In the following courses, students will employ a variety of skills and will focus on topics that organically link disciplines to one another. In a world that is increasingly interconnected, we feel strongly about giving students opportunities to grapple with complex issues and practice integrated thinking. BVR-X courses are not restricted to fixed academic disciplines but draw from a variety of fields like technology, media, science, art, and design.

Requirements

To graduate, a typical Beaver Upper School student will take 45 elective credits (9 one-term elective courses); BVR-X courses count towards those 45 credits.

Honors

BVR-X classes are not offered at the honors level.

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