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. 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.

BVR-X: Electronic Jewelry and Wearable Technology

Are you interested in fabricating jewelry or designing a watch that might monitor a body signal. In this course you will investigate the fundamentals of electronics, wearable technology, and jewelry design. Over the term you have the opportunity to build new skills such as metal fabrication, circuit design, and the fundamentals of sensors. Since this course will be self-paced, students who are already familiar with topics like soldering, circuits, basic code, and design will have the freedom to explore their own projects and push their understanding further.

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: Intro to Entrepreneurship - Your idea into action!

This entrepreneurship course will go beyond teaching students how to start a new business. We will focus on learning how to be entrepreneurial as a dispositional skill for the 21st century. Together, we will explore the power behind critical thinking and the transformative nature of starting something. This course provides learners with the space to rethink their strengths, motivation, and strategies to launch projects to change the world within and around them. Joining this course is making a commitment to stop talking about our ideas and start putting them into action.

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

BVR-X: 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 or by departmental approval (from math or science).

Prerequisites: None

BVR-X: Open Challenges: Think, Design, Solve!

In this design thinking class, you will tackle real-life challenges and work to problem-solve them. You will choose which challenges you want to work on, what questions you want to answer, and what ideas and designs you will present. You will put your skills to good use and will work collaboratively to explore authentic issues and create life-changing experiences.

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

BVR-X: Podcasting

In this course, students will develop and produce their own podcasts on topics of their choosing.  By listening to and studying professional podcasts, students will learn about both technical and narrative components.  We will also examine the particular challenges and opportunities presented by the podcasting format.

Open to 10th, 11th and 12th graders

Prerequisites: None

BVR-X: 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

BVR-X: The Post Truth Era - Philosophies of Reality, Fiction, and the Space Between

Scholars around the globe have asserted that society has entered a time of “post-truth,” and Oxford Dictionaries declared “post-truth” to be the word of the year for 2016. How might we navigate a society like this? In this course, students will engage with the works of philosophers from across disciplines to think critically about questions of truth. We will review and analyze multi-modal culture through the lenses of philosophy, math, science, religion, and more to ask questions about the nature of truth, how we define it, and whether or not society has actually left it behind. Students will have the opportunity to research and discuss what is perhaps the most defining characteristic of our current moment. Come to class with an open mind, curiosity, and a readiness to analyze the culture with which you engage on a daily basis.

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

Performing Arts: Costume & Fashion Design Studio

Students will develop a basic understanding of the principles of costume design and costume technology through the use of imagery, fabric, texture, shape, color and line to support and inform the theatrical storytelling process. Through a series of projects and mainstage shows students will explore how character and story can be revealed through clothing. Students will also explore the skills and techniques needed to then create the designs that best support their ideas. These techniques may include sewing, draping, pattern making, tailoring, dyeing, distressing, painting, and craft. This course can be taken more than once.

Three Term Course

No Prerequisite required

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

Performing Arts: Technical Theater - 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 class. Technical theater roles encompass areas such as stage management, set, light and sound design 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 The Shape of Things and Durango.

One Term Course

Prerequisites: Design & Tech Studio or permission of the instructor.

Open to Grade Levels: 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. 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

Performing Arts: Technical Theater - Foundations of Design/Tech Theater

In this introductory course, students will begin the year using design projects and games, practical activities and scene work to develop storytelling skills. Students will learn about the design and production aspects of theatre and specific script analysis tools. Practical hands-on stagecraft is taught in the various theaters and theater-related spaces such as the scene shop and control booth. This course meets with the Foundations of Theater class, and it is meant to give students an overview of the major components of theater including acting, technical theater, public speaking, and script analysis. The aim of the course is to prepare students to implement and perform in the Ten-Minute Playfest which is a public production at the end of the spring term.

Two Term Course

This course is a prerequisite for students entering the Upper School Theater Program.

Open to Grade Levels: 9,10

Video Production

If you want to learn to make a short film, this class is for you. Short films are often created for screening at film festivals; they are experimental and can be unconventional in style. In this class, you will generate ideas for your film, learn to capture and edit video footage, as well as record and mix sound. Our class discussions consist of viewing, analyzing, and sharing ideas and inspiration from selective popular films, art films, and youth made video.

Open to 10th, 11th and 12th graders.
No prerequisites.