These courses broaden and deepen our curriculum as they build on our students’ engagement with several disciplines. Many of them take place in our i.d.Lab — where teachers and students collaborate to catalyze discovery through project-based learning and practical applications.

Katharine H. Jewett, PhD, Director of Curricular Initiatives

Sample Courses

Reverse Engineering: How Things Work

Students learn to take apart various mechanical and electrical devices and examine how component parts work together. Engineering skills such as sketching, 3D modeling, prototyping, testing, and clear communication are emphasized. An introduction to microcontrollers and programing is included and students build several devices of their own design. Hands-on experimentation is emphasized and students learn to use some 3D modeling software (Google SketchUp), 3D printers, and Arduino microcontrollers.

Start-Up Design Lab and Innovation Studio

This course is a hands-on introduction to being a 21st century maker-scholar-inventor that meets students where they are. It is a makers’ workshop, a design lab, and a creative-programming studio, intended to provide a supporting framework for students’ research and development as they build innovative projects of their own design. This class focuses on storytelling and narrating what we do, documenting projects and generating a shared dialogue of what is observed and learned along the way.

Cognitive Neuroscience

One of the fastest growing research areas in science is neuroscience. Cognitive and behavioral studies have attracted considerable popular and scientific attention in recent years and new techniques have opened up novel avenues for exploration. This course provides an introduction to the cellular and molecular mechanisms of neuronal function, and examines how cognitive processes can be explained by the structure and function of the brain.

Climate Change: From Knowledge to Action

Climate change is a defining global problem of the 21st century, touching all aspects of human and nonhuman life. In this course, we grapple with the challenges posed by climate change by exploring its social dimensions. While we begin with a basic overview of climate science, the bulk of the course draws on ideas, approaches, and sources from many humanities and social science disciplines, the arts, and English. In so doing, we discover new ways to think and talk about climate change.

Journalism and Nonfiction Storytelling

Nonfiction storytelling, whether it is daily journalism, long-form magazine writing, personal essays, opinion pieces, radio broadcasts, or another variety, is invariably based in fact. Students study the foundational elements of a fact-based story. What makes such a story compelling, provocative, or, simply, fun? Students analyze short and long nonfiction, both contemporary and canonical, and work individually and collaboratively on storytelling projects that address current issues.