Curriculum

 

Our courses are taught through an interdisciplinary lens and reflect the contributions of the Arts and Design to STEM and vice versa, preparing students for a world where knowledge is integrated. Core courses are year-long and crash courses are 6-12 weeks long. 

 

Integrated Core Courses

English:         English & Media Arts       English thru Your Lens        English & Media Design        Literature, the Arts, and Civic Action  

History &       Engineering America: U.S. History + Engineering & Architectural Design     World History by Design  
Citizenship    Big Ideas: The History and Future of Science & Technology       American Government & Public Services

Math              Functional Design through Algebra    Geometry & Computer Visualization/Simulation   Applied Math & Engineering: Algebra 2/Trig                              for Engineers     Modeling Your World thru Math and Programming     Electives: Precalculus, Calculus, Statistics & Probability

Science          Technology of Biology    Physics of Engineering: Motion by Design    Chemistry & Engineering Design    Physics of Clean Energy

World             Spanish 1   Spanish 2    Spanish for the Entrepreneurial Mind    Native Speaker Spanish for Health Careers   
Language      Other languages offered via online courses

Performing    Instrumental Instruction (guitar, keyboard, drums, bass, vocal)  * Themes: pop, rock, jazz, R&B, folk, blues.   
Arts                Electronic Music   Composition   Sound-Recording   Songwriting   Ensemble/Band Workshops    Master Classes

Health &        Health & Wellness integrated with Computing, Life Sciences, and Engineering Action Learning Labs

Wellness

 

Sample Crash Courses

STEAM            Tech Essentials                       Creativity Tools & Techniques          Intro to Entrepreneurship       Engineering by Design                    
Core                Coding Bootcamp                    Foundations of Life Sciences

Engineering   Introduction to Electronics       Engineering of Structures                  Design It! Longboards           Designing Prosthetics                                                Redesigning Shelter                Redesigning Energy

Emerging            Data to Design                    Coding Amazon Echo & Google Home     Cloud Computing             Cyber Security & Cryptography Technologies     Data Science & Analytics    Game Design & Development                    Python Programming      Building Augmented Reality Apps

Science            Biological Engineering            Bio-Design                Genetics          Surgical Techniques              Urban Horticulture               
                           Biodiversity & Human Health                                     Renewable Engineering of Tomorrow

Design            Art & Design Foundations       Design Tools & Techniques                Introduction to Architecture      

 

Digital             Film Making & Editing             Audio Production/Sound Editing        Computer Music Creation      Motion Graphic/2D Animation
Arts                 3D Modeling & Animation       Make Your Own Wearables

Citizenship     Digital Citizenship                   Innovation in Government                  Systems Thinking & the Pursuit of World Peace

Entrepreneurship     Technology Entrepreneurship         Lean Startup Fundamentals        Master Classes with Entrepreneurs

Sample of Integrated Core Courses - Grades 9 & 10  (Courses adapted from University of California Curriculum Integration Initiative)

Grade 9:

English: Changing Hearts and Minds: English and Digital Media Arts  

Changing Hearts and Minds is a year-long course that teaches students to act as purveyors of change in the world-at-large. Throughout the course students will analyze a variety of print and digital texts to identify and interpret an author’s, artist’s, and/or designer’s message, and to determine how a specific audience drives a creator’s decision-making process. Students will evaluate and successfully use visual design principles and elements to enhance, distribute and increase visibility of a message or cause. This process will lead students to use writing and the principles of design to create texts and visuals that tell stories and convey effective messages for the purposes of effecting change; this also leads students to be critical thinkers and active receivers of messages. Throughout the course, students will use collaboration processes, oral communication, presentation and creative problem solving to strengthen and apply their knowledge of written and visual messaging. 

 

Math: Title: Functional Design Through Algebra  

 

In this engaging, hands-on course, students will discover the power of mathematical modeling with Algebraic functions. Through a variety of Engineering Design projects, students must utilize functions to optimize the outcome of each challenge. Students will see parallels between the mathematical modeling cycle and the engineering design process in each unit. Students will design parachutes, bungee jumps, boats, balloon rockets, a variety of water fountains, and, as a capstone project, a thermally resistant beverage container along with product proposal and pitch. Students will document calculations, graphical relationships, sketches of prototypes and final designs in an engineering notebook that includes summaries of each project and ideas for future redesigns. By building understanding of functions, graphs, equations, and algebraic relationships, students will see how mathematical understanding can verify optimal performance and design in a variety of applications.

Science: The Technology of Biology

 

This course serves to introduce the principles of biology through a biotechnological perspective. A general high school biology class focuses on the study of life ranging from the atoms that build up the macromolecules that serve as the foundation of life to how different ecosystems interact within a biosphere. Biotechnology aims to help improve our lives and the health of our planet by harnessing cellular and biomolecular processes. Students will use an integrated approach to study the principles that govern life while constantly referring to how these applications of biotechnology are attempting to improve life on earth. For example, modern biotechnology provides ground breaking products and technologies to combat diseases, reduce our environmental footprint, feed the hungry, use less and cleaner energy, and have safer, cleaner, and more efficient industrial manufacturing. This course challenges students to evaluate the current problems faced in the 21st century and apply their knowledge of foundational biology to propose possible solutions using biotechnological techniques. Upon completion of the course, students will identify a medical or environmental problem, research possible products of biotech companies that are attempting to address that problem, prepare an advertisement campaign to educate the public of the identified problem, and justify why their product is the answer.

History: Engineering America: U.S. History + Engineering & Architectural Design

 

This course serves to help students make connections between U.S. History and the engineering innovations that helped form our nation. Students will not only use the engineering design process as they attempt to solve the historical challenges presented to them, but they will also look at the Code of Ethics that governs decisions in the world of engineering; they will examine how decisions made by powerful people had an impact on the landscape and forever altered the way things are done in the US. This course seeks to explain the political, social, economic, and technological factors that prompted the need for engineering innovation in US History. Upon completion of the course, students will think and act like historians, understanding that source, contextualizing, and corroborating historical sources are used to analyze and address present day issues. Their understanding will be demonstrated in a culminating project in which small student teams design/build a scale model of a modern “ideal” US city informed by their understanding of history. Upon completion of this course, students will understand the design process, logistical thinking, and relevance of engineering in American life. 

 

Grade 10: 

English: Get Reel: English Through Your Lens

 

This course challenges students through the intensive analysis of text, including media, informational writing, and fiction. Students develop the abilities and skills to effectively produce powerful video messages, oral presentations, and writing to critically examine and deconstruct ideological and social influences and understand how these influences impact both individual and group identity. Students learn to recognize themselves as both products and members of society as they study and create a variety of text, including narrative and analytical writing, constructed argument, visual mapping, multimedia, and video messages. They understand that language is a powerful medium when read, written, spoken, and performed with purpose. Students also gain the necessary abilities for digital media production, while participating in a rigorous, integrated creative English and media course that provides real-world connections through extensive career and technical content.

Math: Geometry + Computer Visualization/Simulation

This course introduces students to a range of careers - including software development, computer programming, game design, digital fabrication - and methods that use computers to visualize geometric information necessary for product design. Using applied geometry, students create a final 3D-printed product that demonstrates the key role that geometry plays in industry. Students will integrate geometric principles with computer-based programs and designs while learning to create and work in a technical environment that facilitates workplace efficiency and online communication. Students share their geometry-based findings and projects with each other. Upon completion of this course, students will be familiar with the many ways that computers can be used to simulate and model geometric concepts using computer programming and modeling, simulations and interactions, and three-dimensional printing. 


Science: Physics and Engineering: Motion by Design

 

Students apply principles of physics and engineering to an iterative cycle of product design. Students will develop an understanding of fundamental physics concepts in kinematics, mechanics, mechanical and electromagnetic waves, and electricity/electromagnetism while exploring robotics, computer programming, computer aided design (CAD) and rapid product development. Working individually and in teams, students complete a series of design challenges to develop key skills in computer programming, 3-D modeling software, engineering technology, and physics concepts. The course culminates with competition-ready, semi-autonomous devices presented as marketable products designed to serve a specific purpose in the local community. These projects promote critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity and provide a foundation for data collection, analysis, reflection, presentations and technical writing skills.

History: World History by Design

 

Students will analyze significant periods in world history from the development of government systems through to modern times while building the basic skills of graphic design elements and principles. Students will use major world events such as revolutions, wars and globalization as the inspiration for design projects to synthesize the knowledge into cohesive assignments that are both content driven and conceptual. Students have the opportunity in this course to demonstrate their knowledge of historical content through the creating art, using the elements and principles of design. Students will produce a series of artistic products that reflect their comprehension of both historical content and relevant design skills; from the years of the ancient Greeks and Romans through the modern post Cold War world. Students will integrate the reading and viewing of traditional texts, primary source resources, technology manuals, digital media sources, appropriate era artwork and tutorials to demonstrate their knowledge of design and world history. 

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