We’re already halfway through ER 71 (the 71st trimester since Eagle Rock’s founding in the early 1990s), fresh on the heels of another successful Explore Week that wrapped up just last Friday. And from now until April 6, students will be concentrating on a number of class offerings that should prove interesting, sometimes provocative, and always engaging.
Many of ER 71’s second batch of classes feature topics that you can find at most any traditional high school, with such standard subjects as math, language, art, and music. But even these “basics” undergo a unique transformation when taught at Eagle Rock. They become useful and relatable.
Take mathematics for example. During this second half of the trimester, a number of students are taking Math4Life, a no-nonsense class that teaches teens how to manage their paychecks, search for an apartment, buy a car, and file taxes.
On the other side of that math coin is The Art of Mathematics, a class that explores the deep connections between math, art, and the search for truth. Here, students are discovering some of the most beautiful ideas in algebra and geometry. Many mathematicians and philosophers through the ages have talked of the deep connections between math, art, and the search for Truth. Here we give numbers a physical form.
Below is a list of what our students are filling their heads with on this, the back half of ER 71:
Who Am I? DNA: In this class, students are learning about Deoxyribonucleic Acid — or DNA — which determines what you look like and why you act the way you do. Here, students are visiting a local hospital to perform their own lab work, learn blood types, and identify the personal characteristics that are determined by our genetics.
Political Cartooning: If it’s true that the best political cartoons express real conceptual complexity with the fewest words, our students are putting that truth to pen and paper in Political Cartooning. Here, they are discovering how to plan and develop original cartoons that express their own thoughts about local, national, and international issues. In addition, they are researching background to use in a creative storyboard, graphic novel, or “funny pages” format, using pencil, markers or pen and ink.
Architecture: Utilizing a cross-section of math, design and engineering, architecture is the art of creating the buildings, rooms, and places where we all spend our days and nights. Here, in Architecture, students are learning how to be knowledgeable critics of design, questioning how spaces function in our lives. They are also using creativity and geometry to propose new design ideas and — as a class — will actually contribute to the architecture of buildings on the Eagle Rock campus. (Editor’s Note: Look for a following post here on the Eagle Rock Blog focusing more on this particular class, its instructor, and student contributions to Eagle Rock’s master facilities plan.)
Math4Life: After graduation, Eagle Rock alum will be making decisions on saving money, managing bank accounts, creating budgets, and filing income tax returns. In this class, students are learning these life functions, as well as how to interview for a job, negotiate for a car, find a place to live, pay for school and even grocery shop. It’s mathematics with a real-life purpose.
Connections in Wood: This class is a “two-fer,” with students not only learning the art and craft of woodworking, but also completing a service-learning project that benefits the Eagle Rock campus. Here, students will shape, join, sculpt and finish a useful and aesthetically pleasing 3D project — all the while developing a sense of design, proportion, line, and detail. They will apply skills in problem solving, layout, measurement, care and use of tools, cooperation and time management. And by the end of the trimester this April, they will be familiar with wood, its charms and challenges, and with other materials, tools and styles of creativity.
The Art of Mathematics: Math has long been considered one of the greatest feats of human creativity and imagination, with deep connections between math, art, and the search for Truth. In this class, students are exploring these connections, focusing on the natural intersection of geometry and algebra. And, since it is an art of ideas, we will give it a physical form, such as writing, drawing, video, and origami. For their final project, students will create a physical representation of a mathematical idea they find beautiful, and share it with the Eagle Rock community.
Juguemos Juntos — We Play Together: In this class, students are learning the Spanish language by working together to solve initiatives and challenges. As the words become familiar, class participants are learning to conduct basic conversations, work together, and give directions in Spanish. They are also learning the vocabulary necessary for leadership and group collaboration. By the end of the trimester, the class will have come together to design initiatives in Spanish for each another and other students here in Estes Park, Colo.
Songs for a New World — Musical: In this class, students are developing basic singing and acting concepts through their own character’s perspective. Testing both beginning and advanced students in the development of their performance skills, the class takes on a real-life experience. Those accepted into a show through an audition and callback process will be asked to commit to weekly rehearsals, final week dress rehearsals, attendance to various professional performances, costuming, make up, set construction, and a final cast dinner.
Human Canvas: Students are studying the cultural and geographical ideas behind varying forms of body modification across the globe. Among these modifications are tattoos, piercings, scarification, gouging, and implantations. They are also discussing symbolism, hygienic practices, training and artistic skills that are involved with body modification. At the conclusion of the class in early-April, students should be able to make educated decisions about what body modifications communicate to others.
Leaders Here, Leaders There: This Leadership For Justice class ferrets out each class participant’s strengths and styles as a leader. All Eagle Rock School students are working on their own Leadership For Justice binder as they move toward their personal power standard. Students in this class are using informational interviews with our partners in Rocky Mountain National Park to see how leaders in the National Park Service (NPS) lead their employees. And students will be spending much of their time in the park, looking at how the National Park Service is increasing diversity and relevancy to the nation’s changing demographics.