BVR-X courses embody the non-linear, interdisciplinary nature of teaching and learning at Beaver. They allow students to delve deeper into the inquiry process, grapple with authentic and complex questions, and to consider the interrelationships of these issues.
BVR-X courses not only draw from different disciplines but also from a variety of fields like technology, media, entrepreneurship, science, art, and design.

In addition to the courses listed below, you can also find courses with the BVR-X designation within other subjects.

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

Data Analysis and Coding Lab

Did you know that the average person generates 1.7 megabytes of information or that it would take 181 million years to download all the data from the internet? Data drives our world but most of us don’t understand what it means, why we need it, and how it works. In this self-paced course, you will complete a variety of interest-based projects that deepen your understanding of coding and data analysis. Through examining real-world case studies from healthcare to social media and from education to culture, you will explore different types of data, identify biases, and apply your data literacy and coding skills to communicate and deconstruct underlying messages. You will be better equipped to be critical consumers of information, read your “data world,” and make informed decisions about your personal life. This course is open to all students, no prior coding knowledge required.

Entrepreneurship with a Purpose

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.

Open to Grade Levels: 10, 11, 12

Human Communication

This course will explore the ways that humans communicate, and the ways that this communication affects society. Students will explore a variety of language systems including Sign Language and Braille. The class will discuss historical and current issues of communication such as colonial legacies, the influence of technology, and cultural differences. Students will be asked to think deeply about what it means to communicate, why it’s necessary, and how we do it effectively.

Open to Grade Levels: 10, 11, 12

Intro 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 Grade Levels: 11, 12 

Leadership and Social Change

Have you ever wondered why and how effective leaders, past and present, take action for social good? This course will explore different psychological theories of what guides or motivates an individual to act when confronted with issues of justice, equity, and humanity. We will look at past and current figures across multiple identities and delve into the societal, cultural, geopolitical landscape which influence and shape an individual’s conscience and actions to benefit their community. Through immersive experiences with the focus on the specific leadership styles, the course aims to determine the concrete and tangible skills social change leaders have relied on to not only implement positive long-term impacts but also, whether they are able to sustain a sense of health and well-being.

Students can opt to take this class at the Honors level.
Open to Grade Levels: 10, 11, 12

Philosophy: The Meaning of Life through Moral Dilemmas (BVR-X)

Have you ever wondered what the meaning of life is or if a decision you made was the right one? Have you ever played the game, “Would you rather…?” Then you have done philosophy! Philosophy equips us with critical thinking and logic to navigate the world around us. Every day, we are faced with taking a stand on difficult moral questions and accept judgment on how we should lead our lives. You want to learn why people think, debate, love, hate, have emotions, and make (sometimes bizarre) decisions; or why people follow religions, search for truth, vote conservative or liberal; or you just want to learn how to make difficult decisions and how we should live our lives. Then this is your class. Be prepared to tackle challenging, real-life situations, consider alternative perspectives, understand how our brain makes decisions, and rethink your notion of morality, right and wrong, and what we ought to do to find the meaning of life. Take a class and discover not just what is, but also what could be!

This class counts for English credits. Students can opt to take this class at the Honors level. 

Open to Grade Levels: 11, 12

Social Psychology: To be is to be perceived!

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. 

Open to Grade Levels: 10,11, 12

Socio-Economics of Sports

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. 

Open to Grade Levels: 10, 11, 12

Urbanism + the Built Environment

Using Boston’s landscape, students in this course will investigate the role of cities in shaping ecological and cultural systems that will influence the built environment in future design. Students will research and examine the history and legacy of social, cultural, and economic inequalities as they consider how today’s built environment addresses contemporary issues by reinventing, reimagining, and planning design spaces that will impact the relationship between people and their environment. Students will meet with experts and connect with peers in other schools to discuss, question, and critically analyze issues facing metropolitan areas in the near future. Travel may be an opportunity that exists as part of taking this class. Students will engage in the design process by constructing their ideas and solutions for conceptualizing future cities using physical materials and digital technologies to create 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional models to showcase their work. 

This class counts for History credits. 
Open to Grade Levels: 11, 12