Eagle Rock School’s 71st trimester is officially underway this week, with returning students attending classes that offer a lot from which to choose. And, as is our custom, all of these classes place importance on eliciting interest and engagement from students.
This time around, for example, there’s a class that actually makes chemistry interesting. How so, you ask? By combining it with cooking. Full minds and full stomachs appear to be on the horizon.
Another class that will likely draw the curious is a research class in which each student picks a project that is of particular interest to him or her. Nobody’s making anybody study “the history of concrete,” for example. What the class promises is this: By the end of the trimester, students will become the resident expert on a topic that interests them and that they thoroughly enjoy.
Interested? Below is a partial list of what we’re offering students this trimester:
Geometric Quilting: This class is about problem solving — both through sewing quilts and exploring geometry. Students are probing the relationships between the math, art, history and culture of quilts. To kick the class off, students are creating a group sampler quilt. After that, they will each design and create their own quilts by hand and machine, exploring the connections between patterns, colors, shapes and textures — as well as discovering the geometry embedded within quilts. Following will be lessons on budgeting and discovering how intentional mathematical decisions support creativity.
Ethnography: In this class students learn to see and hear various points of view pertaining to a group or an individual, enabling them to communicate not only verbally, but also holistically. This ensures a more effective two-way conversation. Ethnography, by the way, is the recording and analysis of a culture or society — usually based on participant-observation — that results in a written account of its people, place or institution. Today, this analysis usually focuses on a particular aspect of contemporary social life such as the work place, a sporting event or on a school campus. Students are presenting their observations and experience with a wide audience through biweekly podcasts, and by learning about the customs, cultures and identities of people in communities near and far, all the while polishing their skills as narrators for those cultures’ stories.
Chemistry of Cooking: This is a chemistry class, no doubt about that. But our student cooks are studying the chemical changes that food undergoes when it is cooked and processed. Our fledgling chefs/chemists are using techniques such as browning, kneading, emulsifying and fermenting to create different tastes and textures in foods. And throughout the class, they are putting that knowledge to the test, creating dishes and analyzing the results by using the chemistry they learned and by written lab reports. The final “exam” will include hosting a meal for people in the Eagle Rock community in which they hear about the chemistry behind what their meal.
Queer Lit: In this class, students are engaged with a series of texts from and about the Lesbian Gay BI Trans Queer (LGBTQ) community. By examining their historical context as well as significance in our present-day culture, students practice techniques for identifying important aspects of a text and how to effectively use that information to engage in discussion. Aside from reading literature, students will view movies, conduct interviews and engage in current events. And they will demonstrate what they are learning through writing, discussion and other creative outlets.
Environmental Racism: Eagle Rock students in this class are learning how to generate potential solutions and action steps to combat environmental racism. Students will consider how colonization has led to systemic racism that can have a negative and dangerous effect on the environment. By diving deep into case studies of examples of environmental racism, and through a combination of reading, class discussions, field trips and films, the class will discover root causes and the dangers of a number of environmental situations. And they will find how these causes can impact communities — especially communities of color.
What’s Your Legacy? This class asks students to leave a legacy behind when they depart Eagle Rock School by developing and completing a Legacy Project and Reflection. Intended to have a long-term beneficial effect on the Eagle Rock campus, past projects have included swings and benches, a chair for the library, a book return island, a school store, murals, a sculpture garden, and a composting program for the Eagle Rock community among many others.
Feeling Lucky?: Why do people gamble, especially if the house almost always wins? Why have an increasing number of states and municipalities legalized gambling? And what causes or leads to developing a gambling addiction? Students in this class will find answers to these questions and more as they examine the mathematics of gambling. As students study the numbers behind games, they will be learning about the world of gaming and its social impacts. Class time will be devoted not only to gambling, but discussions on real-life decisions. In addition, the class will plan casino-style games for a casino night for the Eagle Rock community.
Winter Ecology: Exploring the ecological relationships that animals and plants have to endure in the winter months is the primary objective of this class, with students telemark skiing twice a week to investigate these relationships as well as our local mountain ecosystem. In particular, students are studying plants and animals adapting to life in winter conditions. As a bonus, students will learn skills needed to travel safely in the backcountry by skiing on a variety of trails and terrain in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Lifelong Fitness: Cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility and body composition are all components of fitness, but being “fit” can come in all different shapes and sizes. In this class students are applying these components in activities that include swimming, weight training and yoga. By testing the results, students can make predictions about their future health and how to improve or maintain their fitness.
Research: Wouldn’t it be nice to be known as the go-to expert in a particular field? In this class, students are going to painstakingly investigate and research a topic that is of interest to them, steadily progressing from a novice to an expert in that particular field. They will learn how to find and evaluate both print and digital sources, and examine the main arguments, purposes and biases within them. They will also synthesize a growing body of knowledge in an organized way, eventually sharing their new understanding by developing a thesis statement and writing a traditional research paper. Daily class activities include careful reading, writing, rewriting and giving and receiving feedback. Who knows? Maybe CNN or Politico will call upon some of these researchers some day to offer an expert view. It could happen.
Check back in about 30 days for another rundown of class offerings. In the meantime, if you have any questions about our classes, how we come up with them, and anything about the individual offerings mentioned above, feel free to connect with our Director of Curriculum, Jen Frickey, by emailing jenfrickey at eaglerockschool dot org.