What does it mean to be American? From the perspectives of indigenous people to the revolution that defined our independence to slavery and its legacy to the very cases contended today in the Supreme Court, we address the range of Americanism, the beautiful and the sordid. Students read, debate, create, reflect, act, film, write, craft, and present as ways of asking big questions, answering the questions with specific evidence, and acknowledging the complexities of those answers. Readings include fiction, non-fiction, memoir, poetry, and drama, incorporating texts that we read as a full class and texts that students choose to read in small groups.
American Morality In this course, we turn to great American writers whose work articulates contemporary America, and we use these writings to ask the questions: What does it really mean to be American? What choices did people make and why? How do we wrestle with our past as we consider the ways our characters face their futures?
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. In this term, we look at identity through varied American lenses: through journey, through challenges, through place, and through choices. All of these perspectives ultimately help inform our own perspectives of who we are and why we believe the things we do.
Integrated Math 2 students expand their algebraic reasoning and understanding of mathematical models including quadratic equations and exponential functions. Students also explore probability and build upon their knowledge of transformations, congruence, and similarity while developing logic skills through conjecture, argument, and proof. Investigations in this course build connections between all topics covered.
Prerequisites: Integrated Math 1, Algebra 1, or Foundations for Algebraic Reasoning. Offered at the Honors and Standard levels. Honors level requires departmental recommendation.
Integrated Math 3 students continue to expand their algebraic reasoning and understanding of mathematical models including complex numbers, exponential equations, and polynomials. Students also explore sampling and build upon their knowledge of solid geometry and circle theorems while building connections between all topics covered.
Prerequisites: Integrated Math 2. Offered at the Honors and Standard levels. Honors level requires departmental recommendation.
From Power to Superpower (Required) From the 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.
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, students will explore change and evolution in politics (role of government, gender, race), culture (music and art), economics and technology and examine how the U.S. developed as the nation it is today. This course provides students a bird’s eye view of American society through the lens of significant events in the 20th and 21st centuries that have affected and continue to challenge the nation and the world.
Chemistry Foundations covers essential core content, while providing hands-on opportunities for students to learn how to think like a chemist. Students learn to use the language of chemistry to describe physical and chemical changes of matter. They explore atomic structure and theory, ionic and covalent bonding, and the structure and organization of the Periodic Table in order to understand how atoms function both individually and when bonded together. In addition, students will explore the nature of chemical reactions in theory and in practice. Students begin to develop skills around formalizing scientific research and writing.
Prerequisites: Conceptual Physics A & B or departmental permission. Honors section with departmental permission.
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. This course will give students the opportunity to learn about the fundamentals of life, from the whole organism down to the molecular level. In this course, we will focus on a deeper understanding of the biological concepts of biochemistry, cellular biology, genetics, evolution, and comparative anatomy and physiology. This lab based science course will further develop scientific writing skills and help incorporate strategies to process and understand complex biological concepts.
Prerequisites: Chemistry Foundations. Honors section with departmental permission.
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 design tools. 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 as a foundation for more advanced engineering courses.
Open to 10th, 11th, and 12th graders. Prerequisites: Algebra II or equivalent.
Modern Languages Students are not placed in a specific level based on year, but rather by proficiency, meaning students from several different grades may be in the same class. Click here to see all our Modern Language offerings.
Arts Students are not placed in a specific level based on year, but rather by interest, meaning students from several different grades may be in the same class. Students can choose to take classes in either or both of the Performing Arts and Visual Arts departments. Click here to see the Performing Arts offerings. Click here to see the Visual Arts offerings.
You can create beautiful things by writing code! In this project-based course, you will learn coding fundamentals, and how to apply them to create visual art. This course treats coding as a tool, rather than a goal in and of itself – similar to an art studio that focuses on a specific medium such as charcoal or oil paint. You will learn how to write code, and the focus will be on exploring creative ideas, and the processes involved in creating both code and art. No prior coding experience is needed – coding fundamentals will be covered, and the creative, open-ended projects will provide a challenge for all experience levels.
Data can tell us fascinating, compelling, and sometimes surprising stories. Athletes and coaches use data to inform their training, politicians and lobbyists use data to sway public opinion, activists use data to recruit for their causes. In this class, we will explore some of the different stories that data can tell us, and create some stories of our own. We’ll learn how to find high quality datasets related to our topics, analysis methods which help us explore essential questions, and visual presentation techniques to help tell the stories we discover. The class will focus on data through the lens of a different real-world topic, guided by student interest.
Can entrepreneurship be the response to local and global challenges? Can it serve a purpose beyond being just a money-making endeavor? In this class, you will learn about how businesses are created and why some thrive and others fail. You will also design ideas to start your own business with empathy and a purpose in mind; business ideas that can have a meaningful, positive impact on others. This social entrepreneurship course will look at the change-making potential of people to pursue ideas, solutions, philanthropy and advocacy. You will hear from experts; analyze how businesses operate; explore Boston’s thriving entrepreneurship ecosystem; and brainstorm your own startup idea. This class will allow you to present your ideas to investors and organizations that look for purposeful social entrepreneurs to make a difference.
How does design impact how we think, learn and interact? In this course we will investigate these questions as we explore how graphic communication is woven into our daily lives. Students will gain insight into a range of graphic design applications such as branding and advertising, illustration, typography, information design, and editorial publication. Working primarily with Adobe Illustrator, students will develop their digital drawing and design skills while establishing a workflow between Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop.
How is our behavior influenced by our social environment? How does our perception of others affect what we do and our sense of identity? Whether we want it or not, people (others) influence how we act or behave (how we dress, what we say or don’t say, what we feel). In this social psychology course, we will aim to get a deep understanding of human behavior, especially interpersonal relationships. We will look at theories and findings in psychology and social psychology, will learn about key ideas, and explore some recent research and unanswered questions. This course will be driven by student interests, and will also include topics such as biases, attitudes, obedience, mental health, social identity, and prejudice, among others. We will try to understand how others affect who we are and how we behave, and if indeed “hell is other people.”
Students can opt to take this class at the Honors level.
Sports are everywhere! We love and support our teams. But what role do sports play in society and how do they influence it? Sports teams generate billions of dollars every year, and sports events gather huge crowds in celebration akin to religious rituals. This BVR-X course will look into the workings of different sports; their teams; their business models; their impact on society and how sports have reacted to societal changes and political movements. Part of this class will include meeting with sports experts, athletes, and investors to get an authentic understanding of their perspectives. To connect the theory to its reality, this course will also involve organizing and participating in different sports tournaments, and attending and/or watching some sports games throughout the term to learn more about sports rules and practices.
Students can opt to take this class at the Honors level.
You may feel confident writing a paper, 3-D printing and laser cutting, or making an oral presentation. How about managing finances, changing a flat tire, cooking and baking, writing a resume, or doing self-care? From housekeeping to repairing and from survival skills to money management, this class will help you build a “how-to guide to everyday life.” We will also analyze how some of those important skills have been historically gender- and class-assigned. We will look at cooking, managing finances, basic first aid, negotiation skills, among many others. Students will also participate in brainstorming skills they want to learn and add to this course. This class will be co-taught by different faculty/staff members and will involve collaborating with experts in these areas.
A Student-Directed Project empowers students to do an in-depth exploration of a topic of interest throughout the term.
The student designs, plans, and leads their research project in collaboration and with the guidance and support of a coach (faculty advisor). It allows students to delve deeper into their passion and to be the designer of their own learning. There is a wide range of Student-Directed Projects; they are multi-disciplinary, non-linear, and most importantly, student-created and led.
That’s what makes them so interesting.
Here are some examples of past projects:
Creating an architectural model using 3D architectural software
Through their eyes: Photo and interview series of veterans
Robosub electromagnetic linear accelerator
Acoustic pinger for Robosub
Virtual Reality game for visually-impaired persons
Creating a concept album
Dispute: Landlord-tenant board game
Multimedia journalism: Producing a podcast series
Perplex: English and Theater Study
Sensors and fiber optics: Building a fiber optic dress