English

Contemporary Poetry

The word “poetry” conjures up, for many, the likes of Sappho, Chaucer, Basho, and Whitman; not everyone, though, is aware of the present state of the genre. In this class, we will discuss our preconceived notions of poetry, deconstruct those notions, and collectively define what it means to be a poet in the new millennium. Today’s poetry landscape is populated with an incredibly broad range of styles, forms, tones, influences, and subject matters. By reading and hearing poets like Eduardo Corral, Juan Felipe Herrera, Aja Monet, Rupi Kaur, Rudy Francisco, and Danez Smith, you will find proof that language, used precisely and thoughtfully, can achieve many different goals. In addition to reading and analyzing samples from the spectrum of contemporary poetry, you will write and workshop your own poems. A willingness to take risks, to read each night, and to take an active role in class discussion is required.

Ethics in Literature

How do we make good decisions? What do we factor into these decisions? Stakeholders? Consequences? We read about characters who are faced with these dilemmas constantly, and rarely do they make decisions that fully consider all angles of the situation at hand. In this class, we will explore texts through different theoretical lenses, from utilitarianism to deontology, care ethics to virtue ethics. Discussion will help us to collectively reconsider the choices that these characters make—what they did right and where they went wrong. Coursework will also include analytical writing, debate, simulation, and case studies that will push us to think comprehensively as to whom our decisions most greatly affect. Together we will use the moral conundrums of characters in literature and film as opportunities to better examine our own ethical decision making.

Great Books

When was the last time you were responsible for picking your reading for a course? At the beginning of this class, you will generate a list of books you want to read, and then you will campaign for your favorite; after the campaign season ends, you’ll vote, and several books will win. We’ll spend the term reading them, examining them for character, theme, structure, style, and message. How does choosing the text intersect with investment in the reading? Is the text a great book? Ultimately, you decide whether the books deserve spots on the shelf and how you go about choosing your next read. You will respond to the reading in various forms of writing, class discussions, projects, and presentations.

Previous winners: 1984, Lolita, Brave New World, Catch 22, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Lord of the Flies, Scarlet Letter, On the Road, The Kite Runner, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Literature and Film

Did you like the movie or the book better? Is this a sensible question, or are we being asked to compare unlike genres? In this course we will investigate these two art forms, comparing the narrative possibilities — and limitations — of each. How do these modes of storytelling differ in terms of their effects? What can film achieve that a novel or play cannot, and vice versa? What is lost in the translation of literature into film, and what makes a “good” adaptation? We will read two novels and a play closely, and we will study a film based on each. You will think and write critically about how these stories are told on the printed page and on the screen.

Melville’s Moby Dick or, The Whale

When Herman Melville published Moby Dick, the novel was a commercial failure, met with critical disdain. Melville did not live to see the 20th century turnaround for what would be considered his greatest work. More modern critics deemed Moby Dick “The Great American Novel.” Come read this big novel, this story of Ahab, the monomaniacal captain and his quest to kill the white whale. We’ll also read what the critics wrote and virtually visit the Whaling Museum in New Bedford.

Money, Money, Money

What is money’s place in society? Why do so many students say that The Great Gatsby inspired them more than any other text? What other stories use money — or the lack thereof — as a central theme? What is the connection between money and power? What is revealed about inequity in society? What messages are sent, reinforced, and challenged? What happens when the whole system explodes? In this class you’ll read fiction and non-fiction, write, watch, and listen; and question, research, collaborate, and present.

Science Fiction

In the 1960’s, American literature experienced a formidable boom in science fiction writing. The complicated politics of the time led to “The New Wave,” a literary age of up-and-coming writers addressing America’s more contentious social and political events through the medium of science fiction. Future literary giants like Kurt Vonnegut, Isaac Asimov, and Ursula Le Guin, among many others, began incorporating science fiction modes and techniques into their novels to further dissect this phenomenon we call existence. With the advent of new film technologies, Hollywood caught on to the wave and began producing America’s first big-budget, full-length science fiction movies. After studying “The New Wave,” we will look to more recent Science Fiction studying 2 books and 4 films. We will also focus on philosophy, as Science Fiction writers/filmmakers are often philosophizing about the future of our species and the societies we’ve built.

Screenwriting

How do the stories that we write change when we know that they will be interpreted visually and audibly? In this course, students will craft compelling narratives written in the form of scripts. At least once a week, this class will meet in collaboration with Video Production. Together, we will view and critique film and brainstorm and workshop ideas, and students in Video Production will work with students in Screenwriting to adapt their screenplays to film. With an emphasis on dialogue and indirect characterization, students will learn how to use screenwriting programs to develop short films or television episodes. Over the course of the term, students will storyboard, pitch, workshop, iterate, and see their ideas be reinterpreted through the production and acting of fellow collaborators. Think you have the next great idea for a (short) screenplay? Now is your chance to give it life.

Short Stories

How does something so small pack such a big punch? Such is the nature of a short story. You’ll hone in on story elements by investigating a variety of stories and writers.  Everyone has a story to tell. You’ll experiment with turning your own stories into short fiction, and you will continue to develop analytical essay writing skills.

Songbook: My Beautiful, Dark Twisted Butterfly: Albums as Literature

Have you ever heard a song that evoked an emotional response in ways that you could not describe? Have you ever considered why strings in a pop song always take it up a slight level? Do you ever ponder how Kanye West’s chipmunk funk sparked an era of good feelings in hip-hop? If so, you’re ready to dissect some of music’s most profound works. Using the format of podcast, we will examine albums, including Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. Additionally, you will develop the skills and ability to create your own serialized podcast that examines an iconic album of your choice. In this, we will discuss and deconstruct lyrics, samples, instrumentation, cultural context, and musical and literary allusions within the works. We will leave this class not only enjoying music but learning how to read an album as one would read a book.

Storytelling

Each of us has an inner world of images, memories, and dreams. This internal landscape holds unlimited possibilities for storytelling. This course will help you explore your personal mythology, discover your own voices, and polish your writing skills. Through a variety of exercises, you will shape memory and imagination into elements of the short story: character, setting, dramatic structure, point of view, and theme. You will workshop your work both in class and by making use of Buzzword, a web-based program that offers a comprehensive editing platform.

Possible texts: stories and essays by Angelou, Boyle, Burnham, Cheever, Cunningham, Fondation, Forché, Miller, Minot, Oppenheimer, Painter, Salinger, Shae, Tolstoy, Updike, and Wolff.

The View Outside

This course explores the intersection of storytelling and the world around us. Using literature from around the world, we’ll investigate various movements — political, social, musical, historical, cultural — through language, both creatively and analytically. We will explore how these movements inject themselves into all facets of experience, from the personal to the communal and beyond.


Mathematics

Advanced Calculus

This course covers all of the topics of an introductory Calculus course, exploring concepts in depth with a greater emphasis on both the abstract aspects of calculus and its various applications in the real world. Students will be expected to enter the class with a firm grasp of all concepts covered in previous math courses.

 

Prerequisite: Precalculus and departmental permission. Offered at the Honors level only.

Calculus - Derivatives

This course includes all of the topics of an introductory Calculus course including limits, derivatives and their applications.

 

Prerequisite: Precalculus and departmental permission. Honors level requires departmental permission.

Calculus - Integrals

This course includes all of the topics of an introductory Calculus course including definite integrals, indefinite integrals and their applications.

 

Prerequisite: Calculus – Derivatives and departmental permission. Honors level requires departmental permission.

Discrete Mathematics and Advanced Topics

In this course, students will have the chance to learn a range of discrete math topics and grapple with a range of different problems that fall outside the spectrum of traditional high school mathematics. Topics covered may include finite sets and partitions, enumeration, probability, expectation, random variables, and elementary number theory, with an emphasis on applications of discrete mathematics, and fair division, voting systems, graph theory, chaos theory and non-Euclidean geometry. Students will be able to answer questions like: “how many Beaver students are involved in a theater production and in an athletic sport throughout the school year?”, “what is the probability of picking at least three red marbles out of a bag of seven white marbles and five red marbles?”, “find the value of 7 mod 4”, “if there is a car accident, what is the probability the person is between the ages of 16-21?” and “what states have both a pro basketball team and a pro hockey team?” Students will also be asked to think creatively and apply their knowledge to complex real-world problems.

Open to 11th and 12th graders or by departmental approval.

Introduction to Game Theory

Game Theory is a branch of applied mathematics that is used to evaluate various social conditions. Students in this course will learn about the mathematics behind social and strategic situations. This course will focus on topics ranging from game strategy to problems of cooperation in everyday life. Case studies in resource depletion, global warming and conflict negotiation will be included. Student work will apply theory to real strategic environments.

 

Open to 11th and 12th graders or by departmental approval.

Statistics

This course includes the gathering of data and a variety of sampling techniques, hypothesis testing, frequency distribution, normal distribution, correlation, linear regression, theoretical distributions, and inferential statistics. This course asks students to consider questions such as these: How is data summarized so that it is intelligible? How should statistical data be interpreted? How can we measure the inherent uncertainty built into statistical data? Students will be asked to collect, analyze and interpret real data to answer real questions in their areas of interest.

 

Open to 11th and 12th graders or by departmental approval.


History

Advanced Honors - Independent Research

An intensive, inquiry-based course that will require students to pursue an advanced independent course of research on a topic of their choice. Students in this small section will be expected to work through a number of multi-step research assignments that will include producing research based papers, research based presentations, and participate in a number of research challenges and research projects.  This course is designed to hone the research skills of critical thinking, problem-solving, analysis, and dissemination and is designed for the student who is interested in possibly pursuing advanced humanities research in college.

Limit per class: 12 students.

Advanced Honors - Theories of Punishment

What aspects of culture and politics promote criminal justice reform? How can the United States achieve an effective justice system that protects public safety while also confronting issues related to restoration for those impacted by crime, both the victim and the accused? Is the prison industrial complex used by the government and industry to address social, political and economic challenges? In this course, students are introduced to criminology and penology.  Students will examine historical trends, current programs related to reform, and examine the psychological impact and role that poverty, lack of mental health services, addiction, trauma, and education has had on the lives of incarcerated people. They will participate in forums led by people whose work or volunteerism is connected to addressing existing issues within the system and engage in field-based experiences. Students will explore topics of choice and design viable solutions.

Governments From Around the World

How do governments of the world work together in dealing with geopolitical issues? This course will explore the various governmental systems of the world in existence today. It will also examine why democracy thrives in some areas of the world and what factors hinder it in others. Over the course of a term, students will be exposed to governmental systems from all corners of the globe. Ultimately, through those explorations, students will critically engage with global contemporary issues and the challenges associated with the various governments in existence.

Illusions and Delusions

How have ideas of the 20th and 21st centuries revolutionized humanity? This class will examine different theories and innovations that influenced and shaped the 20th and 21st centuries in science, technology, culture and literature, and politics. How have ideas with seemingly positive implications led to negative consequences? In order to make sense of today’s cultural, political, and economic environment, this class will explore how 20th and 21st centuries’ ideas set the stage for our current times.

Moral Dilemmas - The challenge of making (the right) decisions

Have you ever wondered if a decision you made was the right one? Every day, we are faced with taking a stand on difficult moral questions. But, why do we think our opinion is morally right? In this course, you will get to critically analyze situations that affect us every day, from social media to gender and sexuality and from profiling to hating sports teams, among many topics. Be prepared to tackle challenging, real-life situations, collaborate to propose alternative solutions and perspectives, understand how our brain makes decisions, and rethink your notion of morality, right and wrong, and what we ought to do.

Race, Class, and Identity

How have we been socialized to perpetuate stereotypes and biases toward groups of people? How do gender and identity intersect with race and class? Students will examine the work of some of the most important thinkers on race, class consciousness, and identity. Students will be encouraged to engage in authentic, personal discussions and to connect their experiences to other global voices.

Religions and Beliefs

Ever wonder why, despite ideals of religious freedom and acceptance, different religious groups and religions of the world unite or lead into conflict? In this course, students will explore a wide range of religious and spiritual ideologies including their origins, beliefs/practices, and adaptations over time. Investigations into how belief systems shape contemporary politics, government, and conflict will also be explored.

Revolutionary Times

What is the reason behind major ideological and cultural revolutions? In this course, you will explore some of the most revolutionary events and ideas of their time, from the Renaissance to the Arab Spring and current day revolutions. You will analyze how people’s ideas and actions have transformed society, sometimes unintentionally, and the long-lasting global impact of these transformations. You will discuss the role of those revolutionary ideas and actions in provoking political change. You will compare and contrast their philosophical origins and political legacies and assess their achievements against their goals.

The Media and Its Influences

From the printing press to widespread use of social media, the creation of news content has been defined and redefined by the technology of its historical time. Using today’s media landscape, students will examine what qualifies as news, what ethical questions are presented in journalism, and how we are impacted today by those that craft, manipulate, and distribute the message. Students will use different media tools and platforms to question, challenge, and deconstruct media messages and their biases. Students will become better equipped to read the world and understand the news.

Theories of Justice

Is economic inequality unjust? Is the government justified in restricting your freedom if it does so to improve your life? Using philosophical ideas by which one might understand justice, students will engage in discussion, debate, and a series of project-based learning activities as they examine complex problems and develop solutions to issues that challenge some of their perspectives on fairness and the meaning of societal justice. In this course, students will explore a range of topics related to affirmative action, drug policy, corporate social responsibility, and distributive justice.


Science

Advanced Biology - Anatomy and Physiology

In this lab-based course, we will explore the integrated systems that make up the incredible human body and learn about how the structures of the body perform the functions necessary to maintain the balance of life (homeostasis). Students will continue to investigate the relationship between structure and function through dissections, projects, and discussions. We will look into the pathophysiology of diseases and disorders that compromise the functioning of our body systems and visit Harvard Medical School MedScience program once a week to apply this content to hands-on medical simulations and skill labs. 

Prerequisites: Biology Foundations and anyChem or Bio Applications course and with departmental permission.
***Open ONLY to students who have NOT attended the Harvard HMS Summer simulation program.

Advanced Chemistry – Organic Chemistry

Organic molecules are the building blocks of all life on Earth, and the carbon atom is central to the formation of this class of molecules. The importance of chemistry in biological systems will be the focus of the course. Students will investigate the chemistry of key functional groups including alcohols, carboxylic acids, amines and ethers and their role in the behavior of three primary macromolecules: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. There will be a strong emphasis on laboratory work and students will engage in experiments such as the synthesis and purification of aspirin, organic extraction of caffeine from tea, and the hydrogenation of unsaturated fatty acids.
Prerequisites: Any Chemistry Applications course. Departmental permission required. Offered at the Honors level only.

Advanced Engineering Design - Project Studio (Honors)

This course is intended to give students a more challenging and demanding environment to apply the skills they learned in either Engineering Design Foundations or at NuVu and allow them to continue to wrestle and build on solutions to real problems. This course is largely project-based, and students will be expected to use the time to research and design solutions to engineering design challenges. All projects will be teacher guided but studentled with the goal of learning and using the tools and approaches of the engineering mindset.

Open to 11th and 12th graders.
Prerequisites: Engineering Design Foundations: Tools and Process or NuVu. Departmental permission required. Offered at the Honors level only.

Advanced Physics – Electricity & Magnetism

Advanced Electricity and Magnetism is an extension of the skills and concepts learned in Conceptual Physics. These concepts will be more rigorously explored and use more sophisticated mathematical tools than were used in conceptual physics (geometry, trigonometry, functions, pre-calculus, and some calculus). The goal is to develop tools and intuition capable of describing the physical world at a very general level. The topics studied during this term include electricity, electrostatics and electric fields, magnetic fields, and the interplay between electric and magnetic fields. This course is extensively laboratory based while developing the theoretical ideas of an introductory college physics course. Students will be required to draw conclusions based on evidence gathered with such devices as batteries, bulbs, capacitors, wires, hand generators, and motors. If time allows, the course may also include electromagnetic radiation (light, x-rays, microwaves, etc.) as an extension.
Prerequisites: Conceptual Physics A and B or equivalent and departmental permission. Offered at the Honors level only.

Advanced Physics – Mechanics

Advanced Mechanics is an extension of the skills and concepts learned in Conceptual Physics. These concepts will be more rigorously explored and use much more sophisticated mathematical tools than were used freshman year (geometry, trigonometry, functions, pre-calculus, and some calculus). The goal is to develop tools and intuition capable of describing the physical world at a very general level. The topics studied during this term can be tailored to student interest but will likely draw from a list of topics including accelerated motion, vectors and projectile motion, Newton’s Laws, 2-D statics and dynamics, rotational motion, torque, and special relativity. This course includes at least one large research project in which students are required to explore a topic of interest and use their mechanics knowledge to analyze and make calculation-supported predictions for a physical situation.

 

Prerequisites: Conceptual Physics A and B or equivalent and departmental permission. Offered at the Honors level only.

Biology Applications - DNA and Genetics

DNA is often referred to as the “code of life”. This course seeks to explore what we know about how our bodies interpret and utilize our genetic code and how our understanding has changed in recent years. Included in this course will be discussions of DNA structure, function, and replication. In addition, students will be introduced to laboratory techniques that have driven our understanding of these topics, including DNA extraction, gel electrophoresis, PCR, and bacterial transformation. Emphasis on effective communication of experimental design and findings through primary source research, formal reports and presentations will also be an integral part of this course.

Prerequisites: Biology Foundations. Honors section with departmental permission.

Biology Applications - Marine Ecology

Ecology is all about relationships and interconnections. In this course, students will focus on the interdependence of living marine organisms (biotic factors) and their ocean environment (abiotic factors) and how energy flows through Earth’s systems and connects us to all living things. Topics interwoven throughout the course include: biodiversity, interdependence, chemical cycles, population biology, trophic structure, predation, competition, symbiosis, climate change and human impacts. We will use collaborative modeling, experimental design, current research, and field experiences to deepen our understanding of marine science. Field trip experiences to places such as New England Aquarium and/or Northeastern University’s Marine Biological Laboratory will help support our learning by exposing students to real world marine research.
Prerequisites: Biology Foundations. Honors level with departmental permission.

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 such as 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.

Chemistry Applications - Biochemistry

Biochemistry is all about the interplay between life’s chemical underpinnings and it’s biological dynamics. The relationships between these two topics offers us explanations for all of the phenomena that we observe in the natural world.  In this lab based course, students will explore the structure and function of proteins, molecules with critical biological functions in nutrition and metabolism. Other themes will include natural product extraction, exploration of bioactive molecules, and food chemistry.  Students will gain exposure to advanced lab based methodologies such as gel electrophoresis, column chromatography, western blotting and distillation.

Prerequisites: Chemistry Foundations and Biology Foundations. Honors section with departmental permission.

Chemistry Applications - Physical Chemistry

This interdisciplinary course will explore the physical and chemical properties of matter using two main themes: electron structure and thermodynamics.   Students will cover in this course the challenging fields of thermodynamics, thermal and chemical equilibrium, and quantum mechanics. A thorough understanding of how chemical systems behave will be gained through hands-on laboratory experiences, and students observe how these systems will respond to external stress.    Students will spend the last part of the course discussing advanced electron structures using the principles of quantum mechanics. Throughout the course, lab skills and writing will be emphasized in order to practice effective scientific communication and inquiry-based design challenges.

Prerequisites: Chemistry Foundations and Biology Foundations. Honors section with departmental permission.

Chemistry Applications - Quantitative Analysis

In Quantitative Analysis, students build on the basic chemical concepts and skills learned in the foundations course. The concept of a mole is explored and students learn to predict the products of chemical reactions. In this lab-based course, students will conduct a variety of experiments and use stoichiometry to quantitatively analyze their findings and the efficiency of their experimentation. Finally, students explore solution chemistry, including acids and bases, through both conceptual and quantitative lenses.
Prerequisites: Chemistry Foundations. Honors section with departmental permission.

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, focusing on the creative design process and providing a strong foundation in project work. 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, workshop skills, electronics, and coding. 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

Forensic Science - CSI BCDS

Forensics is the application of science to solve crimes using evidence that will be admissible in a court of law. A multidisciplinary approach that encourages analytical thinking and problem solving in biology, chemistry, and physics will be used. Students may cover the following topics: deductive reasoning, fingerprinting, qualitative analysis of substances such as fingerprints, blood, DNA, document analysis, and ballistics. Along with lab work, students may do research projects, look at the legal aspects of forensic science, take field trips, and solve mock crimes.

Open to 11th and 12th graders
Prerequisites: Biology Foundations

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.


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.


Performing Arts

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 also cultivate a working knowledge of fundamental music theory and explore the wider cultural context of the repertoire they study. 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. Weekly individual voice lessons are not required, but are available on campus to students for an additional fee. Students who are on financial aid at Beaver have the same percentage of aid applied to their private music lessons.

One Term Course
Prerequisite: No prerequisite
Open to Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12

Advanced Costume Design

Advanced Costume Design is a one-term, process-to-production course designed to prepare students for the role of Costume Designer or Draper for the Advanced Theater Production. Students will begin with script analysis and design and then work with a production team to bring the play to fruition with the Advanced Theater Acting and Design & Tech classes. Students entering this class should be highly motivated and interested in an exciting experience that requires a great deal of commitment. Recent productions include Durango and The Wooden Heart.

One Term Course – Winter
Prerequisites: Costume and Fashion Design Studio or permission of the instructor.
Open to Grade Levels: 11, 12

Advanced Design & Tech

Advanced Design & Tech is a one-term, process-to-production course designed to prepare students for 2 public performances at Beaver. The course begins by focusing on script analysis and design, and then students work as theatre technicians and designers to bring the play to fruition with the Advanced Theater Acting and Costume Design classes. Technical theater roles encompass areas such as stage management, set, light and sound design as well as technical direction and engineering and running crews. Students entering this class should be highly motivated and interested in an intense and exciting experience that requires a great deal of commitment. Recent productions include Durango and The Wooden Heart.

One Term Course – Winter
Prerequisites: Design & Tech Studio or permission of the instructor.
Open to Grade Levels: 11, 12

Advanced Theater

Advanced Theater is a one-term, process-to-production course designed to prepare students for two public performances at Beaver. The course begins by focusing on script analysis and character development and then students engage in the rehearsal process to bring the play to fruition with the Advanced Design & Tech and Costume Design classes. Acting roles are open to seniors who have completed all prerequisites. Students entering this class should be highly motivated and interested in an intense and exciting experience that requires a great deal of commitment. Recent productions include, Stop Kiss, The Heidi Chronicles, Distracted, The Shape of Things, Durango, and The Wooden Heart.

One Term Course – Winter
Prerequisites: Acting: Scene Study or permission of the instructor
Open to Grade Levels: 12

Afro-Caribbean Ensemble

In this advanced music elective students will specialize in and learn a variety of Afro-Caribbean standards. They will explore Caribbean culture and history to gain a greater understanding of the evolution of their music. Musicianship skills developed will include sight-reading, technique, improvisation, ear-training, ensemble skills, intonation and theory. Styles covered will include Calypso, Reggae, Bomba, Merengue and Son. The ensemble will perform in formal mandatory concerts throughout the year as well as some additional school forums. In addition to honing their music skills, students will make cross-cultural and historical connections. Weekly individual voice lessons are not required, but are available on campus to students for an additional fee. Students who are on financial aid at Beaver have the same percentage of aid applied to their private music lessons.

Three Term Class
Prerequisite: Ensemble II, Ikonoclastic or placement audition.
Open to grade levels: 11, 12

B-Side A Cappella

B-Side A Cappella builds on and further develops the skills learned from A Cappella Foundations while introducing a cappella vocal arranging and improvisation. Students will continue to develop their vocal technique and musicianship while exploring the wider cultural context of the repertoire they study. 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 rehearse and perform a cappella vocal music independently and to perform in one public concert each term. This course can be taken more than once. Weekly individual voice lessons are not required, but are available on campus to students for an additional fee. Students who are on financial aid at Beaver have the same percentage of aid applied to their private music lessons.

Two Term Course. Can be taken for 1 Term only 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

Beatmaking and Electronic Music

This course is for students who are interested in creating electronic music and is open to both beginners and those with experience in music production. The class will cover various facets of digital music, focusing on recording, editing, and mixing music in professional audio apps with the aim of students creating their own beats based on their musical interests. In addition to creating their own music, students will gain familiarity with pivotal electronic music in a variety of genres throughout the term, with particular emphasis placed on hip-hop and house music. Students will also have opportunities to share, discuss, and analyze electronic music that they choose themselves. No music experience is necessary.

One Term Course
No prerequisite
Open to Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12

Beginning Guitar/Piano

Have you always wanted to learn how to play the guitar or piano? Did you teach yourself how to play a few chords, but want to take the next step? This practical, non-performance based course is designed for students with little to no previous guitar/piano experience. After choosing to focus on either piano or guitar, essential skills are taught in a fun, supportive setting that allows students to develop at their own pace. The idea is to get you playing right away. By the end of the course, you will be able to play simple simple pieces, including songs that you choose yourself. This course can be taken more than once.

One Term Course
No prerequisite
Open to Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12

Choreography Foundations

This course will provide an in-depth study of movement and choreographic tools through the lens of dance as it appears in pop culture (film, live music performance, commercial hip hop, etc). Along with viewing dance through a critical lens, coursework will offer students the opportunity to develop a greater sense of body awareness, self-confidence, and self-discipline by learning how to express emotion and a point of view through movement.Through solo and group projects, students will have the opportunity to put into practice some of those elements of choreography and discover their individual voice as part of their creative process. Coursework will culminate in a final presentation that will include original compositions by the students. This class can be taken more than once.

Three Term Course
No Prerequisite required.
Open to grade levels 9,10,11,12

Chroma

Chroma is an ensemble that offers the advanced instrumentalist an in-depth study of large ensemble works across a wide range of repertoire. 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 intermediate and advanced repertoire with a focus on building technical skills while exploring the cultural and historical context of the repertoire. This course utilizes custom arrangements, taking components from the classical music tradition as well as contemporary styles such as pop and jazz as vehicles to develop students’ technique and creative processes. Class material will integrate music theory, instrumental technique, and rehearsal/performance skills.The ensemble will perform in formal mandatory concerts throughout the year. Weekly individual instrumental lessons are not required, but are available on campus to students for an additional fee. Students who are on financial aid at Beaver have the same percentage of aid applied to private lessons.

Two Term Course
Prerequisite: Instrumental Ensemble II, Ikonoclastic or placement audition.
Open to Grade Levels: 11, 12

Costume & Fashion Design Studio

Students will develop a basic understanding of the principles of costume and fashion design. Through individual projects, students will be able to explore a wide range of skills and techniques needed to successfully create and visually communicate a design through the use of research, imagery, fabric, texture, shape, color and line. Students will also have opportunities to build from designs. These designs can either be their own work or students can work building costumes for the main stage productions. Techniques students can explore through this process may include sewing, draping, pattern making, tailoring, dyeing, distressing, fabric identification, painting, and craft. Students are given the opportunity to design their own experience based on where their interests lie within costume and fashion design. Current projects include the research, design and construction of a prom dress and fulfilling the role of Design Assistant for the Middle School Musical. This class can be taken more than once.

Three Term Course
No Prerequisite required.
Open to grade levels 9,10,11,12

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. Students 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

No Prerequisites

Open to Grade Levels: 10,11,12

Ikonoclastic

Ikonoclastic is an ensemble for students who identify as female or non-binary and 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 and to expand skills for returning students.. 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. Students who are new to Beaver will be contacted by a faculty member prior to the beginning of the school year to ensure proper ensemble placement. Weekly individual instrumental lessons are not required, but are available on campus to students for an additional fee. Students who are on financial aid at Beaver have the same percentage of aid applied to private lessons.

Three Term Course
Prerequisite: One year experience with private lessons and/or ensemble experience.
Open to Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12

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. Students who are new to Beaver will be contacted by a faculty member prior to the beginning of the school year to ensure proper ensemble placement. Weekly individual instrumental lessons are not required, but are available on campus to students for an additional fee. Students who are on financial aid at Beaver have the same percentage of aid applied to private lessons.

Two Term Course
Prerequisite: One year experience with private lessons and/or ensemble experience.
Open to Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12

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 instrumental lessons are not required, but are available on campus to students for an additional fee. Students who are on financial aid at Beaver have the same percentage of aid applied to private lessons.

Two Term Course
Prerequisite: Instrumental Ensemble I, Ikonoclastic or placement audition
Open to Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12

Intermediate Acting

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

Jazz Combo

This course offers the advanced instrumentalist an in-depth study of jazz performance. This ensemble is open to all instruments including strings, woodwinds, brass and rhythm section (piano, guitar, bass, percussion). While playing a range of jazz repertoire, students will apply theory and learn strategies for interpreting and soloing over standard jazz chord changes. They will develop skills with swing phrasing, articulation, sight reading, and idiomatic ensemble traditions. Rhythm section instrumentalist (piano, guitar, bass and drums) will learn how to independently develop a range of instrument-specific parts for standard jazz repertoire. Students will build jazz vocabulary and develop their own voice as improvisers. The ensemble will perform in mandatory concerts throughout the year. Weekly individual instrumental lessons are not required, but are available on campus to students for an additional fee. Students who are on financial aid at Beaver have the same percentage of aid applied to private lessons.

Two Term Course
Prerequisite: Instrumental Ensemble II, Ikonoclastic or placement audition.
Open to Grade Levels: 11,12

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.

Scene Study

Scene Study continues to support the actor’s process through warm-up exercises, rehearsal techniques and games; but the focus is on applying techniques to scene work from scripted plays. In Term I, students explore different characters while collaborating closely with other students as actors. After further training in scene work and directing, students can also choose to both direct scenes and act during Term 2. They also continue to analyze dramatic scenes from multiple perspectives. Authors studied include: Lorraine Hansberry, Arthur Miller, Oscar Wilde, and John Patrick Shanley.

 

Two Term Course

Prerequisite: Intermediate Acting  or permission of instructor.

Open to Grade Levels: 11, 12

Select Singers (Honors)

Select Singers is an all-year course for experienced singers which aims to advance vocal technique, ensemble skills, and individual musicianship through study and performance of a wide variety of choral repertoire. Students will work in a variety of smaller groups within the ensemble in both sight-reading exercises and sectional rehearsals. 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 varied program of repertoire for concerts at the end of each term. This course can be taken more than once. Weekly individual voice lessons are not required, but are available on campus to students for an additional fee. Students who are on financial aid at Beaver have the same percentage of aid applied to their private music lessons.

Three Term Course
Prerequisite: Audition
Open to Grade levels: 10,11,12

The Actors' Showcase

This workshop is designed for the enthusiastic actor developing his/her craft. It will focus on audition material for college and theatre opportunities beyond Beaver. The course will give students an opportunity to prepare audition monologues as well as explore dramatic structure and topical themes through contemporary scene work. This course is for both the dedicated and independent drama student and students that wish to explore drama for the first time. This course will culminate in a showcase in the Black Box at the end of the term.

One Term Course – Fall
No Prerequisites.
Open to Grade Levels: 11, 12

The Drama Workshop

This one-term spring workshop is designed for the actor developing his/her craft. This course is for both the dedicated drama student and students that wish to explore drama for the first time. It will focus on exploring each student’s areas of interest and curiosity. Projects may include scene study with an emphasis on contemporary theater, college monologue preparation, directing, musical theater scenes, stand-up comedy, devised work and other forms of performance art.

One Term Course – Spring
No Prerequisite required.
Open to Grade Levels: 12


Visual Arts

2D

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 in drawing, painting, printmaking, and collage. 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. 

This class may be taken more than once. No prerequisite for 10th to 12th graders.

3D

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 in the intersection of design, craft, and building things that you can use. 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. 

This class may be taken more than once. No prerequisite for 10th to 12th graders.

Digital World

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 tools including Photoshop, Illustrator, Procreate, Autodesk Maya, and experiments in Augmented Reality. Critiques, documentation, and presentation will be essential elements of the class, with an emphasis on both process and product. 

This class may be taken more than once. No prerequisite for 10th to 12th graders.

Photography

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 the techniques of using a professional camera, editing and manipulating images in photoshop and in the darkroom, printing high resolution large scale images, and going on photo shoots off campus. 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. 

This class may be taken more than once. No prerequisite for 10th to 12th graders.

Senior Studio (Honors)

Culminating with the annual Senior Show, this class creates the community, structure, and space for the most serious artists to pursue their own work. Students taking this class have shown to be independent, dedicated artists who are prepared to bring their own personal interests to the class. No projects are assigned. Group critiques, research in contemporary art, readings, and documentation of the creative process will be major elements of the course.
Prerequisite: Open to 12th graders per recommendation by the Visual Art Department.
12th graders must take both terms.

Studio Practice

This class creates the community, structure, and space for the most serious artists to pursue their own work. Students taking this class have shown to be independent, dedicated artists who are prepared to bring their own personal interests to the class. No projects are assigned. Group critiques, research in contemporary art, readings, and documentation of the creative process will be major elements of the course.
Prerequisite: Open to 10th and 11th graders per recommendation by the Visual Art Department.
10th and 11th grades can take one or two terms.

Video Production

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 techniques in video production using professional video cameras, sound recording, composition and editing to tell a story. Regular screening and analysis of short films from the World of Art, youth media and the commercial world will provide inspiration and context for our work. Collaborations, Critiques, and Screenings will be essential elements of the class, with an emphasis on both process and product.
This class may be taken more than once.

No prerequisite for 10th to 12th graders.


BVR-X

From Local to Global Challenges: Take Action!

What connection do rising water levels on the Charles River have to do with the canals in Venice?  How can cities of the future address the challenges presented by urbanization? From local to global, what are the issues currently facing the world community? What are the political, economic, social, cultural, and environmental impacts presented by these challenges? How do we bring about change through action? In this course, students will choose to investigate issues most prevalent in the 21st Century. Using a studio-based approach, students will incorporate design thinking and project-based learning frameworks as they work collaboratively to examine, explore, evaluate, design, and create solutions to challenges facing our global humanity.

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

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

Intro to Psychology

Do you know why you think, feel and believe your thoughts, feelings and beliefs? This course will aim to give you a deeper understanding of human behavior by studying both theories and research findings in psychology. We’ll look at key ideas that are fundamental to the field and also explore recent advances and unanswered questions. Topics may include cognitive bias, the “nature versus nurture” debate, false memories, group dynamics and personality disorders.

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

Introduction to Investing

Should you invest in the common stock of Apple Inc. or Exxon Mobil? How do you decide whether to get a car loan or a lease? How do you determine how much a small business is worth? In this course, we will learn about (a) the fundamentals of the stock market, investment vehicles, and basic principles of investing, (b) key aspects of personal finance, including budgeting, credit cards, and investing for retirement, and (c) the time value of money and risk as it applies to analyzing these personal finance questions. Students will learn to create and maintain a diversified portfolio through a virtual stock exchange, and there will be opportunities for research and other projects based on student interest.

Open to 11th and 12th graders
Prerequisites: None

Project Lab

Got ideas? Awesome! This is the class for you. This BVR-X course will focus on your ideas, what you want to discuss, research, design, and create. Come build your program and explore what you want to learn. No limits.

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

Social Entrepreneurship

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, advocacy and investing opportunities, such as micro-financing. You will hear from experts; brainstorm start-up ideas; and put them into action. This class will allow you to present your ideas to investors and organizations that look for purposeful social entrepreneurs to make a difference.

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

Sustainable Design

Engineers, architects and designers are finding new ways to reduce consumption, minimize waste, use renewable resources and even create solutions that have a net positive impact on the environment. In this course, we’ll identify situations where sustainable design can be most effective. You’ll learn about successful examples such as cook stoves that dramatically reduce fuel consumption and green buildings that generate more energy than they use.

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

The Art of Code (CS)

Have you ever thought about designing your own app? Have you ever wondered how self-driving cars work? Whether you’re an experienced coder or a complete beginner, this is a chance for you to learn more. In this self-paced course, students will complete a variety of projects that deepen their understanding of the various ways in which computers can efficiently solve problems. The course has three goals: 1) create an atmosphere in which all students feel empowered to take risks, 2) help students see how computer science can be applied in other disciplines, and 3) provide students with a solid foundation for college courses in computer science.

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


Student-Directed Project (SDPs)

Student Directed Project - SDP

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
  • Haptic technologies: Force-Feedback Virtual Reality
  • Applications of integrals to analytical continuation of functions