Enrichment for Upper Elementary and Middle School Junkbox Wars This enrichment will challenge students to use their imaginations, scientific knowledge, and a box of "junk" to create a variety of devices that perform an assortment of tasks. The projects target technological design standards and incorporate others depending on the project. The Junk Box Wars projects are modeled after the Junkyard Wars TV show that aired on the Learning Channel network. Students will work together in small groups to design/build a variety of Challenges. Each challenge will extend over 2 class periods. The first class will introduce the parameters of the Challenge, cover related physics/engineering principles, and provide groups an opportunity to brainstorm general ideas. Students may continue to communicate and brainstorm designs the rest of the week but no Junkbox supplies will be provided and no pre-building at home allowed! The second class will consist of a 45-minute Build Time using Junkbox supplies followed by Competition. Instructor:Jayne Besjak
Tesserae Fall 2017 & Spring 2018
Upper Elementary Literature Exploration Just as we developed a writing community during this school year, next year we plan on developing a reading community. We will read novels throughout the semester, exploring what makes great literature through discussion, hands-on activities, games, and writing assignments. Basic literary elements will be woven throughout, as students develop the ability to thoughtfully critique a novel. Outside work will consist of reading assigned chapters and preparing for class discussion through writing and projects. Instructor:Kim Rodgers
Creative Thinking Circle This is a hands-on problem solving class where the focus will be on creative, critical, and divergent thinking. These are areas rarely covered in a typical school setting, but highly sought after in the real world settings of business, academia, and modern high-tech industry. Each week students will be encouraged to solve challenging and complex problems individually and collaboratively in small teams where they will learn to appreciate each other's input and value alternative approaches. We will discuss multi-step and open-ended problems, brain teasers, math puzzles, and logic problems as students learn to distinguish what is relevant for obtaining a solution. We will even make mistakes and enjoy them!
Middle School Science: Natural Disasters! We will explore extreme weather conditions as well as geologic circumstances that can lead to natural disasters. The class will examine how weather data is collected and how to interpret it. We will also learn about Earth’s structure, tectonic plate interaction and how that’s related to earthquakes and volcanoes. Students will create a model of a floodplain, study seismic activity and devise a safety plan as to what actions should be taken during an emergency.
During class the students will enjoy relevant hands-on activities, engaging discussions and the construction of good arguments. There will be several collaborative projects which will demonstrate student mastery of the material by applying what they’ve learned. Homework: Students will be responsible for weekly readings and assignments as well as several group projects throughout the year. They must be available for virtual collaboration. Instructor: Jenifer Pascal
Spanish I This class will be the equivalent of 1st year high school Spanish and is open to MS and HS students (7th grade and up). This is an immersion class taught by a native speaker/educator. Students will use an innovative visual textbook based on the QTalk method and must commit to 2+ hours of homework each week. The class includes assessment/tests/grading. Instructor:LEARN Associates
Historical Inquiry: Modern American Period Why is culture important? When is war justified? How should we handle conflict? How should resources be distributed? History is more than dots on a map or dates on a timeline. Using an inquiry-based approach invites curiosity and exploration and ties history to today using questions we struggle to answer in our time. In this class students will engage with these questions and more as they interact with each other in small groups to brainstorm and refine big questions framed around social studies topics through inquiry-focused projects and discussions, research, and document analysis. Through these activities students will defend and present their findings to the class to further understanding, with the ultimate goal being to develop independent learning, critical thinking, and research skills necessary to ask and answer their own questions. Instructor: Kim Rodgers
High School Modern American History This survey course will cover American history from the Progressive Era to Modern Times (1900 - 2013). Students will utilize a narrative eText that includes links to videos, interactive maps, images, and primary source documents. We will examine the ways in which big events have influenced the lives of ordinary people as we explore the story of the American past and the major events that have shaped our nation. Class time will consist of group discussion, debate, and project work. A year-end research paper is required. Instructor: Jayne Besjak
Inquiry Biology: Ecology This life science course will be focusing on how organisms function and how they interact with their physical surroundings. Topics covered include: populations, ecosystems, the cell, functions of various life forms, genetic variation, diversity and adaptation in the biosphere, and biomes around the world. Inquiry-based learning guides the student to divine a procedure to collect data to answer a question. How should we classify an unknown organism? What is the structure of DNA and why? What factors alter the predator-prey ratio? Class time will consist of activities to illuminate the concepts and collect data as well as discussion and debate of students’ scientific findings. Instructor: Jenifer Pascal
Tesserae Fall 2017
Chess Chess helps to develop skills such as critical thinking in a changing environment and problem solving. The Dean of Chess is a premier chess instruction company whose world-class instructors provide stimulating, entertaining lectures that motivate students to master the game of chess. Interactive lectures coupled with supervised play provide reinforcement for the new concepts introduced each week. This class is open to both UE and MS students. Instructor:The Dean of Chess Academy
Tesserae Fall 2016 & Spring 2017
Upper Elementary Exploring the Physical World In this full year upper elementary class students will study science through engaging hands-on investigations, experiments, and active learning experiences. Learning will be augmented with home-based living books, notebooking, online resources and meaningful assignments. The course will consist of two units: Magnetism & Electricity and Ocean Science. Magnetism and Electricity: Using the process of scientific inquiry students will learn that electricity and magnetism are related effects that have many useful applications in everyday life. Through a series of hands-on investigations students will experience the effects of magnetism and learn about static and current electricity. Students will design, build, and use: series and parallel circuits, a simple compass, and an electromagnet. Students will learn the role of electromagnets in the construction of electric motors and experience how electrical energy can be converted to heat, light, and motion. Ocean Science: Students will embark on an ocean adventure as they uncover fascinating facts, carry out exciting experiments and uncover the mysteries of the deep. Topics to be studied include the water cycle, waves & currents, shorelines & tide pools, the deep ocean floor, sea life and more! Through hands-on investigations students will answer many questions including: how sound waves are used to map the ocean floor, how bioluminescence helps fish camouflage themselves, why engineers study boxfish to improve submarine design, how we can protect ocean life without causing financial burden to the fishing industry, and why a boatload of Nike shoes from Korea washed up on the Oregon shore. Instructor: Leigh Ann Yoder
NaNoWriMo Do you love to make up creative imaginary places where interesting characters follow their dreams, encountering all sorts of adventures along the way? Do you find yourself getting so wrapped up in writing a story only to realize the time has flown by? Using the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) resources as our guide we will get our creativity flowing as we work individually and in small groups to brainstorm characters, plots, settings, villains, and heroes. Students will set personal word-count goals for their very own novel, which they will write entirely from start to finish during the month of November. The focus will be on unleashing imaginations and creativity as we put our personal editors aside and just write, write, write! This high-velocity approach forces you to lower expectations, take risks, and write on the fly. Some editing will occur in later classes, but final editing will be done at home. The class will include instruction on grammar conventions such as writing dialogue, use of adjectives and adverbs, punctuation and capitalization, etc. as well as discussions on writing style and organization. For more information on the NaNoWriMo Young Writer’s Program please visit the website: http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/. Instructor:Kim Rodgers
Middle School Inquiry-Based Social Studies In this class students will actively investigate Big Questions framed around social studies topics (civics, geography, economics, history). As students pursue answers, they will engage collaboratively in small groups to brainstorm and refine over-arching questions into relevant lines of inquiry and priority questions. They will conduct investigations, critically examine source materials, synthesize information, and defend and present their findings to the class. Rather than memorizing facts or following a prescribed path to knowledge, students will be guided through a process of inquiry, reflection, and discovery to arrive at understanding. Practically speaking, the course will fulfill one year of middle school social studies credit. The ultimate goal however is for students to develop the independent learning, critical thinking, and research skills necessary to ask and answer their own Big Questions. Instructor: Jayne Besjak
Chemical Building Blocks & Interactions In this full year middle school science course students will utilize textbooks and study guides as a base for their studies. Topics to be covered include: Introduction to Matter, Solids, Liquids, and Gases, Elements and the Periodic Table, Exploring Materials, Atoms and Bonding, Chemical Reactions, Acids, Bases and Solutions, and Carbon Chemistry. At home students will read from the text, complete notebook activities, work on labs and projects, study vocabulary, and use the internet for extended learning opportunities. Class time will focus on reinforcing content, lab work, projects, and inquiry skills. Math content will also be taught as applied to specific science concepts. By the end of this course students will have completed a minimum of 16 labs, 6 projects, and two presentations. Instructor: Leigh Ann Yoder
Interpreting Western Literature In this year-long study devoted to literary analysis, we will spend six weeks each diving deeply into five literary classics, including one play. Students may choose to enroll in fall and/or spring semesters. We will:
Read and discuss background on the author and novel, using instructor resources in conjunction with study guides from the Glencoe Literature Library.
Start and maintain a vocabulary glossary with new terms for each selection.
Engage in "active reading" -- making notes and answering questions about characters and plot as we read.
Write at least two essays related to each reading assignment (prerequisite: Through the Lens of Literature or submitted essay sample). Essays typically have a requirement of 500 words or more.
"Recall/interpret and evaluate/connect" -- write responses to short answer questions on the weekly reading. Answers will be discussed in class.
Creative writing opportunities will be available for some selections!
Analyze and discuss related readings, if they are assigned (includes poetry, short stories, speeches, etc.).
High School Teen Creative Writing Sampler In this class, teen writers experience a wide variety of genres over a full year’s time. They’ll have the opportunity to experiment with new formats, as well as go deeper into those they may already love. Every module will include time for focused revision and improvement, as well as a final reading and two portfolios of completed work. Students will be required to read writing samples as well as work on their writing at home each week. Instructor: Judith Lindbergh, Co-director, The Writers Circle
Active Physics Active Physics is a full year class that engages the student in physics with “real world” applications and projects such as designing a roller coaster or developing a sport that can be played on the moon. The activities and experiments entice the student and are followed by instruction and mathematical exploration to cement the concepts. There are collaborative projects that give students opportunities to work together and make presentations to demonstrate knowledge. Class time is spent conducting labs and discussing topics as well as working on group activities. For topics covered see https://www.iat.com/courses/high-school-science/active-physics/?type=content Chapters 3 & 7 will not be included in this course. Instructor: Jenifer Pascal
Precalculus Students will learn to perform the algebraic, geometric, and trigonometric operations needed for basic college-level Calculus. They will also develop the reasoning and analytical skills to solve practical problems in a variety of disciplines outside the typical realm of mathematics. The primary topics covered are: 1) solving algebraic equations, inequalities, geometric problems, trigonometric equations, and systems of equations; 2) graphing algebraic, logarithmic, exponential, and trigonometric functions, including conic sections; 3) finding equations of lines, conics, sinusoids, and composite and inverse functions; 4) solving trigonometric problems involving triangles and proofs; 5) performing matrix calculations; and 6) evaluating arithmetic and geometric sequences and series. Instructor: Ed Insel
Enrichment Programs Design It! This enrichment class will focus on hands-on projects to learn and implement engineering techniques and strategies. Teams of students will build their own pinball game, complete with flippers and plungers, bumpers and traps. Along the way teams will test various arrangements and add challenges to make the game interesting. Math skills and strategies will be woven in by strategically assigning numerical values to certain traps they have set up on their game board. Intuitive physics will also be involved when deciding where and how the ball is initially launched. The students can discover the relationship between the height of the launching ramp and how far the ball travels, as well as designing various forces to act upon the ball in certain ways. All of these concepts will be used during the semester to design the pinball game that others would consider the most fun to play. Instructor: Kim Rodgers
Introduction to Advanced Art Skills and Illustration Introduction to art mediums including: pencil drawings with prismacolor pencils, watercolor, acrylics, cray pas, and charcoal. Along with using these mediums students will also be introduced to basic art principles such as proportion, using negative space, perspective, creating abstract art using color mixing and complimentary colors. Each student will have a sketch book for working up ideas before moving on to using the day’s medium. Students may or may not have a completed project each class. Certain mediums will take two to three sessions. Instructor: Lindsay Jacobi
Tesserae Spring 2016
Upper Elementary Exploring Early Modern Times: A Time of Discovery, Exploration, and New Ideas Continued from Fall 2015 Instructor: Kim Rodgers
Out of this World! Explore and create new worlds, time periods, peoples and creatures all your own! Whether you want to travel backward, forward or sideways in time, or slip off to another universe that only exists in your imagination, this is the class for you. Get ready to climb aboard your spaceships, slay your dragons, capture oompity-boops or what-nots with us. The sky is the limit—actually no, nothing is the limit! If you can imagine it, you can write it in this workshop where creativity rules! Instructor: Michelle Cameron, Co-director, The Writers Circle
Middle School Physical Science – Motion, Force, and Energy In this middle school Physical Science course students will utilize a textbook and study guide as a base for their studies. Topics to be covered include: Motion, Forces, Forces in Fluids, Work and Machines, Energy and Power, and Thermal Energy and Heat. At home students will read from the text, complete notebook activities, work on labs and projects, study vocabulary, and use the internet for extended learning opportunities. Class time will focus on reinforcing content, lab work, projects, and inquiry skills. Math content will also be taught as applied to specific science concepts. By the end of this course students will have completed a minimum of 8 labs, 2 projects, and 1 oral report. Instructor: Leigh Ann Yoder
Odyssey of the Mind Team Continued from Fall 2015 Instructor: Jayne Besjak
Upper Elementary Exploring Early Modern Times: A Time of Discovery, Exploration, and New Ideas (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016) Using The Story of the World: Early Modern Times we will spend time together reading about rulers, wars, scientific discoveries, and new lands. Students will get in touch with this time period through hands-on activities, writing, role-playing, and more. Every week we will read each chapter in class while the students work on projects to keep their hands busy while their ears and minds listen and learn. Through questions and discussion, we’ll talk about how each topic affected the people living during that period and how it fit into the greater scope of history. The rest of class time will be spent engaging in a project or activity that will offer students a memory marker of that time in the history of our world. Instructor: Kim Rodgers
What If Math Had Never Been Invented? Through games and hands-on activities, students will explore the importance of math in everyday life. We will start off the term imagining a day completely without math and explore any benefits or drawbacks to that world. From there we will experience how math is used throughout our lives today and in the future. Among the skills and challenges students will face this term will be making change, balancing a bank account, planning a holiday, using money and an introduction to percentages. In addition, every week students will build on their basic math facts and focus on improving their computation skills. Instructor: Elizabeth Drew
Middle School Can You Save the Planet? (Middle School) Data handling emphasizes collecting, organizing, representing, analyzing and interpreting data closely connected to the real world. The visual representation of data is a major importance. Data handling is seen as going beyond statistics (the science of data collection, representation, analysis and interpretation for decision making). Statistics can be said to be the content, data handling is the whole learning environment in which data is explored. We will look at using data to hypothesize about events such as climate change in an attempt to answer the question: “Can we save the planet?”
Throughout this math course, students will learn how to represent data and make interpretations. We will interpret and create chloropleth maps, scatter graphs, bar charts, tally charts, compound bar charts, stem and leaf graphs, pie charts and box and whiskers charts. Along the way we will also explore global warming, earthquakes, recycling, whether something is man-made or just mother nature, waste and more! Instructor: Elizabeth Drew
Odyssey of the Mind Team (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016) Odyssey of the Mind is an international creative problem-solving competition. In this class students will work as a team over the course of the year to develop a unique solution to a "long-term" problem of their choice (this year's problem synopses may be viewed on the Odyssey of the Mind website). Problems range in scope from technical to artistic/literary interpretations. Solutions are presented in the form of an eight minute team-created skit. Students are mentored and facilitated by a coach but are strictly required to formulate their own solutions and complete all work with no outside assistance from parents, coaches, or friends. They will develop valuable teamwork skills creating their solution, writing a script, building a theatrical set, designing costumes, characters, props, artwork, and any required technical devices, and managing a project budget. The team will perform at a regional tournament in early spring, possibly advancing to State and World levels, improving their solution as they progress.
In addition to the long-term problem, the competition includes a "spontaneous" problem-solving component consisting of a short (3-5 minutes) hands-on or verbal challenge. This may include building an apparatus from random supplies, improvisation, and other quick-thinking creative tasks. To prepare, students will spend ample time on creative and divergent thinking exercises in class to ignite imaginations and sharpen problem-solving skills. Instructor: Jayne Besjak
Through the Lens of Literature (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016) In this literary analysis with writing class for middle schoolers, we will use a selection of great children's literature to explore topics related to World War II, the Salem Witch Trials, the Underground Railroad and the Civil War, space/time travel, and more! About the Literary Analysis: We will learn literary analysis terms and how they relate to each book. History, geography, even sociology and philosophy, will be artfully woven throughout the study of each novel. The best study of literature connects all of these topics under the umbrella of a great story, making it interesting and relevant. All students will have a chance to share their opinions each week in guided discussions on the reading and related subjects. About the Reading: Each book will take about three-four weeks to read. We will spend five class meetings on each novel. Each semester will be fifteen class meetings. Students are responsible for securing a copy of the novel. Most are available at your local library or for a few dollars used on Amazon. Quizzes will be provided on book content, vocabulary, and literary analysis as it relates to the book approximately every four-five weeks. About the Writing: This is a literary analysis class with a heavy focus on writing. Each week students will engage in "active reading" (making notes as we read), learn relevant vocabulary and maintain a vocabulary glossary, keep a journal, and craft three-four separate paragraphs in response to short answer questions. During this time we will focus on sentence structure and paragraph construction, culminating in a minimum one-page personal response essay for each book. The spring term will shift to introduction to expository essay writing, commonly known as the five-paragraph essay. Instructor: Angela Harris, Owner Gathering Ink
Tesserae Spring 2015
Upper Elementary Exploring Chemistry Kids love to learn through hands-on activities and projects. What better way to do that than by learning about Chemistry? This class will use Real Science 4 Kids and Ellen McHenry’s The Elements, along with multiple other resources, to create a class where exploration and hands-on study are the primary paths to learning. What is matter, and why does it matter? What are atoms, and what do they have to do with elements? Instructor: Kim Rodgers
Exploring the Middle Ages was continued from Fall 2014.
Middle School Life Science - From Cells to Heredity In this middle school life science course students will utilize a textbook and study guide as a base for their studies. Topics to be covered include: Cell Structure and Function, Cell Processes and Energy, Genetics and The Science of Heredity, Modern Genetics, and if time allows, we will explore Darwin’s Theory. At home, students will read from the text, complete notebook activities, work on labs and projects, study vocabulary and use the internet for extended learning opportunities. Class time will focus on reinforcing content, lab work, projects, and inquiry skills. Math content will also be taught as applied to specific science applications. By the end of this course, students will have completed a minimum of 8 labs and 2 long-term projects. Tests will be provided to home educators for their administration, if desired (all testing is optional). Instructor: Leigh Ann Yoder
Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Students will step into the shoes of medieval youth as they embark on a lively tour of a 13th century village in this class which will blend the dramatic arts with literary and historical analysis. We will use the extraordinary children’s book Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village as the guide for our adventure. The book is set in 1255 England and contains over 20 fictional monologues that provide a rich exploration of daily life from different social classes and help paint a picture of the Middle Ages from the perspective of children. As we explore the monologues together, students will identify, discuss and write about major themes associated with the Middle Ages such as feudalism, learn new vocabulary, gain an understanding of the characteristics of a medieval community, and consider how their lives are similar or different from the characters in the book. Each student will chose one or more character monologues for individual, focused study and will develop a character analysis (literary and historical), design and build a character museum (diorama), and memorize and perform the monologue(s) in a final theatrical production. The class as a whole will work together to create costumes and construct a medieval manor stage set. Instructor: Jayne Besjak
High School classes were continued from Fall 2014.
Tesserae Fall 2014
Upper Elementary Story Magic Through group dynamics, imaginative prompts and role-playing exercises, students learn the basic elements of story creation and put their inspirations on paper. Children gain confidence in a fun, non-judgmental environment where everyone supports each other’s ideas. Home writing is suggested but not required. The goal is to ignite the creative spark by temporarily casting off rigid academic requirements. Instructor: Michelle Cameron, Co-director, The Writers Circle
Middle School Astronomy What would living on Venus be like? Are there really black holes? How large is the galaxy? Curious kids want to know! This class will cover the major structures of our solar system, starting with the sun and working towards Pluto. Along the way, the students will also learn about Earth’s moon, the asteroid belt, and the Kuiper belt. After that, students will move outside our solar system and learn about the stars and galaxies that make up our incredible universe. Finally, the student will learn about space travel and what it takes to be an astronaut. In class, hands-on activities and projects will make the lessons come alive! Activities include simulating the use of radar to reveal a hidden landscape, making a centaur rocket, and making an astrometer to measure the brightness of a star. In addition, we will watch educational videos, have cooking days, and participate in game show quiz days. All students will also be expected to borrow from the Astronomy Lending Library on a weekly basis. Instructor: Leigh Ann Yoder
In addition, guest lecturer Bob Reichman, a sustaining member and Qualified Observer at the New Jersey Astronomical Association and co-chair of the NJAA Young Astronomers Program, will lead several classes in hands-on astronomy projects.
Mock Trials - The Judicial System at Work The classroom will transform into a courtroom as students adventure through a variety of criminal and civil trials and uncover the inner workings of the judicial system first-hand. Utilizing cases that mirror situations in fairy tales, literature, and history, students will work in teams to prepare and conduct trial enactments, assuming the roles of attorneys, defendants, witnesses, judges, and members of the jury. They will learn to use statements of fact and witness affidavits to determine guilt or innocence, write opening and closing statements, and compose thoughtful direct and cross examination questions based on investigative research. Students will develop an understanding of courtroom procedures and terminology while exploring fundamental law-related concepts such as authority and fairness. This class develops critical thinking and reasoning skills, and provides students the opportunity to exercise public speaking and communication skills in an exciting and engaging environment. Instructor: Jayne Besjak
High School Math for High School Science (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015) In this class, students will master the math skills needed to succeed in higher level maths and sciences. Your student will learn the parts of Algebra, Trigonometry, Geometry, and Pre-Calculus required for Chemistry, Physics, Astronomy, or any of the Earth or Life sciences. Some of the topics covered will be: Unit Conversion, Exponent Operations, Logarithms, Variable Isolation, Multi-Variable Systems, Statistical Analysis, and Solid Geometry. Traditional math classes take every student through each topic at the same speed. Essential Math for High School Science will focus on what students must know by the end of the semester. The instructor will assess each student and create a personalized plan, make sure they master each topic, then move them forward rapidly, and at their own pace. Accelerated students may complete the course in one semester. Instructor: Ed Insel
Honors Biology (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015) This class will teach the principles of biology in a rigorous and interactive way. We will focus on all the fascinating topics of life: biochemistry, cellular structure and respiration, photosynthesis, meiosis and mitosis, genes to proteins, viruses and bacteria, classification, and plant structure. We will also explore the structures of the human body, such as the digestive system, immune system, musculoskeletal system, and nervous system. Each class will start with an interactive lecture, and then shift into a discussion, lab, or problem-solving session. Students will be taught at the high-school honors level, and will have weekly homework assignments. An (optional) honors level independent study module on infectious diseases will be included. Instructor: Caroline Schlafly
Interpreting Literature (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015) In this series of on-line classes devoted to literary analysis, we will spend six weeks each diving deeply into four modern classics (The Chosen, The Call of the Wild, My Antonia, and To Kill a Mockingbird). We will: Read and discuss background on the author and novel using study guides from the Glencoe Literature Library, start and maintain a vocabulary glossary with new terms for each novel, engage in "active reading" -- making notes and answering questions about characters and plot as we read, write weekly, personal response essays related to the reading assignment (essay writing will be taught), write responses to short answer questions on the weekly reading, develop at-home responses into in-class discussion topics, write at least one creative writing piece related to each novel (specific ideas will be given), and analyze and discuss related readings if they are assigned. Selections were made carefully and represent an eclectic sampling of great modern literature. Selections should be a platform for in-depth discussions on topics such as religious faith, race relations, the role of women in pioneer America, and politics. Discussions will be well moderated and age appropriate. Instructor: Angela Harris, Owner Gathering Ink
Tesserae Spring 2014
Ages 6-8 Exploring Ancient Cultures - History & Literature This semester we will move forward in The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child: Volume 1: Ancient Times: From the Earliest Nomads to the Last Roman Emperor, focusing on ancient civilizations such as China, Africa, and Greece. Using quality literature and engaging hands-on activities, students will dive into each culture, learning to express what they learn through projects, writing, and discussion. Emphasis will be placed on experiencing the time period in a multitude of ways in order to immerse the students in the various cultures. Writing games will be included, with a goal of creating an excitement for self-expression through the written word. Writing activities will be both age and level appropriate. Instructor: Kim Rodgers Exploring Physics - Foundations of Science Marshmallows, lemons, and toy cars! Hands on experiments will engage active learners as we explore the basics of physics using Focus on Elementary Physics. Students will learn and apply the scientific method as we ask questions, design experiments, record and organize data, and draw conclusions. We will discover the mechanics of force, energy, light, work, and sound, to build a foundation in physics that will broaden our understanding of the world around us. Students should purchase the laboratory book, and will occasionally be asked to bring supplies to class as needed for experiments. We will also take the time to connect our physics curriculum with the work of the ancient Greek scientist and mathematician, Archimedes, when the students explore Greek history and culture in our morning session. Instructor: Sally Zeiner
Ages 9-11 BeTWEEN the Lines Kids learn how to get their ideas on paper, and then how to make their stories really work. This class bridges the playful ideas of earlier years into a more mature environment where gentle, constructive critique and group discussion introduce and refine students' understanding of the elements and challenges of story-making. Students will build confidence and improve their writing in an open-minded, positive and often exuberant atmosphere. Kids will write at home and bring their work to share with their peers. Instructor: Michelle Cameron, Co-director, The Writers Circle
Young Inventors at Work Young Inventors at Work is designed to be a fun and engaging engineering class. Students will be challenged to exercise creative problem solving and critical thinking skills to design, build, and test model structures, games, and vehicles. Kids will work in teams to solve technology-based problems. Their desire to find optimal solutions will lead them to discover basic principles of science and engineering. A portion of each class will also be spent learning about real inventors and their inventions. Instructor: Leigh Ann Yoder
Ages 12-14 Engineering - Math & Science in Society This course will give students an opportunity to use their general understanding of math and science to explore the broad and exciting world of engineering. From a proper mathematical foundation we will launch investigations into a broad array of physical and life sciences. Students will become familiar with core concepts and challenges in areas such as solid-state electronics, astrophysics, energy transformation, biotechnology, and nano-scale materials. As we work through labs and projects, students will learn to identify key technology issues in society, conduct reliable research, and maintain a proper engineering journal. Each student will choose an area of personal interest for in-depth study, be able to share their findings in class, and ultimately present them at an end-of-semester event. In addition to discussing current science events each week, we will be engaging in a solar power project, rocketry (building and launching models), experimentally determining the value of “pi” and reading/drawing mechanical designs. Instructor: Ed Insel
The Art of Persuasion and Debate Effective written and verbal persuasion is a powerful tool for self-expression and a critical skill for taking and representing a stand. In this practical introduction to the art of persuasion, students will learn to develop the thinking and communicating skills needed to clearly articulate a position and effectively persuade an audience. During the first half of the semester, students will identify several topics that are personally meaningful and develop these into persuasive essays. In the second half of the semester, students will have the opportunity to exercise and hone their persuasive skills by actively engaging in a series of in-class debates on a range of subjects and current events. We will stretch our public speaking muscles as we learn and practice the process of formal debate. It is certain to be lively and enlightening! Instructor: Jayne Besjak
Tesserae Fall 2013
Ages 6-8 Exploring Ancient Egypt - History and Literature This year we will continue to offer an integrated curriculum for our youngest group of students. Our first period will explore ancient history using Susan Wise Bauer's, The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child: Volume 1: Ancient Times: From the Earliest Nomads to the Last Roman Emperor. This period will consist of read-aloud time from Volume 1 and projects based on the companion activity book. Purchase of the books are not required. Through engaging hands-on activities, literature selections and writing projects, ancient Egypt will come alive as we explore together the amazing era of pyramids and pharaohs, hieroglyphs, mummies, and the Nile River. Opportunities to write will also be presented and will be tailored to the child's interest and ability. Instructor: Jayne Besjak
Exploring Ancient Egypt - Math and Science The second period of our integrated curriculum will provide hands-on science lessons that will connect our historical studies to the discoveries and ideas of the Ancient Egyptians, providing another window into their time and place. We will also take advantage of the world around us with scientific explorations into the outdoors and study the rhythm of the seasons. Math lessons will encompass the mathematical thinking of the ancient Egyptians. We will also use Montessori materials to learn the basic mathematical concepts and operations, including the decimal system. Students will work in math at their own pace with the support of the facilitator, their peers, and the materials. Instructor: Sally Zeiner
Ages 9-11 Foundations of Philosophy What do we know? How do we know? What is good? Why do we need rules? What is freedom? In this introduction to philosophy, children will explore these and other classic philosophical problems through activities, literature, and conversation. Each student will refine his or her ability to express him/herself clearly, listen carefully to others, and approach differences of opinion in a respectful and productive manner as together we grapple with both ancient and modern philosophical dilemmas in a fun and developmentally appropriate way. Instructor: Sally Zeiner
The Fabulous Function Machine - Problem Solving using Algebraic Reasoning Professor Arbegla’s Fabulous Function Machine is having a problem. A letter has been sent to our class from the Professor describing a malfunction in the machine that we are asked to solve. Over the course of our time together we will receive several such letters with problem solving challenges as students gain essential algebraic understandings, learn about equations, and apply what they’ve learned to problems related to area -- including the design of a bedroom floor plan. Throughout this GEMS unit created at the Lawrence Hall of Science, students will have the opportunity to write in journals and add to an "Algebra Toolkit," building crucial scaffolding for more complex algebraic reasoning in later grades. Students will work together and on their own within a compelling and challenging context to solve puzzles using hands-on experiences, as well as analytical strategies. Instructor: Kim Rodgers
Ages 12-14 Teen Writers Circle This class balances inspiration with discipline, teaching students to accept critique, revise thoroughly and work toward story completion. We will delve into story elements like plot, character, pacing, point of view and style, inviting students to explore any genre they choose. Past teens have written everything from reality-based to fantasy and science fiction and have worked on plays, poetry, memoir, essays, and much more. Teens will find ease and confidence in their writing by honing their skills in a creative, nurturing environment. Instructor: Michelle Cameron
Computer Science Unplugged Without using computers, students will learn how they work through engaging games and puzzles! Each class will address critical mathematics and science concepts such as number systems, algorithms, artificial intelligence, Boolean circuits, compression, cryptography, data representation, minimal spanning trees, manipulating variables and more. College level concepts will easily be conveyed via a combination of lecture, discussion, and hands-on activities. All students will develop a greater understanding of the technology that infiltrates their daily lives and hopefully be inspired to imagine the technology of the future. Course is based on the curriculum Computer Science Unplugged. Instructor: Leigh Ann Yoder
Tesserae Spring 2013
Ages 8-10 GEM Science We will interact with science using curriculum from the Lawrence Hall of Science GEM units, which engage students in direct experimentation to introduce essential principles and concepts. Our first unit centers on the scientific investigation of a green, oozy substance said to come from outer space. Because it exhibits the properties of both a solid and a liquid, it defies easy description, sparking vigorous debate about its properties and setting the stage for a compelling series of activities. Students will face an engineering challenge as they try to design a spacecraft similar to the Mars Rover mission! The second unit calls all students to become detectives as they conduct forensic science tests on evidence found at a "crime scene," then work together to seek their own solutions with an emphasis on the distinction between evidence and inference. Students will rotate through stations and perform tests on the various clues found at the scene of the crime. Finally, our last unit gets us outside as the weather gets warmer. Students become ecologists, learning key ecological and biological concepts as they investigate the outdoor environment. Biological sampling and mapping techniques develop mathematical capabilities. Student journals and an introduction to environmental writing provide strong language arts connections as the students' excitement of discovery is sparked and their sense of stewardship toward living things is nurtured. Instructor: Kim Rodgers
Maps & Stories Students will explore the globe through physical geography as well as history, culture, religion, and myth in a class designed to appeal to both analytic and creative learners. We will make maps and learn important physical features of the seven continents and explore briefly the history and culture of each continent. Important stories and myths will help us to make a deep connection with each place. We will linger over favorites, such as the legend of King Arthur and Homer’s The Odyssey. Students will be challenged as writers and storytellers to create and share their own stories or research projects. Instructor: Sally Zeiner
Ages 11-13 History of Science: Aristotle to the Age of Discovery Students will read Joy Hakim's engaging book, The Story of Science: Aristotle Leads the Way, which provides an in-depth history of science from pre-history through Greek and Roman times, to the Dark Ages, ending with The Age of Discovery (book summary). In class, students will explore the historical and scientific concepts from the book using hands-on projects related to astronomy, physics, and chemistry. Our focus will be on appreciating the dynamic and interdisciplinary nature of science as we unravel the relationships between scientific knowledge and other disciplines such as math, language arts, history, and art. Together, we will explore the great scientific minds and major scientific discoveries of the era incorporating research, analysis, discussion and writing skills. As a final project, each student will choose one important scientific concept from the time period and will work independently over the course of the semester to develop a presentation for our in-class science fair. Instructor: Jayne Besjak
Acting Out: Mythology & Shakespeare The foundation for this highly interactive class will be a readers theater format using pre-selected scripts appropriate for kids and teens. Students will explore and understand the concepts behind classic Greek myths (such as The Golden Fleece and Homer's The Odyssey) and selected works of William Shakespeare. This class will also incorporate analysis and discussion of mythology in relation to real life, understanding Shakespearian language, history of the time, and weekly writing exercises. The first two months of the semester will be focused on mythology and the last two months will be devoted to Shakespeare. Students may have a hand in deciding which Shakespeare plays we perform and discuss, but we will likely choose a comedy and a tragedy. Mosaic Freeschool is excited to introduce Susan Martz as co-leader of this class. Susan brings many years of Broadway and performance experience to Mosaic and we are confident that she will elevate the quality of instruction to a level we might not otherwise enjoy. At the end of the semester, students will have gained a unique opportunity to study new performance techniques, while also covering core subjects such as literature, history, and writing. Instructors: Angela Harris (Mythology) and Susan Martz (Shakespeare)
Tesserae Fall 2012
Ages 8-13 Creative Thinking Circle I/Circle II Sometimes there is more than one answer. This is a hands-on problem solving class where the focus will be on creative, critical, and divergent thinking. These are areas rarely covered in a typical school setting, but highly sought after in the real world settings of business, academia, and modern high-tech industry. Each week students will be encouraged to solve challenging and complex problems individually and collaboratively in small teams where they will learn to appreciate each other's input and value alternative approaches. We will discuss multi-step and open-ended problems, brain teasers, math puzzles, and logic problems as students learn to distinguish what is relevant for obtaining a solution. We will even make mistakes and enjoy them!
Students will be divided into two Circles (I & II) based on both ability and age criteria. Each Circle will cover roughly the same general set of problems, but at different degrees of difficulty. For more information on the history of this approach (inspired by a Russian ideology which employs more problem solving vs. computational or textbook math) please visit the web-site www.mathcircles.org. For both classes, we are using Art of Inquiry, LLC problem solving curriculum. Instructors: Jayne Besjak and Angela Harris
Ages 8-10 Literature "The study of literature is the study of life through the eyes of an artist." The goal of this class is to foster a love of literature and an appreciation for the ability of a story to capture one's imagination. Students will be reading four to five novels over the course of the semester, and exploring what makes great literature through hands-on activities, class discussion, and writing assignments. Basic literary elements (plot, character, setting, theme, etc.) will be identified and analyzed, as students develop the ability to thoughtfully critique a novel and express their views in a group setting. Outside work required for this class will consist of reading assigned chapters and preparation for class discussions/projects. Instructor: Jayne Besjak
Ages 11-13 Journalism In this writing class, students will be introduced to the concepts and art of journalism. Topics covered may include, but will not be limited to: forming the beat, bias, copy editing, critical thinking about media, photojournalism and creating newspaper layouts, feature writing, advertisement, interviewing, meeting deadlines, research and reporting. We will build a journalism team, name our school newspaper and ultimately publish at least two issues of our paper. Every week we will be introduced to new J-Jargon (journalism vocabulary) and engage in fun classroom exercises to build teamwork and writing skills. There will be additional writing assignments throughout the week, such that access to the Internet and a word processing program will be required at home. Instructor: Angela Harris
Tesserae Fall 2011 - Spring 2012
Ages 9-12 Creative Writing We will dive into creative writing using the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) resources as our guide. The early classes will focus on pre-writing exercises to get creativity flowing as we work individually and in small groups to brainstorm about characters, plots, settings, villains, and heroes. Students will set personal word-count goals for their very own novel which they will write entirely from start to finish during the month of November. The focus will be on unleashing imaginations and creativity as we put our personal editors aside and just write, write, write! This high-velocity approach forces you to lower expectations, take risks, and write on the fly. In later classes we will move on to sharing/reading, editing, illustrating, and polishing our novels for final publication. The class will include instruction on grammar conventions such as writing dialogue, use of adjectives and adverbs, punctuation and capitalization, etc., as well as discussions on writing style and organization. At the conclusion of the class, each student will have a published novel as tangible evidence of their amazing accomplishment. For more information on the NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program, please visit the website: http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/. Instructor: Jayne Besjak
World History Using the popular Story of the World series as our guide, we will approach and explore world history as a team. Starting with the captivating stories included in the series, we will spend time reading aloud, engage in mapping and globe use, establish timelines, and finally, create projects that are relevant to our weekly studies. We will also choose a few additional reading selections that will help make our historical studies come alive. The time period covered will begin approximately with the Renaissance and continue with early modern times. It is suggested that each family purchase separately a copy of Story of the World Volume 3 by Susan Wise Bauer so that additional reading assignments can be completed outside of class. It will not be necessary to purchase the companion activity book. Instructor: Angela Harris
Science Monday morning science class will enlighten, engage, and enrich your child in biology, chemistry, and physics. Topics for the class will integrate with Mosaic World History and may include: Weather, Energy, Buoyancy, Diet, Plants, Kitchen Chemistry, Magnetism, Optics, Astronomy, Density, Genetics, Health, Gardening, Nutrition, Animal Classification, and Newton’s Laws! Instructor: Mary Beth Tarantino, Ed.S., M. Ed., B.S.