

Prerequisites: Chemistry Foundations. Honors section with departmental permission.

Science: Chemistry Foundations - Atoms and Reactions

Chemistry Foundations covers essential core content, while providing hands on opportunities for students to learn how to think like a chemist. In this course, the structure and bonding characteristics of atoms are emphasized. The organization of the Periodic Table will be explored as students discover common characteristics between families of atoms. Topics covered include atomic structure and theory, ionic and covalent bonding, molecular geometry, balancing chemical equations, and classifying types of reactions. Students will learn to identify clues that indicate a chemical change is taking place, and to predict and test reaction products. Students begin to develop skills around formalizing scientific writing skills. The course will culminate with a research project that incorporates atomic structures and applications..

 

Prerequisites: Conceptual Physics A & B or departmental permission. Honors section with departmental permission.

Science: Engineering Design Foundations - Tools and Processes

Engineering Design Foundations is designed as an introductory class that does not depend on any prior knowledge. This course provides a general introductory experience with engineering design techniques, focusing on the creative design process and providing a strong foundation in project work and presentations. The introduction of basic design in this course is intended to stimulate the student’s insights and understandings concerning both mechanical and electrical design and the relationship of the design process and project management to the final product. The student will develop the necessary technical skills to communicate ideas in an understandable, efficient, and accurate manner. The topics studied during this term can be tailored to student interest, but will focus on core techniques and tools used in most engineering fields. Topics include the engineering design process, project management, hand drafting, computer aided design (CAD) software, workshop skills and safety, soldering and various electronics management, coding, and engineering report writing. This course will have several small projects designed to develop and assess the various engineering skills.

Open to 10th, 11th, and 12th graders.
Prerequisites: None.

Science: Physics and Engineering Applications

In this course, students will explore the phenomena of the mechanical world and develop the toolkit and mindset of an engineer. Learners will use their engineering skills and apply their understanding of physics to analyze situations and design new solutions.

This elective explores a selection of physics concepts (based on student interests and experience, ranging from mechanics to E&M to waves), develops foundational engineering and design approaches (ranging from research and documentation to modeling and prototyping to iteration and troubleshooting), and exposes students to a variety of tools (power tools, 3D modeling and printing, laser cutting, coding and arduinos, etc.).

This course is designed for students who (a) would like to explore physics but did not take Conceptual Physics in ninth grade, (b) would like a follow-up course to freshman physics without the mathematical rigor of Advanced Physics, (c) would like an introduction to the tools and techniques of engineering.

Open to 10th, 11th, and 12th graders.

Prerequisites: Algebra II or equivalent.

Visual Art

In this class you will have the opportunity to work in all the visual art studios and with all the visual art faculty. Identify your own artistic interests, build on past creative experiences, and develop the technical skills you need to make your ideas visible. Instruction will cover a range of materials, tools, and techniques. Regular discussion of The World of Art and Art History will provide context for our work. Critiques, documentation, and presentation will be essential elements of the class, with an emphasis on both process and product. Try something new or pursue your lifelong passion.

 

This class may be taken more than once. No prerequisite


Three Term Courses

These course meet 4 days per week for 3 terms during G block and earn 10 credits.

Modern Language: Arabic I

In Arabic 1, students learn the alphabet as well as the following vocabulary: family, school, furniture, numbers, adjectives, prepositions, country and city vocab and colors. Students meet twice a week to learn how to speak and write Arabic. They work on collaborative projects which include videos, songs and skits. By the end of the year, students can describe themselves, their families, friends and home using written and spoken Arabic. Unlike our other languages, we do not have a full 3-year program in Arabic. This means that Foundations Arabic is open to any student, but only students who have fulfilled their language requirement may take Arabic as their only language class.

Modern Language: Foundations Arabic

In Foundations Arabic, students learn the present and past tense as well as vocabulary through stories. They work on reading, writing speaking and listening activities.Unlike our other languages, we do not offer a full 3-year program in Arabic. This means that Foundations Arabic is open to any student, but only students who have fulfilled their language requirement may take Arabic as their only language class. Other students must also be enrolled in a Spanish, French or Chinese in order to fulfill their graduation requirement. Once students progress satisfactorily through Foundations Arabic, ( they may enroll in Intermediate Arabic. Arabic classes will meet twice a week during G-block throughout the school year. Foundations and Intermediate Arabic are 5-credit classes.

Modern Language: Intermediate Arabic

A continuation of Intermediate Arabic. In Intermediate Arabic, students learn the future tense and continue to use the present and past tense with food and home vocabulary. Students continue to challenge themselves with Arabic stories, and they create their own plot twists and presentations based on readings. Unlike our other languages, we do not offer a full 3-year program in Arabic. This means that Intermediate Arabic is open to any student, but only students who have fulfilled their language requirement may take Arabic as their only language class. Other students must also be enrolled in a Spanish, French or Chinese in order to fulfill their graduation requirement. Arabic classes will meet twice a week during G-block throughout the school year. Foundations and Intermediate Arabic are 5-credit classes.

Performing Arts: Choral - Select Singers (Honors)

Select Singers is an all-year course for experienced singers to advance techniques in ensemble singing and develop independent music and leadership skills. The course will focus on advancing students’ knowledge of music theory, sight reading and healthy vocal technique. Students should be highly motivated and committed to learning music at an accelerated pace and be prepared to sing for public concerts in smaller ensembles. Select Singers will prepare a program of repertoire for concerts at the end of each term. This course can be taken more than once.

 

Three Term Course

Prerequisite: Audition

Open to Grade levels: 10-12.

Performing Arts: Instrumental - Ikonoclastic: All Female Ensemble

Ikonoclastic is open to all instruments including strings, woodwinds, brass and rhythm section (piano, guitar, bass, percussion). This performing arts course strives to build a strong foundation for the student musician. Students will study and play a wide range of repertoire with a focus on building technical skills while exploring the cultural and historical context of the repertoire. This course utilizes components from the classical music traditions as well as contemporary styles such as jazz and blues as vehicles to develop students’ technique and creative processes. Class material will integrate music theory, instrumental technique, rehearsal/performance skills, and improvisation skills.  The ensemble will perform in formal mandatory concerts throughout the year. Students should be capable of playing their instrument independently with at least one full year of private lessons and/or ensemble experience. Weekly individual lessons on their instruments are available on campus to students for an additional fee. Financial aid information for private lessons is available upon request.

 

Prerequisite: One year experience with private lessons and/or ensemble experience.

Open to grades 9-12.

Performing Arts: Technical Theater - Design & Tech Studio

Design & Tech Studio is a course for students interested in Technical Theater and/or Theatrical Design. Students will have the opportunity to design their own experience through a combination of projects and workshops, allowing them to learn and utilize design and production tools as well as carpentry, scenic painting, props, lighting, and sound.  Student will explore how theater artists use these tools for creative problem solving and to communicate with audience members. The successful student would gain an understanding of shop and theater safe working practices, basic construction skills, knowledge of lighting and sound instrumentation and rigging, as well as how communication, planning and collaboration are central to the health of a theater production. This course can be taken more than once.

 

Three Term Course

Prerequisite: Foundations of Theater or permission of instructor.

Open to grade levels 10, 11, 12.