“We are excited to meet the hands-on needs of our students with these new classes,” said Head of High School Jay Huston. “As the world gets more digitized, it's important for schools to keep learning tangible, and that's exactly what these classes do.”
New courses for the 2016-2017 academic year include Agriculture, Physical Concepts, and Systems of the Human Body. All of the courses focus on project-based, experiential learning.
“More than just gardening, this class will be working the land to develop the soil, harvest rainwater, and—ultimately—grow food,” said Agriculture Teacher Aaron Carter. “It will take some time, but we're actually not starting from zero. Our school compost is maturing as we speak.”
At the moment, students are installing a drainage system and clearing out years of overgrowth and neglect.
“I like that we get out of the classroom and get fresh air,” said a high school senior. “I also like learning to use all the new tools, especially the pick axe!”
Students are also stepping out of the classroom in Physical Concepts.
“We made an eight-foot tall pulley system in the back alley that can lift hundreds of pounds with only two students pulling,” said one student.
In this class, students test basic laws of physics after building models, systems, and machines that demonstrate the lesson at hand. Currently, students are learning about how the relationship between weight and distance from a fulcrum determines leverage.
“We’re learning about mathematical concepts in a fun way,” said a high school senior, “...and we’re using what we learn to make a frog-launcher for the Halloween carnival.”
In Systems of the Human Body, students will learn about the interconnectedness of the many systems that keep us alive and make us thrive.
“This class is a more hands-on approach to learning the basic concepts of biology and anatomy,” said Jay, who teaches the course. “From fitness tests to investigating animal bones to dissection activities, we are going to look at all parts of this amazing machine we call our body.”
Right now, students are finishing up a unit on bones.
“I like learning about how bones are alive and support the human form,” said a freshman student in the class. “If I didn’t have bones, I’d be like a squid or a puddle.”