Students entering EPS for 5th and 6th grade will take a minimum of two Visual Arts,
two Theatre, and two Music courses over their MS career. Students entering as 7th graders
must take one course from each Fine & Performing Arts area. Students entering as 8th graders
must take one course from two different areas (e.g. one course from Visual Arts and one course
Participation in Sports
- 5 trimester courses must be taken in grades 9 to 12. PE Wellness must be one of these credits during the 9th grade year.
MS Course Requirement (4 years)
US Graduation Requirement (4 years)
MS Course Requirement (10 trimesters)
US Graduation Requirement
- 5 trimester courses must be taken in grades 9 to 12.
Participation in EPS Theatre Productions
US Graduation Requirement (3 years)
MS Course Requirement (9 trimesters)
US Graduation Requirements (5 trimesters)
US Graduation Requirement (3 years or completion of Spanish 4)
Technology is a placeholder word for tools which society is adopting. Currently that includes computers, 3D printers, video editing
and countless other ideas and tools. Eastside Prep strives to offer students experiences with the current state of the art in technology
whether that is the, now, traditional courses of programming, web design or video editing (housed under the Fine and Performing Arts Tab)
or newer offerings such as the concrete Physical Meets Digital or more abstract Evolution of Society.
This course focuses on the four principle skill areas of reading, writing, group discussion and oral presentation. Students explore what it means to be literary thinkers in connection to their big question, Who Am I? Students have the opportunity to read, discuss, and analyze young adult fiction as they deepen their understanding of the interplay between the basic elements of fiction: character, plot, setting and themes. Through literature and writing students explore what makes a good story and practice telling their own stories, focusing first on the personal, and then expanding into fiction. Through experiencing the writing process, including generating ideas, developing drafts, revising for tone, word choice, and detail, and editing for grammar and other written conventions, students continually build their writers’ toolbox. Regular work on vocabulary and grammar skills is incorporated throughout the year. Group discussion and oral presentation skills, including how to effectively express ideas, listen to others, and respond and build on ideas presented, are emphasized.
Students examine what it means to be a literary thinker in this genre-study course as they are introduced to a diverse selection of literature and oral traditions (including poems, folktales and myths, contemporary fiction, and classics such as Tom Sawyer). Students explore their big question, What Is The World Made Of?, by examining the way texts have shaped the world while practicing reading skills such as making predictions and drawing comparisons and inferences. The course focuses on understanding story structure through reading and writing stories and the practice of story-telling techniques. Giving presentations and participating in class discussions are also an important part of the class. Students work regularly to build their vocabulary and hone their grammatical skills.
Students build upon their knowledge of what it means to be a literary thinker as they compare readings to personal experience and understand readings in historical context. They have the opportunity to engage with texts from a wide range of genres and to participate in literary discussions with their peers. Texts may include Of Mice and Men, Macbeth, and Brave New World as well as contemporary young adult fiction. Students expand their vocabulary and sharpen their grammatical skills while concentrating on writing and presenting effectively for different audiences and purposes. As they explore the big question How Did We Get Here?, they focus extensively on writing as an ongoing process.
Building upon the eighth grade question, What Does It Mean To Be Human?, this course challenges students to consider the diversity of the world around them while striving to define their place in it both as individuals and as thoughtful global citizens. The year is divided into three sections, Cultures of the World, Cultures in Conflict, and From Conflict to Consensus. Working from texts such as Martel's Life of Pi, Achebe's Things Fall Apart, Weisel's Night, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Orwell's 1984, and Anaya's Bless Me, Ultima, students work to become more critical readers, deliberate and powerful writers, and considerate contributors to class and to the larger global community. In the course, students work with grammatical concepts and vocabulary acquisition weekly, and they hone writing skills through creative pieces, journals, personal narratives, and textual analyses. In addition, sustainability issues weave throughout the year; common themes in this arena are examined across curricula in Literary, Historical, and Scientific Thinking, as well as in the 8th grade course, Environmental Practices.
This course delves into the fantastic "magical realism," a defining aesthetic of Latin American literature, and that literature's commitment to the exploration of personal and national identities. Coursework includes a selective reading of some of the major Latin American authors of the 19th through 20th centuries, in addition to the narratives of indigenous cultures. Students read a selection of short fiction by writers such as Borges, Marquez, and Alvarez, poetry by Neruda and others, and Isabel Allende's modern classic, The House of the Spirits.
This course provides an in-depth introduction to the exciting world of the earliest written texts-their arrogant but generous leaders, half-human best friends, hair-raising battles, and timeless love stories. These ancient epics remain some of the most influential epic poems in human history. Students read "the first poem," Gilgamesh, and Homer's The Odyssey, in addition to a selection of shorter Middle Eastern and Western lyric poetry, and Aristotle's and Plato's writings on the role of poetry and art in society.
This course provides students with an introduction to some of the earliest literature in the Anglo Saxon canon, including Beowulf, the wonderful Arthurian adventure epic poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and Chaucer’s witty and fascinating portraits of ordinary English citizens on pilgrimage in Canterbury Tales. Students explore archetypes and motifs that carry throughout Western literature: the hero’s epic journey of self-discovery; the rise and consequences of hubris; the conflicts of the individual (male and female) in society; the relationships between the mystical, supernatural, and the everyday world.
This course introduces students to English literature between the French Revolutionary period and the Victorian era at the end of the 19th century. Alongside the French Revolution, English writers sought radical new modes of expressing individual identity in a world of increasing fragmentation and institutionalized power. Early 19th century Romantic and Victorian writers explored their own natures in response to a rapidly modernizing world. Authors include Blake, Dickens, and Charlotte Bronte.
This course introduces students to Shakespeare's oeuvre, covering both plays and sonnets. Shakespeare's work examines and dramatizes issues explosive in any era: the relationship between individuals and the state; love and desire; gender roles, betrayal, loss. Additionally, students explore the qualities of Shakespeare's poetic language. When possible, students attend a Shakespeare performance and/or work with performing arts faculty on the dramatic aspects of the texts.
As the 19th century comes to a close and the 20th century begins, the Victorian desire for definition turns into a need for independence and the ability to set the course of one's own life. This sets in motion a monumental battle between the rules of the old world and the desires of the new, intensified by the general sense of cultural dissolution following the First World War. Via Forester, Joyce, Camus, and others, this course explores the consequent aesthetic movement known as modernism.
Modern literature in most African countries explores the continent's richness of culture, landscape, and struggles for self-determination. This is a contemporary course founded on themes of traditional vs. modern and city vs. pastoral. Students read a novel by the contemporary Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie, the classic South African novel, Cry, The Beloved Country, and a selection of essays from Ryszard Kapuscinski's Shadow of the Sun.
Through 20th and 21st century literature about China, Japan, and Vietnam students explore themes such as China’s Cultural Revolution and the wizardry of martial arts. Humor and hope temper fatalistic sensibilities; the supernatural and natural worlds merge to create a multi-faceted realism in literature and in anime film. Students read Samurai’s Garden, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, Paradise of the Blind, and watch two modern Asian film classics- To Live and Spirited Away.
Responding to the new prominence of Middle Eastern geography, history, politics, and culture in the United States, this class incorporates works by Middle Eastern and Middle Eastern American writers: a selection of Israeli and Lebanese poets, Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis), Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Naomi Shihab Nye, and the Iranian-American writer Firoozeh Dumas. This course examines the political role of literature, particularly in relation to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, gender roles in Islamic culture, and the immigrant experience of Middle Easterners in the United States.
The 11th grade course of study in English provides a broad and diverse survey of works by North American authors representing a variety of historical periods and the vast number of perspectives that comprise the American cultural experience. Students address questions such as: How has the notion of American “liberty” evolved since colonial times, and how is it still evolving, still unfinished? Who and what is “American?” And, most broadly, How does the literature of the United States both reflect and create its culture? Authors include Hawthorne, Thoreau, Alexie, Fitzgerald, and DeLillo.
Suzanne Langer wrote in Feeling and Form: A Theory of Art: “Art is a symbolic presentation of feeling.” This course examines one particular theme per year within selections of world literature such as: revenge, ecstasy, madness, love, guilt, jealousy, ambition. Course readings show how writers (in various genres and across time periods) explore and develop the connection between psychologies of emotion and intention. Major authors include a selection from the following: Hemingway, Eliot, Woolf, Shakespeare, and Faulkner.
Today the novel is the most pervasive literary form in the English language, but before the 1700s it did not exist. This course provides an in-depth study of the novel form in the 18th through the mid-20th centuries. Students explore the rise of the novel through a thematic approach--not only the various elements that make up the novel (plot, characterization, style, genre, theme, etc.) but also its development in historical, cultural, and thematic contexts. Major authors include a selection from the following: Defoe, Fielding, Conrad, Austen, Salinger, McCullers, and Egan.
This course focuses on the tradition of environmental literature in America and contemporary critical and literary texts. Lawrence Buell, a major theorist in "eco-criticism," describes his critical practice as one that relies on the notion of individual and societal accountability to the natural environment as a pressing ethical concern for contemporary society. Major authors include: Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman (selected essays and poetry); Emily Dickinson (selected poetry); Rachel Carson, Leslie Marmon Silko.
This course engages students in the study of literature and other arts in the United States during the high Modern period (World War I through the 1950s). During this period the general sense of cultural dissolution produced a desire to destroy older, established forms of artistic expression, thus giving rise to a modern "renaissance".the molding of a new artistic consciousness. The course encourages students to examine the connections made through and by the literature, fi lm and music of the period, critically extending their understanding of the ramifications of a brief period of time through to the perception of that time today. Major authors include a selection from the following: Kerouac, Hansberry, Ginsberg, Chandler.
This course is a critical exploration of major cultural and arts ideology of the past thirty years, with an emphasis on science fiction (or, as it's sometimes called, "speculative fiction"). Students explore this cultural-aesthetic movement called Postmodernism, one fraught with fragmentation and ambiguity. Familiarity with postmodernism prepares students to address it in various college-level frameworks. Authors and philosophers studied include: Thomas Pynchon, William Gibson, Neil Stephenson, Jacque Derrida, Jean-Francois Lyotard, and Jean Baudrillard.
This course focuses on North America from pre-history through the 19th century. Using primary source documents, secondary source texts, and hands-on research, students are introduced to what it means to be a historical thinker. The Big Question, Who Am I?, connects course topics to student experience through the researching and writing of family histories. Themes include: native cultures, early Native-European interactions, exploration, colonization, the formation of a new nation. United States geography and map skills are integrated throughout this study.
The thematic question of the 6th grade year, What Is The World Made Of?, guides this course. Study begins with a unit on World Geography which is followed by a comparative analysis of the history of the ancient civilizations of China, Egypt and West Africa, Greece, and Rome. The literary aspects of these ancient societies are examined concurrently in Literary Thinking 1 through the reading and writing of myths and folktales. Historical thinking skills practiced in this course include asking questions, analyzing evidence, drawing conclusions, and relating this information back to the thematic question.
The big question, How Did We Get Here? guides this course. Study begins with a United States geography unit to give a physical foundation for later topics. A review of the core ideals of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights follows, establishing a framework through which to study American history from the mid-19th Century to the modern day. Thematic units explore the Constitution, Slavery & the Civil War, Immigration & the Industrial Revolution. Students also write a research paper that addresses the Big Question, receiving guidance from their Literary Thinking 2 and Historical Thinking 2 teachers. Midway through the year, emphasis shifts from United States to Washington State History, as students grapple with issues of the region. Historical thinking skills practiced in this course include: asking questions, analyzing evidence, and drawing conclusions that can be formed into histories. Readings include primary sources, secondary selections, and novels. Coursework is integrated throughout the year with the Literary Thinking 2 course.
The big question, What Does It Mean To Be Human? guides this course. Study focuses on the roots of contemporary global issues and the development of a global perspective through research, discussion, and expression of personal perspectives. Concepts of cultural diversity and resolution dialogue are constructed within a deliberate progression of three units: Cultures of the World, Cultures in Conflict, and From Conflict to Consensus. Literary aspects tied to these topics are explored concurrently in the Literary Thinking 3 course. Curriculum is intentionally designed as preparation for more rigorous Upper School coursework, and centers on respectful discussion and debate that fosters independent thought and expression.
(1.5 MYA-900 CE) Humans and their immediate ancestors appeared 100,000 to 200,000 years ago and have gathered themselves into social groups for almost as long. The history of human civilization, however, stretches back only a little more than 5,000 years. This course addresses the vast expanse of time between the emergence of humans and the rise of civilization--Prehistory. Course topics focus on the development of technological, cultural, political, and economic features that characterize "civilized" human societies, and includes explorations of the origins of early Mesoamerican, Mesopotamian, Ancient Chinese, and Aboriginal Australian cultures.
(900-1950 CE) From the early Aztec and Mayan civilizations to contemporary nation-states, the identities of Latin American peoples evolved along multiple paths. Content in this course focuses on cultural elements unique to the peoples of Central and South America, and on the impact of transculturation from the time of first contact with European explorers and settlers to the modern day. Course topics include: the relationship between the indigenous, Spanish, and emergent mestizo culture as connected to the Catholic encomienda system; the roots of Latin American nationalism; Latin American independence movements.
(300-1400 CE) Coined by the intelligentsia of the Renaissance, the term "medieval" suggests a cultural ebb between two great waves of change and development; yet this period saw the emergence of many of the European political, religious and economic institutions that influence the world today. Students examine the fall of Rome, life in the Dark Ages, the rise of the Catholic Church, and European monarchies. The period is examined by employing both the most recent scholarship on the era and primary source documents contemporary to the time.
(1400-1650 CE) To shape and make sense of our past, historians feel compelled to divide it into time periods, each given a name that epitomizes the spirit of the era. First used by the French historian Jules Michelet in 1858, "Renaissance" (or rebirth) describes the period of transition between the medieval epoch, when Europe was "Christendom,"and the beginning of the Modern Age. Exploration in this course considers the specific advances and revolutions in thought that define the Renaissance period, with special focus placed on art history.
(1650-1850 CE) The 18th and 19th centuries were revolutionary periods that saw the rise of social, political, and economic movements that continue to impact the world today. Investigation in this course examines revolutions in thought beginning with the Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment, and continuing through the French and Industrial Revolutions. Students examine Kuhn's concept of Paradigm Shift and Briton's Anatomy of Revolution.
(1848-1945 CE) From the publication of the Communist Manifesto to the rise of Nationalist movements, European history is marked by the testing of a myriad of competing ideologies championed by individuals, groups, and nation-states. Study in this course traces the roots of modernity by investigating the economic and political philosophies that arose in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Europe, including capitalism, communism, nationalism and fascism. These topics are studied in the context of World War I, the Russian Revolution, World War II and the emergence of the European Union.
(1868 CE-Present) The histories of China, Japan and other Asian nations evidence some of the most ancient and rigidly structured cultural systems in human history. Many argue that departures from these same cultural structures are the driving force behind recent economic and political development. Subject matter in this course explores the history of Asia, and perhaps more importantly, considers questions regarding these countries' future trajectories. Focusing on the post-WWI time period, analyses in this course consider the complex interplay between economic development and cultural preservation.
(1800 CE-Present) At the Conference of Berlin in 1885, European powers staked claim to virtually the entire continent of Africa. European leaders used maps to divide the continent describing vast areas as terra incognita, and drew arbitrary boundaries with little regard for the myriad of traditional monarchies, ethnicities, and social structures that existed within those borders. Work within this course explores the motivations of the European powers in the context of the colonization of Africa, and the subsequent effects of imperialism on modern African states. Case studies include the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa.
(1917 CE-Present) The history of the modern Middle East is a reflection of complex relationships between distinct peoples, cultures and religions. Investigation in this course begins with an examination of the origins of Islam, analysis of the modern Zionist movement, and a study of European involvement in the region after WWI. Coursework continues with a discussion of the reorganization of national boundaries by the United Nations following the British withdrawal from the region in the 1940's, and the resulting legacy of contemporary conflict. Finally, heavy focus is put on both the domestic and international significance of the region and its peoples today. Case studies include: the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the growth of the modern Iraqi state, the Iranian Revolution, and the recent social and political transformations in Egypt.
In this course, evolution of American democracy is considered as "a path and a project, not a destination." Examination of the Colonial Period through the modern day is framed by two approaches: (a) case-study history, where the context of select time periods is investigated and connected to contemporary American experience and issues; and (b) historiography, where the impact of the methodologies and biases of the historians who have written on these time periods is examined. Each segment of the course explores a different historical span and essential question: (1607-1810) How were imported European cultural, political, religious, economic values adapted and/or transformed in the early colonies and nation? (1830-Present) How does the historical experience of those originally excluded from the arc of human rights (because of race, class, and/or gender) show progress toward the ideals captured in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution? (1870-Present) As the complexity of contemporary American life has increased in the 20th and 21st centuries, how have leadership, technology, and media transformed the role of the American citizen?
*Consideration of the history of Washington state in the context of national history is woven into the second and third segments of the course.
Since the beginning of human history, with the development of communal living, humans have constructed, maintained and dismantled countless forms and functions of government. Study in this course analyzes various forms of international governmental and economic organization, including totalitarianism, communism, constitutional monarchy, democracy (republicanism), democratic Socialism, and fascism. More abstract constructs of political theory are also investigated including individualism, egalitarianism, and utopianism. Course work asks students to focus on the question: What is the role of the individual in a corporate society? This course is designed to educate and empower the next voting constituency of our country.
Perspectives of economically developing countries are explored, using concrete, empirical data and case studies to illustrate economic concepts, patterns of human development, including growth and resource use. Course topics include: inequality and poverty, population, education, investment, productivity, growth, foreign aid, fiscal policy, production trade and sustainable vs. non-sustainable industrial development, foreign debt and financial crises. Coursework focuses on the questions: How does modern technology fuel global economic development? and What role should foreign aid and foreign investment play in nascent national economies? Student-driven seminars are a core component of this course.
(1938-Present) While the 20th century is often dubbed the American Century, the first decade of the 21st century has seen an increase in globalism and a "flattening" of the world. In this course students: explore the role the United States has played in modern global history and contemporary global policy, and attempt to predict its future role in international relations. Through seminar and simulation students gain insight into the processes of foreign policy and diplomacy. Topics include: the Cold War, and the functions of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the United Nations. Students culminate their experience by playing the role of a United Nations delegate in a model UN Security Council simulation.
The origins of democracy trace back to the city-states of ancient Greece. At that time, democracy meant simply "rule of the citizens" (the demos), and was designed to allow citizens to have a voice in decisions that would affect all. Since its inception, democratic theory and its practical applications have evolved significantly. Coursework establishes the foundations of democratic theory, investigating its origins from the 5th century BCE to its resurgence in the early-modern political theory of thinkers like John Locke, Thomas Hobbes and Alexis deTocqueville. From this foundation analysis shifts to contemporary challenges to democratic values in the United States. Course topics include theories of direct, deliberative, and distributive democracy. A democratic philosophy and systemic model for later civic action is a culminating project for each student. In national election years specific attention is given to the American electoral process and party politics.
Jurisprudence is the philosophy and science of the law. Exploration in this course focuses on source and justification of the law, its scope and function in the human history, and contemporary legal frameworks in the United States. Classic U.S. Supreme Court cases include: Plessy vs. Ferguson, Gideon vs. Wainwright, and Brown vs. Board of Education. The purpose of this course is the creation and empowerment of informed citizens who are fully aware of both the rights and responsibilities granted them by the Constitution of the United States.
The lenses of Race, Class, Gender and the Environment are employed to investigate the underlying values and impacts of public policy on particular segments of American society. Policy topics may include: education, immigration, transportation, healthcare or environmental justice. Where possible, this course focuses on local, public policy in the Seattle-area. The culminating project requires students to advocate for a policy position of their choice on the local or national level. The roles of citizen and political leader are examined by employing the concept of competing goods within the public policy realm.
This course is designed to give students extensive exposure to working with fractions, decimals, and percentages. These concepts are built through hands-on methods and investigations, enabling students to develop standard procedures. Students are prepared for more advanced work in math by covering the fundamentals in these areas, along with topics in 2-dimensional geometry. Students also receive a solid grounding in practical problem-solving. Covered topics include basic number theory, factors and multiples, operations with fractions and decimals and percentages, angles, polygons, and measurement of area and perimeter.
This course applies the basic operations of Mathematical Thinking 1 to more complex problems. Fractions, decimals, and percentages are mastered and applied to the concepts of ratios and rates. The use of variables and algebraic concepts are introduced. Topics covered include: negative numbers, operating with fractions and mixed numbers, unit conversions, percentages, graphing, and time permitting, probability and statistics.
This course provides needed background for Algebra. An investigative approach is used to extend students’ knowledge of operations on numbers to operations with variables. Students find ways to use variables and numbers to solve problems while working collaboratively with others. Use of exponents and square roots is also developed. Topics include equations and problem-solving with one variable, inequalities, proportions, further concepts in geometry and statistics.
This introductory course explores the concepts of algebra, with emphases on an investigative approach and problem solving. Students explore patterns and develop algebraic methods for solving problems. Topics emphasized include linear, quadratic and exponential modeling; inequalities, systems of equations, exponents, and operating with polynomials.
An investigative approach is used to introduce students to the fundamentals of geometry and stress the relationship between geometric concepts and real applications. Topics covered include properties of parallel lines, all aspects of triangle geometry including congruence and similarity, the Pythagorean Theorem and its applications, areas of 2D figures and volumes of 3D figures, and algebra review. Throughout the course, there is an emphasis on problem-solving, using known geometric properties to deduce solutions and proof techniques.
Students deepen their knowledge of content learned in Algebra I and explore more complex material. The investigative approach remains integral to this course, and developing problem-solving skills is a central goal in each topic area. The course focuses on the analysis of different types of functions, including linear, quadratic, polynomial, rational, exponential, and logarithmic. Matrices, systems of linear equations and linear programming are also explored.
Pre-Calculus builds on topics explored in Algebra 2. Polynomial, rational, exponential and logarithmic functions are studied in detail and linear systems and matrices are explored in more depth--with a focus on manual rather than calculator-based solution. Students are introduced to Trigonometry in all four quadrants. Analytic Trigonometry including solution of triangles, trigonometric equations and identities is covered in detail.
Coursework investigates topics from one (or a combination) of the following three subject topic areas: (1) Number Contemplation and Infinity: exploring numerical patterns in nature, the significance of prime numbers, the mathematics of error correcting codes such as those in bar codes and methods of encryption, an exploration of irrational and real numbers, and an in-depth look at the concept of infinity and determining whether there are different sizes of infinities. (2) Geometric Gems and Contortions of Space: exploring the relationship of geometry to nature including architecture and aesthetics through the golden rectangle, Fibonacci series, and the platonic solids, and a look at the fourth dimension and topics in topology, such as rubber sheets, knots, and mobius strips.(3) Making Sense of Uncertainty and Deciding Wisely: exploring probability and prediction including the relationship between intuition and probability and an investigation of coincidence, and a look at the pros and cons of various statistical representations and the practical applications of probability and statistics, including financial risk management, deciding who should win an election and how to divide scarce resources fair.
Students are introduced to the fundamental principles of calculus, beginning with the relationship to limits and continuing with an exploration of the key concepts of differentiation and integration. Applications of these principles include: related rates, optimization, area beneath a curve and volumes of revolution. The course concludes with an introduction to differential equations. While not an AP course, the syllabus includes similar topics and can prepare students to take the AP Calculus AB exam in May of each year.
Coursework expands on topics covered in Calculus, while also exploring applications of calculus to other coordinate systems. Topics covered include: integration by parts, the method of partial fractions, improper integrals and Infinite series including Taylor series. Alternate coordinate systems and vector-valued functions are studied extensively. The course concludes with a detailed investigation of the behavior of 3-Dimensional functions through multivariable calculus, including differentiation, rates of change and optimization of 3-Dimensional functions. Coursework can prepare interested students for the BC level AP Calculus exam.
In the first trimester, students are introduced to the fundamental principles of statistics beginning with descriptive statistics and experimental design. The second trimester focuses on probability with a transition to inferential statistics.The third trimester focuses on inferential statistics and it's applications, such as hypothesis testing and confidence intervals.
This course broadens students’ definition of math and exposes them to further math topics they would expect to see in college. By studying a breadth of topics students will understand the connectedness and internalize what is at the core of all mathematics- reasoning and creativity. Specific topics of study will include: set theory, graph theory, number theory, game theory, and topology. To lay down the foundation for college experiences, the topics of differential equations and matrices will be studied as well.
Students are introduced to different areas of scientific thinking by exploring life, earth, physical and environmental science. Students examine topics such as ecology, sustainability, the scientific method, measurement, scientific models, and safety. Students learn to observe and analyze information and practice good lab techniques. Scientific writing is introduced as a skill with which students document and share information. In addition, students read works of both fiction and non-fiction that incorporate relevant scientific content. A key purpose of this course is to guide students in thinking and acting like scientists.
This physical science course provides an introduction to chemistry and physics. In this study of matter and energy, students consider from a scientific perspective, the 6th grade question, What Is The World Made Of? It is a fun, hands-on course that teaches appropriate use of laboratory equipment, lab safety, and the scientific method. Students design and conduct experiments, build models and incorporate math, history and writing as they continue to learn what it means to think like a scientist.
Through lab activities, experiments, and research, students explore living things, cells, heredity, evolution, classification, simple organisms, plants, animals, ecology, human body systems and human health. Students gain a better understanding of the diversity of life on Earth. Students also practice with experiment design and techniques. In addition, students grapple scientifically with their big question, How Did We Get Here?
This experiential course is focused on studying the complex environments of Western Washington, and more specifically, the Puget Sound Lowlands. Students focus their studies on local forest and riparian ecosystems in our urban environment, by learning plant and macroinvertebrate identification, conducting field studies on the abiotic and biotic factors that contribute to the health of these ecosystems, and considering human interactions and effects of these interactions on environmental sustainability. Students explore these concepts through class discussions, lab work, and weekly, hands-on, outdoor field trips to nearby urban trails, local streams, the EPS organic garden at the Ohde Avenue Pea Patch, and continuing restoration efforts at Watershed Park.
This course offers an exciting and challenging series of scientific investigations designed to help students gain understanding of the complex interactions of Earth’s systems, humans' relationship with the planet, and the relationship of the planet with the rest of the Universe. Students engage in hands-on lab work and experimental design, supported by readings and class discussions, exploring concepts in chemistry, astronomy, oceanography, meteorology, and geology. Students form a strong foundation for work in Upper School science courses.
This course focuses on helping students raise their awareness and explore global challenges with regard to the limited resources of our planet. In particular, water, food, and energy are studied, on both large and small scales. Topics include water rights, food production and waste, and different sources of energy. Coursework focuses an eye toward exploring sustainable options. Course learning is applied to a culminating project where students work in pairs to reimagine an existing island as a sustainable system, while grappling with both technological and financial constraints.
This hands-on lab course excites young scientists and prepare all students to be healthy, productive and scientifically literate citizens in an era of unprecedented advances in biology. The Theory of Evolution is presented throughout the year as a central unifying theme of biology. This lens allows for a rich understanding of a range of topics from biodiversity and heredity to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Biochemistry is presented in the context of nutrition and when students burn food to determine relative caloric content, they also learn to build spreadsheets that allow data sharing and analysis. Rather than memorize taxonomies, students consider how new understanding and technological advancements demand reorganization of dated classification systems. Students learn many ubiquitous lab procedures such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and gel electrophoresis. We also use online tools from the emerging field of bioinformatics. Whether in a case study of a family considering genetic testing for inherited disease or in lab projects such as “DNA Fingerprinting” and genetic modification of bacteria, students find ample opportunity to grapple with ethical issues and reflect upon the role of science in society.
Building on foundations from chemistry and general biology, this course focuses on human health, medical science and biotechnology. Students develop a more sophisticated understanding of how homeostasis is maintained through interactions of the human body systems. Investigation of specific applications of science in the diagnosis and treatment of human disease and injury is also engaged. CPR and First Aid training accompany a survey of anatomy and physiology. Numerous opportunities are provided to refine and expand laboratory techniques and skills sought after in university research labs and the biotech field.
This hands-on course explores the structure and behavior matter and its interaction with energy. Students will examine matter on an atomic and subatomic level and then apply this knowledge to explain phenomena they observe during experiments. Major concepts such as atomic structure, bonding, stoichiometry and nuclear chemistry will be explored using a mixture inquiry-based activities, projects and experiments. Students will also apply concepts they have learned in earlier math and science classes.
This course builds on the topics covered in Chemistry. It provides motivated students with the opportunity to study more advanced topics primarily through experimentation. It remains a qualitative and quantitative introduction to the macroscopic chemical behavior of inorganic and organic substances based on molecular structure. Extensive laboratory work introduces, reinforces, and extends theoretical topics covered via reading and lecture. Topics include predicting and analyzing chemical changes, reaction kinetics, mechanisms, equilibrium, electrochemistry, nuclear chemistry, thermodynamics, coordination chemistry, along with a unit on organic reactions and associated spectroscopic analysis. Students also learn to analyze and interpret data using spreadsheets. While not an AP course, it prepares students to take the AP Chemistry exam if they desire.
Physics is an inquiry-based course in which students are asked to find and explore patterns in the most fundamental behaviors of matter and energy. Students look at models of motion, forces, energy, wave mechanics, and electromagnetism. In addition to developing a solid conceptual understanding of physical phenomena, students hone their skills in creating visual and mathematical models through lab activities that are increasingly self-directed. Students then apply these models to engineering design projects that demonstrate their understanding.
Why do things happen the way that they do? What misconceptions about the world exist in my mind? In this course, students use observation, physical laws and mathematics to develop a more sophisticated worldview. Occasional diversions are taken into just how strange the universe actually is when viewed outside of the human scale (both very large and very small). Students make sophisticated, accurate, and confident predictions about physical interactions and observe everyday phenomena with refreshed curiosity. The course primarily covers Newtonian mechanics (force, motion, momentum, energy, rotational dynamics and simple harmonic motion); upon completion of that material other topics in physics such as sound, optics, relativity and quantum mechanics are selected--in part based on interest of enrolled students. Concepts and tools are used regularly with a focus on problem solving. While not labeled an AP course, Advanced Physics can prepare student for the AP Physics Mechanics C test.
What are the functions of an ecosystem in the Pacific Northwest, and how can we influence them? In this course ecosystems are investigated through student-designed research, and with students using their knowledge to affect positive change in our environment. Students gather data for use by city government and non-profits to better understand trophic levels, nutrient cycles, and the influence of human activity in natural environments. The course builds on scientific skills gained in Biology and Chemistry. Topics include the life history of salmon, succession in the Northwest, and stream ecology.
An immersive and interactive introduction to Spanish language and Spanish-speaking cultures, this course launches the development of students’ communicative ability through the application of the four language skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. With the emphasis on increasing spoken Spanish proficiency, classroom time focuses on: 1) creating a collaborative, fun, and supportive community which encourages risk-taking when speaking, 2) learning vocabulary and grammar which are relevant to the conversations, 3) role- and game-playing, and 4) learning how to complete tasks and projects, all exclusively in Spanish. Speaking skills are refined through conversational explorations of school, family and fun, daily living, food, and clothing. Similarities and differences between the US and Hispanic cultures across all topics will are highlighted.
Topics explored in Speaking Spanish (Grade 5) are intentionally revisited to increase the depth of students' conversational skills. Immersive and interactive exploration of the Spanish language and Spanish-speaking cultures continues. Development of students’ communicative ability is furthered the through the application of the four language skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. With the emphasis on increasing spoken Spanish proficiency, classroom time focuses on 1) creating a collaborative, fun, and supportive community which encourages risk-taking when speaking, 2) learning vocabulary and grammar which are relevant to the conversations, 3) role- and game-playing, and 4) learning how to complete tasks and projects, all exclusively in Spanish. Speaking skills are refined through conversational explorations of school, family and fun, food and wildlife. Similarities and differences between the US and Hispanic cultures across all topics will are highlighted.
This bridge course provides a year of transition between Middle and Upper School Spanish courses. Students approach the study of the language in a more structured way both engaging more formal assessments and receiving letter grades. Development of students’ communicative ability is furthered through the application of four language skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. With an emphasis on increasing spoken Spanish proficiency, class time focuses on 1) creating a collaborative, fun, and supportive community which encourages risk-taking when speaking and writing, 2) learning vocabulary and grammar relevant to the class topics, 3) using language in real-life situations, and 4) completing tasks and projects in Spanish. Speaking skills are further refined through conversational explorations of themes relevant to their lives. Students revisit concepts and topics learned previously, as they continue to explore Spanish language and Spanish-speaking cultures (often done in the context of comparing and contrasting Hispanic and American culture).
Starting from “hola,” this course is for beginning Spanish speakers. In each segment, students are introduced to new grammar and vocabulary and by the end of the year they have the ability to talk and write about a variety of topics. Students learn functions such as how to greet people and make introductions, explain where people are from, how to express what they are feeling, and talk about activities, food, clothes, houses, sports. Emphasis during class time is on laying the groundwork for spoken-Spanish proficiency. Grammar topics include: present tense of regular, stem-changing and irregular verbs, gustar, possessive adjectives, comparatives, direct object pronouns, and affirmative tú commands.
Building upon the skills acquired in classes through Spanish 1, students explore contexts such as travel, sporting events, shopping, past events and activities, food, movies, plans and school-related issues. Main grammar points include basic present and past tenses, and a review of commands. Students use Spanish to give and request opinions, tell stories and narrate action formally and informally, to get information from people, to follow recipes, and share a biography. Proficiency is enhanced by encouraging natural expression in Spanish in small groups and with partners each day. The class includes a weekly song, at least one film, a major research project centered around a Latin music genre of student choice, and frequent use of video clips, news, and other print and online resources. The emphasis during class time is on spoken Spanish and the course is conducted in the target language.
Building upon the content and skills learned in classes through Spanish 2, students’ Spanish proficiency gains greater depth. Earlier concepts are reviewed while adding new functions, vocabulary and cultural information to accommodate the understanding of the Spanish-speaking world. Although students practice work toward proficiency in reading, writing, listening and speaking, oral communication is stressed during class time. Students are encouraged to speak only Spanish and engage in a variety of activities in class to practice. Main themes include: camping activities, volunteer work, environmental issues, professions, travel and technology. New grammar topics include: future tense, present subjunctive, commands, and conditional tense. The emphasis during class time is on spoken Spanish and the course is conducted in the target language.
Building upon the content and skills learned in classes through Spanish 3, students’ Spanish proficiency gains greater depth. This fast-paced class explores contexts, functions, and structures commonly included in a second-year Spanish college course and serves as a transition to content-based Spanish classes, encouraging higher oral proficiency in particular. Students explore and discuss themes such as stereotypes, the human community, customs and traditions, the family, demography, geography and technology, and gender in today’s world. The ability to use Spanish is improved through cultural readings, short stories and film. The main grammar points introduced in Spanish 1-3 are reviewed and students engage in deeper analysis of grammatical patterns. Grammar topics include: nouns and adjectives, all indicative mood tenses, some subjunctive mood tenses and their uses, sequence of object pronouns, relative pronouns, imperatives, and positive, negative and indefinite expressions.
The emphasis during class time is on spoken Spanish and the course is conducted in the target language.
In this course students engage in critical analysis of literary works in Spanish including poetry, prose and drama, spanning a period of five centuries. Coursework includes readings, in-class discussions, papers and presentations. Art, film, media and cultural studies are included as they relate to the literary pieces students study. Grammar review and practice is provided as needed. Students may choose to prepare for and take the AP Spanish Literature exam in the spring, though this course is not designed specifically for exam preparation. The emphasis during class time is on spoken Spanish and the course is conducted in the target language.
Advanced Spanish: Language
Building upon the content and skills learned through Spanish 4, students’ Spanish proficiency gains greater depth. This fast-paced class presents contexts and functions commonly included in a second-year college Spanish course. Media, literature, film and cultural readings in the target language are used often, and conversation is a daily practice. Themes explored encourage students to make connections between their own culture and the Spanish-speaking world. Topics include: the business world, beliefs and ideologies, Hispanics in the US, modern life, law and individual freedom, work and free time. Students add a new layer of complexity to grammar structures, and engage a review of past indicative mood tenses, additional tenses and uses of the subjunctive mood, prepositions, conjunctions, passive voice, special uses of future and conditional, and the sequence of tenses. The emphasis during class time is on spoken Spanish and the course is conducted in the target language. While not an AP Spanish Language course, students may choose to prepare for and take the exam in the spring.
Coursework explores two themes of Hispanic culture through film as well as providing conversational tools to discuss film in Spanish. Students are equipped with vocabulary and cultural context to engage with film. Each cultural theme is examined through two films for approximately five weeks each. Themes include but are not limited to family relationships, identity, and/or social conflict. Expressive skills connected to giving instructions and writing synopses are developed. The emphasis during class time is on spoken Spanish and the course is conducted in the target language.
Coursework explores Hispanic music through both evolutionary and historical lenses. Students learn to identify Latin instruments, genres, and the origins of both. Students develop language skills while exploring Spanish cultural influences on music including slavery, empires, and migrations. The second half of the trimester focuses on contemporary artists, songs, and genres, while practicing language concepts and expanding vocabulary. The emphasis during class time is on spoken Spanish and the course is conducted in the target language.
Coursework explores the current Hispanic political and social climate through authentic sources in print and media, as accompanied by targeted language practice. Students use Spanish to review contemporary events developing the ability to talk about the economy, business, and education among other topics. During the second half of the trimester students explore topics of interest in more detail as they complete independent projects. The emphasis during class time is on spoken Spanish and the course is conducted in the target language.
"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players." Shakespeare's plays were meant to be performed! This course explores how an actor would approach Shakespeare's characters and text. Why do Shakespeare's characters speak the way they do? What does one need to know to play a Queen or a King? Through exercises, games, activities, rehearsal and performance students explore how to bring Shakespeare to life.
This course lays a foundation of concepts and skills central to an understanding and appreciation of theatre. Students learn about basic script analysis, the fundamentals of how directors stage plays, how technical theatre supports the director’s vision, and how actors work as an ensemble. A public performance is included in the course.
Through games, exercises, and “showings,” students learn what tools they have as actors and how they can sharpen and wield these skills on stage. Students develop confidence, vocal presence, physical dexterity, and imagination while making discoveries on stage and having fun. As a class, students begin to work as a team and explore the wonders of saying “Yes!” to anything that comes their way.
In this course, students integrate performance skills with text. They study and practice vocabulary derived from Stanislavsky’s System, and apply knowledge, personal experience, and imagination to a variety of scenes and dialogues. Students practice character development, textual analysis, and rehearsal methods. As a culmination of this class, students present a public performance of a one act play or series of one act plays or film.
There are many things that happen behind the scenes to bring a play to life. Production designers, carpenters, technicians and artisans spend many hours designing, building, and creating all aspects of what is seen and heard in any given production. This course introduces the basic concepts and skills needed to build for the stage. Students learn simple construction and design techniques, as well as how to identify the technical needs of a production. Since the best theatre-making is always collaborative in nature, students work together in “Production Teams” to create and design work. When possible, this course supports and builds for EPS Theatre Productions.
This course continues the acting principles touched on from Acting 1. Students are given more opportunities to stretch out and push themselves in examining themselves as instigators in the creative process. The course will result in a perfomance or performances either captured on film or presented live to the public. A higher level of self-direction is expected in this course.
What makes a piece of writing dramatic? What does it take to make engaging original work for the stage? This course focuses on the theatre-maker as “creator.” Students examine how contemporary theatre-makers have created new work for the stage and apply what they learned to build their own original work. Class projects result in each student creating an original 10-minute play or performance piece which is performed by the students as a staged reading.
This advanced theatre course provides 11th and 12th grade students an opportunity to assume a creative position of leadership in theatre. A course in Directing is a “capstone” course for any theatre program, as it culminates in an evening of student directed one-act plays.
This fundamental technical theatre course teaches basic set design and construction, as well as lighting design concepts. Topics include how to use a theatre scene shop, simple construction techniques, fundamentals of theatre design, fundamentals of lighting design, and identifying sound, prop, costume and make-up needs for productions.
This fun and engaging course for beginning and advanced singers explores the world of choral singing through practice with the human voice and its collective sound. Students develop healthy vocal technique, learn to sight-sing, and consider the influence of music in their lives. Musical selections encompass a wide range of languages and traditions, including classical, contemporary, folk, jazz, Broadway and multicultural music. The course culminates in one or more public performances. No experience is necessary and students of any skill level are welcome.
This course examines the musical world of choral singing and explores the human voice and its collective sound. In this course students discover the fun of singing by developing healthy vocal technique, learning to sight-sing, and considering the influence of music in their lives. Musical selections encompass a wide range of languages and traditions, including classical, contemporary, folk, Broadway and multicultural music. The course culminates in one or more public performances. No experience is necessary and students of any skill level are welcome.
Chamber Choir explores a variety of styles of vocal music through rehearsal and performance. Students refine skills of musicianship, vocal production and music theory. This experience is geared towards singers with some previous singing experience, this is a yearlong course and enrollment is by audition and/or instructor permission. The Chamber Choir culminates in one or more public performances.
In this introductory course students learn to play a traditional band or orchestra instrument. Geared toward beginning students, this course includes the basics of tone production and reading music notation including rhythm, pitch and articulation.
Instrumental Music Ensemble explores music through rehearsal and performance on a traditional band or orchestra instrument. This is a course geared toward students with some experience. Students develop and refine skills of musicianship, instrument technique, music theory, and performance. This course culminates in one or more public performances.
Chamber Music Ensemble explores music through rehearsal and performance on a traditional band or orchestra instrument. Geared towards students with previous experience and proficient on their instruments, this course aims to refine skills of musicianship, instrument technique, and music theory. Enrollment is by audition or faculty approval. This course culminates in one or more public performances.
What makes a song catchy? How does music evoke feelings of sadness, happiness? What makes a song work? Students explore genres from pop, to folk and classical, and use the tools of theory, reading, transcription, and ear training to understand the elements of music and how music is constructed. Coursework includes listening to examples, analyzing chord charts and classical notation, and applying knowledge to the keyboard, as students develop a better grasp of how music is mapped and how to create their own songs. Experienced musicians increase understanding about the markings on your sheet of music; newer music students, experience a level of appreciation for what is heard on the radio and in movies. While study of some traditional music notation is engaged, no previous experience in this domain is required.
This fun, hands-on course introduces students to various art processes and techniques, such as drawing, painting, and printmaking, exploring different methods of the two-dimensional visual arts and building skills in creating artwork.
An exploration of the wonderful world of digital imagery and storytelling. Students learn the technical skills to create and manipulate dynamic visual images, tell exciting digital stories, and learn how to share them through a variety of media. Both still and moving-image manipulation software are a major part of this class. Coursework emphasizes a creative, artistic approach in working with digital media and culminates in a digital portfolio.
Students draw many different subjects in this class and explore techniques and methods of drawing and painting that depict three-dimensional forms in spaces such as landscape. They expand their knowledge of basic art and design elements (line, space, texture, form, and color) using a variety of media and surfaces to create artistic forms for visual communication. The course also involves digitizing student artwork, learning basic graphic design concepts and basic Photoshop techniques for image editing and manipulation.
This fun hands-on visual art course emphasizes creativity and exploration using diverse materials and techniques to create unique three-dimensional forms. Students learn how to work with different tools and materials and explore how they can be used to make art
This fun hands on visual art course emphasizes creativity and application using diverse materials and techniques to create unique three-dimensional forms. Students apply their ideas through working with different tools and materials while learning the nature of the materials. They develop their creative thinking in choosing how they use the materials to best apply their ideas.
This course emphasizes creativity, concept development, and scale using diverse materials and techniques to create unique three-dimensional forms. Students apply art techniques and expand visual art skills by using a wide range of tools and materials. Projects emphasize creative thinking and problem-solving skills to initiate the creative process from concepts sketches to final 3D projects.
This course focuses on basic documentary film-making and editing techniques as well as scene development, interview styles, lighting, and combining still-images with moving footage. Students also learn how to add audio/music, titles, and voiceovers to video footage to tell a story. Adobe Premiere Elements software is used to learn these basic film-editing skills.
The practices of artists and scientists are often seen as polar opposites, but in reality are closely connected. This course explores the technical and conceptual space in which art and science overlap. Students use a variety of materials and tools to explore the common artistic/scientific practices of looking, thinking, testing, and telling as a vehicle for making art.
This course explores different historical and contemporary styles and techniques of drawing and painting. These styles and techniques are important in learning the aspects of 2-dimensional art creation. Using a variety of materials and surfaces, students apply art elements of design and composition (line, space, texture, form, and color) to create personal expressions in visual communication.
Lessons in this course are geared to each student's individual drawing experience. Different historical and contemporary styles and techniques of drawing and painting are explored. Using a variety of materials and surfaces, students develop stronger technical skills and apply the art elements of design and composition (line, space, texture, form, and color) to create unique works of visual art.
This course introduces students to digital photography with in-depth studies of both the technical aspects needed to effectively use a digital SLR camera, and the role of photography in modern society. Students learn about the history of photography from its invention and early use in the 19th century to its contemporary applications. Projects are guided by big-picture themes and inspired by numerous artists. Integral to the course is documentation of the creative process and development of visual literacy through individual and group critiques. A small class set of digital SLR camera’s will be available for all students to use, but access to a digital SLR camera throughout the course is highly recommended.
This course focuses on the basics of film-editing using the software Adobe Premiere Elements. Students also learn basic lighting techniques, interview styles and how to use a camcorder. Combining both moving and still-images, a short film is created including audio/music, titles, and voice-overs.
This course focuses on intermediate to advanced film-editing techniques using the software Adobe Premiere Elements. Students pursue in-depth techniques of using a camcorder, lighting and setting up specific scenes, and combining both moving and still images to create a unique short film. They also work with audio/music, titles, and voice-overs to enhance their film, and to save it in different formats.
In this course students learn to tell stories through motion pictures. They learn to read screenplays critically, identifying the big ideas in films and how these ideas are translated into visual and auditory metaphor. Projects explore blocking and coverage, cinematography, working with actors, sound-design, montage and elliptical editing. Students engage the managing of production by creating production calendars, shooting schedules, securing locations, and overseeing post-production through final delivery.
This course introduces students to printmaking and book arts techniques ranging from relief & intaglio printing to accordion, one sheet & flip books. Students learn about the rich history of printmaking and book arts from the woodcuts and engravings of William Hogarth to the artist books of Esther K. Smith. Projects are guided by big picture themes, inspired by numerous artists and explore both direct observational skills and imaginative perspectives. As an integral part of the course, students document their creative process throughout the trimester in a sketchbook and develop visual literacy through individual and group critiques.
Coursework introduces students to the world of paper engineering through an in-depth study of paper as a creative medium. Students learn about the rich history of paper engineering from Japanese origami to pop-up cards. Projects are guided by big picture themes and inspired by numerous artists. As an integral part of the course, students document their creative process in a sketchbook throughout the trimester, and develop visual literacy through individual and group critiques.
This course explores the use of the design process in utilizing both words and images to create meaning and communicate ideas to tackle real world design challenges. Students will learn the design process, work with design software, and collaborate with clients and classmates throughout the course. Emphasis is also placed on creating a safe environment to cultivate creativity and risk taking.
Building on the foundation of skills developed in Graphic Design 1, students dive deeper into the technical skills, using a variety of design software tools and beginning to explore typography, layout, and data visualizations. Projects tackle real world design challenges. Emphasis is also placed on creating a safe environment to cultivate creativity.
In this course, students engage in sports, games and challenge activities from around the world. Classes focus on teamwork, sportsmanship, skills, technique, rules, court/field awareness, and overall fitness. Participants are also introduced to strategy and leadership opportunities. A goal throughout the trimester is to inspire and encourage students to participate in physical activity and healthy living outside of the classroom.
This is an introduction to a foundation in movement that can be used in different genres of dance. Students experience what it is like to be in a studio dance class, without pressure or competition. The alignment, rhythm, and expression of the dancer are the focus of warm ups, games, and sequences. Students of all levels can find space to be creative in their movement, to build their strength and flexibility, and to build their movement vocabulary. Movements and technique draw from ballet, modern, hip hop, and flamenco dance.
Focuses on movements found in yoga and Pilates. Students get a broad overview of "what yoga is," primarily by experiencing different physical postures (asanas). Mat work includes yoga and pilates style movements. Emphasis is placed on proper alignment as well as learning safe ranges of motion. Themes of mindfulness and various breathing practices are also explored. This is an all-level class where students can yoga basics in a safe and supportive environment. Coursework guides students to: 1) learn proprioception: how to move their body/limbs in space, 3) build strength; and 3) become more self-aware, and mindful.
Coursework examines important issues facing Upper School students, and includes units on nutrition, drugs and alcohol, and sexuality. This course is largely discussion-based, and each unit uses materials and activities focused on making positive choices as a teenager and later as an adult.
This Upper School physical education course focuses on sports and fitness with an emphasis on promoting life-long training and overall health. Classes cover two aspects of physical awareness: 1) strength and agility; and 2) cardiovascular fitness through cooperative team sports, personal fitness design, and advanced age-appropriate fitness activities.
This course builds on the topics covered in previous MS & US PE classes, where students focus leadership, support, and teamwork on a the specific athletic discipline of rock climbing. Students begin the trimester with a brief “ground school,” learning fundamentals of rope and harness safety, belay technique, commands, and etiquette. The remainder of the class is highly experiential, with students climbing twice weekly. Sessions use scaled difficulty and terrain variety of roped climbs and boulder problems to teach climbing techniques such as weight centering, foot position, smearing, and flagging.
This course introduces students to dance and movement, and can serve to keep experienced dancers in touch with the art through extra practice. Students learn dance class etiquette, warm ups, and conditioning while gaining the self-knowledge that comes with understanding movement--in time, space, and in relation to others. Students parallel the study of specific dance techniques with the creative play of movement through games, group exercises, mindfulness practice, and individual improvisation in select genres. A series of genres are sampled throughout the trimester including: ballet, modern, hip hop, and flamenco.
This movement class provides training for dance of all kinds, and specifically, for Flamenco--a traditional and very alive Spanish art form. Students improve overall strength, elegance and balance, without using equipment. Specific posture, technique, and choreography for flamenco dance are explored. This is a great introduction to dance for both males and females (no experience necessary), while also offering a challenge to seasoned dancers. Trimester culminates with an ensemble performance.
The class is designed to give students a broad overview of the ancient discipline of yoga. The majority of the class time is spent experiencing different physical postures (asanas). In addition, students learn basic history of yoga, its philosophy, and different breathing practices. Themes of lifelong health and wellness, mindfulness, and connections to Eastern philosophies and religions are explored. This is an all-levels class where students can learn the basics of yoga or expand their practice in a safe and supportive environment. Coursework guides students to 1) build strength, 2) improve their usable range of motion, 3) coordinate movement with breath and 4) become aware of the mind-body connection.
Since EPS created its maker-space in 2009, its tools have become robust and more accessible to a younger audience. Work in this course provides students the experience of using these resources to first build digital models and then bring their creations to life. This offers the opportunity to increase the sophistication of in-class and self-directed projects, and as well as leading to a general feeling of empowerment. Coursework is a mix of structured labs using 3D printing, 2D cutting (laser and vinyl cutter) and an introduction to microcontrollers and electronics. The course culminates in a final project using two or more techniques, informed by design thinking elements to either solve a problem or create something novel.
The world is increasingly integrated with software; whether in your computer, your car, or your refrigerator. In this hands-on course, students explore the use of software and simple robotics to solve problems. Using the LEGO Mindstorms platform, students learn basic programming concepts like control flow and variable, as well as specifics for robotics, such as interacting with motors and sensors to manipulate objects, follow lights and other sensor input to navigate, solve simple tasks and play games. Programming will be done in a fun visual programming environment or in ROBOTC as students advance.
Using digital tools and media, and focusing on public presentation, this course develops and refines students' ability to convey information in compelling ways; preparing students for the communication rigors of high school and beyond. Rooted in the art of storytelling, this course addresses the 8th grade Big Question, What Does It Mean to Be Human? Students employ the arts to create, gather, produce, and distribute well-crafted, quality content in a variety of electronic formats for specific audiences. Students become familiar with the digital tools available to express their ideas, including (but not limited to) Publisher, PowerPoint, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Premiere. The holistic approach of this course requires that students be conscious and intentional decision-makers throughout the process of conceptualizing, researching, writing, discussing, promoting, collaborating, and constructing their work.
For the majority of history, people of our culture manipulated only physical objects. In the last fifty years, people have developed the ability to manipulate digital objects as well. The boundary between physical and digital creation has started to blur. This course exists at the interface between physical and virtual. Students design objects on computers and create them using 3D printers and Laser Cutters. In addition, coursework involves taking physical inputs into micro-controllers and processing them with software by building digital sensors or personal USB devices. This course is focused on empowering students to bring ideas to life using all the modern tools at our disposal.
This course takes students beyond elementary flow control and simple logic, and into the tool set required to solve real programming problem efficiently. Major data structures including lists, queues, stacks, trees and graphs are discussed along with major algorithms starting with sorting and searching. Along the way, elementary complexity theory is used to judge the efficiency of the approach at hand. Time permitting, there will be units discussing operating system concepts, parallelism, databases, and transactions. The course culminates in a meaningful, real-world programming or modeling problem.
Early in the 20th century, the blues was developing in the southern United States, and that raw sound eventually became rock & roll of the 1950's. Many of the original blues conventions are still heavily used today. Study in this course examines the cultural influences that created early American music, and how music and culture continue to interact today. Study is focused on major musical genres and artists who have had a profound impact on the American experience, as well as important local and world events that shaped the course of musical history. Exploration is framed by reading about and listening to important recordings from the 20th and 21st centuries, in addition to a written critique of a live performance, a biographical essay, and a formal research paper and/or a student-produced and delivered radio show.
As technology and ideas progress, our society evolves to take advantage of new media and rapidly changing economic and technological landscapes. This course briefly explores history from the Big Bang Theory to the shifting media and economics paradigms of the last 20 years--from a point where the creation and distribution of media was a tightly controlled expensive endeavor, to our current system where anyone can create a blog, YouTube video, podcast or web page for little or no cost. The central pursuit of this course is an investigation of the economies of scale and advances in technology that now make it good business to give away services for free (projects like Wikipedia and TED Talks were laughable 10 years ago). Term long projects focus on our contemporary media, economic, and technological landscapes, and envisioning and creating the direction – or possible directions – that our society will evolve.
Engaging in a rich, interdisciplinary perspective that is becoming increasingly vital in our world, students participate in a dynamic conversation between the humanities and environmental studies disciplines. Coursework examines the interactions of individuals, cultures, and nature through texts by contemporary and historical thinkers and writers, such as Leopold, Pinchot and Dillard. A one-week trip to the southwestern United States immerses students in these ideas, teaches wilderness and outdoor skills, and provides opportunity for students to consider the environment and their relationship to it. A willingness and excitement to fully engage in this off-campus wilderness week, and intensive reading and writing in the fields of creative non-fiction, philosophy, environmental studies, and literature is expected .
This is an introductory business course intended to provide students with a picture of the vital role played by entrepreneurs in the global economy of the 21st century. Integrating a number of different disciplines, from sociology and psychology to economics, finance, marketing, and human resource management. Coursework mixes theory with practice, as students are challenged to apply principles, concepts and frameworks to real world situations. Students learn how to rapidly develop and test ideas by gathering customer and marketplace feedback, and search for the real pain points and unmet needs of customers in pursuit of suitable business models. The final project is a social venture plan competition where teams of students develop an entrepreneurial concept that addresses dual bottom lines: social need and financial sustainability. Teams present their projects to faculty, staff, students, and parents at a live trade-show event on the EPS campus.
Oral communication skills are as vital as written communication skills. This course enhances a student’s ability to express their creative thought, gives evidence of their ability to act responsibly, better positions them as leaders, and provides a tool to persuade others to consider and accept their wise innovations. Major units covered by the course include: learning a basic communication model, informative speaking, persuasive speaking, impromptu speaking, oration, fundamentals of effective speech structure, effective vocal and physical delivery techniques and the creation and effective use of visual aids.
Humans beings and citizens, the real and the virtual, data and big data, media and social media, news and fake news, screens and screen time. In a time of information overload and a world dominated by the digital, how do people become wise consumers of information and make sense of themselves in society? In this course, students: (1) consider frameworks that inform decisions on where to direct their limited reserves of attention; (2) develop more critical lenses to discern what makes information meaningful and worth consuming; and (3) practice using more precise analytical knives to deconstruct experience and information; and ultimately, (4) develop a cogent picture of their reality. Coursework considers (but is not limited to) the ubiquity of internet information and digital communication, the accuracy of popular media sources like Ted Talks and blogs, the reliability of online, print, and televised news sources, and the expanding role of news satire. Specific attention is given to the cognitive structures that help us sort the world around as explained in Levitin's The Organized Mind, the evolutionary roots of bias and decision-making described in Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow, and the forces that guide our reasoning in Ariely's Predictably Irrational.
From the classic and contemporary American Western to the modern-day Disney production, the mythological components of American film are considered in the narratives of our time. In this course activities focus on identification of the formal components of the film-making process and of the critical consumption of contemporary media. A final storyboard project employs modern mythological themes and film-making techniques.
This course is a collaboration between psychology, neuroscience, and mindfulness practice to confront some of the questions 11th and 12th graders are asking of themselves and the world. Questions range from understanding why we experience strong feelings such as sadness, anxiety, attraction, and joy, to questions about the fundamental nature of reality. The first portion of the course focuses on learning about the basics of neuroscience as it relates to: (a) interpersonal neurobiology; (b) emotions – what are they, where do they live in the brain, and how to recognize them and what they impact, and (c) empathy and compassion – how evolution has set us up for failure and success in this arena, and what we need to do to increase this interpersonally and on a global level. Theoretical learning through specific activities is designed to allow students to experience directly the content being explored. The major project for the class includes students asking themselves an essential question, and doing independent research and introspection to answer that question.
Rather than looking at economics as a "dismal science" of static cost-benefit analysis, this course uses economic thinking to investigate a myriad of interesting and unconventional questions, and to uncover economic logic in the everyday world. Economic thinking is modeled by asking and answering questions such as, What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common?, Do first names determine economic success?, and Who pays for your coffee? Additional attention is dedicated to exploring everyday economic questions that many Americans are unable to answer such as, What does it mean when the Fed raises rates?, How do mortgages and student loans work?, What are inflation and deflation?, How does the stock market work?, and Is recycling an economically efficient practice?
As human populations have expanded in modern times so has their need for well-designed communities and urban spaces. Study in this course focuses on conceptual understandings in the areas of sustainable urban design, architecture, and community planning through the examination of national/local issues and projects. Local issues examined include: the King County-Kirkland TOD Project (across the street from EPS), the Seattle viaduct debate, the SR-520 Bridge Project, the Save Our Valley v. Sound Transit lawsuit, green building, the use of LEED Standards in the Seattle area, architectural day-lighting, and urban greening. Activities focus on public meetings and role plays of different stakeholders and/or leaders for the purpose of considering the impacts of planning and design decisions on individuals and communities.
Documentary film performs multiple roles as historical chronicler, cultural commentator and social actor in our world. The historical evolution of the documentary film is investigated in depth in this course, along with the medium's role as a social agent in the contemporary age. Films examined may include but are not limited to: The Fog of War, Man on Wire, Life and Debt, Hoop Dreams, This Is What Democracy Looks Like, King Corn, Hearts and Minds, and The Thin Blue Line. Coursework focuses on discussion of film in literate and substantive ways, often using testimony from actual documentarians as a model. A short documentary film project on a student-chosen issue is required.
As a graduation requirement, Senior Projects allow each senior the opportunity to pursue an area of interest and to do original, in-depth work. Students use the winter and spring trimesters to work on their unique projects, which culminates with a presentation to the EPS community in late May. Each senior is paired with a faculty mentor who encourages and advises them as they progress through their project. Extensive independent work (both on-campus and off-campus) outside of Eastside Prep’s daily schedule is expected. Project topics are as diverse as the student body, and students may: 1) extend work from past/current EPS Upper School classes or independent studies; 2) explore new inter-disciplinary topics; 3) construct products in the fine and performing arts, creative writing, or technological development; 4) pursue service-learning opportunities; 5) participate in internships with professional organizations; 6) combine academic pursuits with travel opportunities.
These courses are a hallmark of EPS’s most engaged and self-motivated students. One of the most exciting and challenging options offered at EPS, independent studies provide seniors the opportunity to extend their academic exploration into topics that are not currently covered in the EPS course offerings. These efforts also give students practice working one-on-one with faculty members; similar to collaboration that will be expected by many of their professors in the college setting. Interested students identify a topic or subject area that they would like to examine; find a faculty mentor to work with; and construct a ten-week curriculum including weekly meetings with a faculty mentor. A text of appropriate complexity is required for all independent studies. Both initial proposal and final presentations are heard by the EPS Curriculum Committee.
In this place-based course, students explore the area in which they live through historical study, cultural exploration, and field experiences. The first phase of the course includes an intensive study of local literature and historical texts to establish a baseline for understanding the history and composition of the Seattle Metropolitan area. The second phase of the course requires students to conduct an independent research project where they self-select and investigate an aspect of local history as a means to better understanding the region in which they live. Example project pursuits might include proposing solutions to modern challenges of the region (i.e. environmental issues, education, infrastructure), volunteering at MOHAI, or developing an exhibit. A key component of the course is three required Saturdays of place-based study in Downtown Seattle, the Snoqualmie Valley area, and Bainbridge Island.
Students write fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry. Students read and respond to both published writers’ and each other’s work. This course greatly strengthens aspects of student’s writing such as narrative structure, sentence fluency, and clarity of expression.
Building on the skills taught in creative writing, students perform high-level analysis of poems and short stories, explore complex poetic forms, and practice genre-specific techniques in writing their own creative works.
Building on the skills learned in Creative Writing, students in this course will engage in the exploration of a particular genre, such as science fiction/fantasy, graphic novels/cartoons, or playwriting/screenwriting. This class offers an in-depth exploration of topics within the larger field of creative writing via both reading and producing work in a particular genre. The class will run on a workshop model, which requires students’ investment in sharing their work with others, critiquing others’ work, and keeping on track with their writing process. Students will produce one large piece in the genre being studied, or a portfolio of shorter pieces.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: What is relationship between music and mathematics?
Music plays a role throughout human cultures and is known for its beauty. In its essence, music is pitch in time. Math has its practical applications; in its essence, are eternal truths of beauty and logic. Both math and music are the two languages understood across cultures. This seminar explores the relationship between the two. Seminar topics delve into rhythms, chord patterns, transposition, and what math has to do with them. Open to music lovers, music appreciators, brass, wind, vocalists, and strings. Ms. Sweet plays violin and cello, sings soprano, and owns a piano and guitar.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How can a sketchbook change the way we see and interact in the world?
This tutorial helps students learn and develop new ways to see the world through the use of a sketchbook. Coursework entails a variety of readings, drawing, writing, and collecting exercises. As a culmination of the tutorial students create a collective zine comprised of work from each of the participants sketchbook's that will be distributed to the entire school.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How can we help individual athletes reach their potential while building a strong team?
This seminar helps students develop leadership and coaching skills. The class meets during the seminar period each week and requires time outside of school in a coaching or teaching role.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: What has S.E. Hinton contributed to the field of literature?
This author study explores the novels of S.E. Hinton and poses the essential question: What did S.E. Hinton contribute to the field of American literature, and for youth in particular? Over the course of the seminar, students read a selection of her novels, delving into the characters she created and the worlds they inhabit, while also considering critical texts analyzing Hinton’s work.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How can nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies be used to solve human problems?
This seminar looks at examples of problems that were solved using concepts from nature, then explores how other concepts borrowed from nature can be utilized to solve existing problems and problems we humans have not yet encountered.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: Does the United States have an intelligentsia?
This seminar explores the question above through exploration essays from the text, Bohemians, Bootleggers, Flappers and Swells (Published in Vanity Fair Magazine): Essays from 1920’s and 30’s in America, and the historical context surrounding each.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: Can Technology Save Education?
Social media, cell phone apps, and blogs are going to revolutionize education, right? Won’t they will make learning more relevant to students’ lives, allow access to experts, and allow students with similar interests who are far apart to collaborate? Similar claims have been made many times in the past, connected to the invention of the telephone, radio, video, TV, and early computers. Were those early promises fulfilled? Why or why not? What can we learn from those experiences about the hope and promises of new technologies?
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How do Contemporary Artists use their work and a vehicle for Social Justice?
Seminar Description This seminar will explore the work of four contemporary artists using their work as a vehicle for social justice. Each week students will create a piece of artwork in the style of the artist as well as read and discuss the context of the work being created.
ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS: 1) What are the unique challenges and rewards of creating in a second language? 2) What is the value of the writing workshop process?
In this writers’ workshop, students engage in reading and writing activities to explore several creative writing genres using the Spanish they know. Students experiment with script-writing, flash fiction, formal poetry, and free-form poetry before working on publishing a journal as the final product. All levels of Spanish are welcome in this seminar; students write exclusively in Spanish, but readings and class discussions are bilingual and inclusive of all levels. The focus is on having fun with the language we know and providing each student with opportunity to grow and improve from their starting point.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: What are some current methods of protecting privacy, information, and messages?
Early techniques used to keep data and messages secret are now popular puzzles. After an overview of topics, students select a topic for more in-depth exploration.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How can I use the debate skills to become a better communicator?
Political participation in a democracy is essential to the health of the civic body, and learning how to debate is one way to develop the skills you need to be a vocal citizen. Debate helpsstudents develop independence, logical thinking skills. The Lincoln-Douglas debate is the primary format to engage a multitude of topics.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How do you design an interactive toy for children? How does the design process apply to toy design?
From research and brainstorming to prototyping and iteration, this seminar challenges students to design an interactive children’s toy utilizing the design process. Active documentation of the design process and production of a working prototype toy is the end goal of the seminar. Previous course work in Graphic Design or Physical Meets Digital is highly recommended as this seminar functions as a dessert course that builds upon the skills and knowledge developed in those classes.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: What should be the goals of an educational system and what policies best support those goals?
The school day starts too early! The school day goes too late! There are too many school days in the year! There isn’t enough time in the school year! There’s too much homework! There are too many classes in a day! If you were to design an effective educational system, what would it look like?
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How can the number of possible events be counted?
Roll a single die, yields 6 possibilities. How many possibilities are there if you roll multiple dice? This seminar considers questions like: What are the different meanings of that question and how can each of those meanings be counted? How many different poker hands are possible in a deck of 52 cards? How many of those are full houses? What are your chances of being dealt a winning hand?
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How do we use text and image to aesthetically and ethically document people, significant moments, or changing landscapes?
This seminar explores the work of a number of great documentary photographers and photo-journalists. Students learn the importance of documenting portions of our lives and how to do so creatively. Technical camera proficiency is not required in this course, but students will need a device to capture digital images. Products generated throughout the five weeks include an exploration of the history of documentary photography and completion of a short documentary project.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How have the ideologies governments of North Korea and ISIL created modern dystopias?
North Korea vs. ISIL
The seminar explores Juche ideology to better understand the impact of the Kim’s policies on the people and culture of North Korea. This is followed by an examination of the ideology (based on the Qu’ran, the Hadith, and the Sunna) behind ISIL and attempts to implement this as a new caliphate government. The seminar concludes comparing and contrasting the two systems.
Economic pursuits and environmental advocacy often are viewed as mutually exclusive practices. Exploration in this course works to marry these realms by building on core concepts of microeconomics, investigating the economic roots of environmental issues, and hypothesizing as to how capitalistic markets can be used to tackle modern environmental issues such as: climate change, pollution, and endangered species. Economic and environmental understandings are combined with personal interests to invent and design individual green business plans at the conclusion of the course.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: What does it mean to tell the truth?
Plato stands as one of three or four seminal western philosophers. His dialogue trilogy, Apology, Crito, and Phaedo introduce students of philosophy to the origins of western thought about life, death, truth and justice. After students read and discuss the Dialogues, they work together to write a dialogue of their own addressing any topic of interest.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: Does it matter whether agreement is possible on matters of right and wrong?
How do we know what’s good? If there IS something that is good, why is there so much disagreement about that actually is? If I tell you something is good, is it? Or am I just reflecting an emotional preference? Some philosophers argue that goodness (or its lack) are inherent in objects or situations. Others argue that perceptions of goodness are subjective, i.e., inherent in the knower. Which is it? Reason or emotions?
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How is the development of technology and technological tools impacting the behavior of human beings and restructuring the modern economy?
This seminar helps students develop the skills needed to identify and examine past and present patterns of technological development, to attempt to predict the future trends. Students choose topics to explore like: augmented reality, smartwatches and ubiquitous low-cost sensors, the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, revision of the modern patent system, and the growth of the tech/energy sector.
*Students DO NOT need to have taken the original Evolution of Society course to enroll in this seminar.
*Students who took the original Evolution of Society expand on their previous thinking in this seminar.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: What is the absurd?
Originally friends and colleagues, Sartre and Camus broke off their friendship over philosophical and political beliefs. Sarte’s Existentialism is a Humanism and Camus’ Myth of Sisyphus ground the discussion of existential thought in the 20th century.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: Can you truly experience the outdoors solely through the written word?
What is Nature? What should human's relationship to nature be? Can you truly experience the outdoors solely through the written word? These and many more questions will be answered in the context of a variety of outdoor-themed writing.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: Given the pattern of resistance to unfamiliar information, how have we managed to make any progress at all?
By reading and understanding two of Plato’s earliest dialogues, consider the degree to which unfamiliar information and ideas provoke an interesting kind of resistance. Given that behavior, how have we managed to make any progress at all?
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: When and why do various election methodologies fail to result in the “most popular” candidate winning?
There are various ways to hold an election with more than three candidates, including run-off elections and preference ballots. Each election methodology has at least one fatal error—a scenario in which a lesser-preferred candidate can beat a more highly preferred candidate. Coursework examines a variety of election methodologies and their flaws, leading up to a discussion of Arrow’s Theorem.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How do we take pictures of what cannot be seen with light?
Students learn the necessary theoretical and practical concepts to operate a Scanning Electron Microscope, and get hands-on experience with an advanced instrument. This course is designed for students interested in one of the principal methods used in biology and material science.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How do different programming paradigms encourage us to think about problems differently?
Throughout the history of programming, computer scientists have attacked design problems with different paradigms of computing. Depending on the abstraction, some problems become easier or harder. The majority of programming that students encounter will be Object Oriented in nature but there are many insights to be gained from expanding your programming repertoire. In this course, students are exposed to the functional programming paradigm which aggressively avoids relying on the current state of our program or changing the values of variables. This makes for more declarative programs and encourages looking at problems differently.
It is expected that students have some experience programming in a language prior to starting this course. Students use the elixir language to explore this domain of programming.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: What are the main tenants of Islam and how do they relate to jihad?
The seminar focused on the life and teachings of the prophet Muhammad as a historical figure; then explores the modern concept of jihad and its many interpretations.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: Why is life drawing an important foundational skill for an artist?
How does a community of artists help you cultivate a healthy creative practice? How do you curate a body of work?
Coursework challenges students to develop their life drawing and observational drawing skills through intense, regular practice. Students spend each week drawing people from direct observation which is complemented by a structured critique of the created work during each seminar meeting. The seminar culminates in an exhibition of work collaboratively curated by the students. Students need to be comfortable drawing in public spaces to capture people for their drawings, and be able to coordinate their own models for some longer drawing sessions.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: What makes literary translation an art, and what different problems do we face when translating different genres of literary work?
Coursework explores the concept and practice of literary translation, using Spanish as the foundational language from which to translate texts into English. Students learn about translation methods and problems and engage three translation tasks over three weeks putting those strategies into practice. The final two weeks of the seminar are dedicated to further reading on both practical and theoretical levels, and an individual translation project chosen by the student in consultation with the seminar faculty.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How is the world seen through the eyes of magical realism?
This seminar offers students the opportunity to immerse themselves in the creative world of magical realism through the analysis and discussion of short stories by authors such as Gabriel García Márquez and Isabel Allende, among others. Students’ critical thinking skills and creativity are refined by exposure to diverse perspectives and the creation of their own stories.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How do you clearly define contemporary environmental issues, understand the urgency that surrounds them, and determine whether they are solvable?
Coursework asks students to wrestle with ideas of “global scale,” the difference between media/political rhetoric and science, the relationship between sustainability and perpetual economic growth, and how environment is tied to social capital and condition. Topics include: climate change, the green economy, geoengineering, energy production and consumption, technological solutions to environmental issues and environmental justice.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: Are nuclear weapons resulting in a safer world? What are the possible consequences of these weapons outside of a war?
Students explore the Damascus Incident where a missile malfunction that became a near, nuclear accident in the US. The seminar also explores issues connected to the Hanford Nuclear Site, and whether or not the Puget Sound is safer because of these weapons.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: What are the impacts of a minimalist lifestyle?
The Buddha called it the Middle Way. Japanese Daoists named it Feng Shui. Gandhi promoted voluntary simplicity. Today, minimalism is cultural movement helping individuals find balance in a nation largely dominated by consumerism and capitalism. From tiny houses to upcycling, students study the minimalist movement from many angles. Coursework considers the impact of a minimalistic lifestyle in the context of environment, art, society, psychology, and spirituality. Coursework includes videos, complete readings, art analysis, journal entries and a redesign of an individual bedroom. Students are introduced to holistic lenses that emphasize the importance of people and relationships over material processions.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How does the mind create language?
Language sits at an intersection of science and culture, not to mention nature and nurture. Take this seminar and learn some of the fundamentals of linguistics, the scientific study of language. The primary text in the course is Patterns In The Mind: Language And Human by Ray Jackendoff
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How does the process from from CAD (computer aided design) to a physical object happen?
This seminar invites further exploration of our 3D making tools. Students pursue guided projects using the 3D printers and are introduced to the CNC machine. While fabrication on those tools, students are encouraged to mix in other techniques with their projects. Students leave this seminar familiar with the above tools, and with software such as 123D and SktechUp to produce 3D object files. This course serves artistic and engineering pursuits with these tools.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How can make useful objects thinking in 2D slices?
This seminar invites further exploration of our 2D making tools. Students pursue guided projects using the vinyl and laser cutters. While our fabrication will be planar, there is ample opportunity to make 3D objects by combining multiple 2D objects. Students leave this seminar familiar with the above tools, and with software such as Inkscape to produce vector based graphics. This course serves both artistic and engineering pursuits with these tools.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How might we use environmental inputs to make the things we build more engaging and useful?
This seminar invites further exploration of electronics. Students pursue guided projects using breadboards, littleBits and arduinos. With this basis, students produce pieces that interact with the environment. Ideal projects include scientific sensors and interactive art. Students may optionally pursue projects with RaspberryPi's as well. Students leave this seminar familiar with the above tools, and with software such as processing to program micro-controllers. This course serves artistic and engineering pursuits with these tools.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How can physics be used to better to understand the forces behind sailing?
Students explore the many physics phenomena involved in making a sailboat sail. Topics include buoyancy, aerodynamics, hydrodynamics, forces and free-body diagrams as well as vectors. Students in this seminar focus on small lab activities to build intuition for the theories in play, ultimately, understanding how a boat can perform the seemingly magical feat of sailing upwind.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How is gender experienced, perceived, and performed in contemporary American society?
This seminar explores critical questions in the interdisciplinary field of gender studies. Discussion, video/film-viewing, and reading form the foundation of this exploration. Topics include: pop culture, gender roles, sexuality/performance, the social construction of gender, the “f” word (feminism). Students take a glance backward, remain mostly in the present, and look to the future.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: What makes a challenging puzzle for younger students? How are puzzles constructed and curated? How do we fit them to a compelling game narrative?
This seminar constructs math, logic, computer and other puzzles for Academic Ultimate, a series of week-long challenges for 5th and 6th grade students who want to sink their teeth into harder problems (and help stave off the attacks of evil super-villain Dr. Entropius in the process) Students research, construct and curate puzzles to go along with narratives established by the faculty.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How have race and racism come to shape the United States?
How might we, as a country, work for change and an end to institutional racism? Coursework explores the ways racism and race have come to shape 20th and 21st American society. The anchor texts for this seminar are: James Baldwin’s A Fire Next Time (1963) and Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me (2015). In addition, to a series of weekly personal reflections on the readings, students produce a paper on a specific question of race.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How is the world's digital information organized?
Behind the scenes, much of the world's information is represented in relational databases. Whether it is something as large and complex as Facebook's data or your iTunes library, you interact with relational databases every day. In fact, this online course catalog is represented in a relational database. This seminar get students to start thinking about how we represent real world relationships in such a way that computers can understand them. The seminar walks through basics of database design and students construct some of their databases to query using SQL (structured query language).
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How does Geometry influence the experience humans have in interacting with their world and making changes to it?
This seminar investigates the history of geometry, where geometry is found in nature, and how it has been applied to man-made structures. Coursework concludes with an investigation of how geometry influences our daily life in modern society. *This seminar is conceptual in nature, with no requirement to write proofs, or learn specific theorems or postulates.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How does a GPS determine the shortest path to a particular destination?
Students learn how to determine the shortest and most cost effective paths between points using the fundamental principles behind graph theory, including directed graphs, paths and circuits, infinite graphs and trees. They gain insight into applications such as how flight paths are calculated, mail routes planned, and GPS systems programmed.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: In a world inundated by a glut data, what should people pay attention to and what should they ignore?
Reminiscent of the thinking in Freakonomics, this seminar explores the The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver (famous for his work with baseball statistics and for accurately predicting the electoral outcome for almost every state in the 2008 Presidential election), on how statistical models can be used to tackle questions like: What is the difference between forecasting and prediction?, What caused the financial crisis of 2008?, How are statistics used in sports betting and poker hands?, How can you predict the weather above ground (meteorology) and the weather underground (earthquakes)?, Can climate change be forecast?, Was 9/11 a known unknown?
This is NOT a math course but an exploration of the thinking behind goos forecasting and prediction. Students who enjoyed Undercover Economics will thrive in this course.
Essential Question: How can we use math to actually model-real world situations?
Forget Tommy and his 23 apples. Forget about the train leaving Chicago heading west. We will work to answer real questions: How much Netflix is too much? What’s the best social media platform? What’s the best college to attend? How much does EPS recycle? The aim is to demystify the process of how a mathematical model can be built. Coursework requires a willingness to do research, to brainstorm, and to jump right in and try something that may be out of students’ comfort zones. Problem-solving is done through studying, creating, and analyzing simple math models.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How do stories give us a glimpse into the culture of a society?
Students explore the South African apartheid culture of the 1970s and 1980s through a compilation of short stories, Jewels and Other Stories, written by a white South African author, Dawn Promislow. The author, who lives in Toronto, Canada, participates in several seminar sessions via Skype to discuss her stories and her motivations in for writing them. In addition, Ms. Promoislow provides students with insight into the time period when the stories take place.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How does the American southern short story explore the changing social landscape of the south? How does this history inform our understanding of contemporary events?
This course explores short stories written by authors from the American south. Starting near the end of Reconstruction and concluding with contemporary writers. Coursework explores themes found throughout the literature of the south and study how these themes connect with current events.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How do individuals in the US help to create legal, economic, and social change at a local, state, and national level?
Students explore, in-depth, the ways that a US citizen can take action to effect change, whether in the context of political lobbying with an organization pushing for specific legislative change.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: Is there a manageable way to integrate math, science, history, literature, art, sports, music and culture in order to develop a deliberate plan to engage a life of continual growth, compassionate leadership, and rewarding challenge?
The first part of this seminar brings to light some of the foundational concepts presented by Ken Wilber in his large selection of published works; including a framework for viewing oneself, society, and the world in a holistic and integral way. The final product for this seminar is an outline of a personal plan for pursuing passions utilizing Wilber’s framework for prioritizing time and maintaining balance amidst demands of our modern society.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: What makes a Twitter account successful?
Twitter can be used for humor, marketing, news, or personal expression—but what separates a good twitter account from a bad one? Work in this seminar analyzes different twitter accounts to determine what makes one successful. Students create their own account to experience the process first hand. Why is @EveryTweet_Ever funny? Does it use the same type of humor as @netflix? Who is better at presenting news: @CNN, @FOXTV, or @TIME? Who is the most biased? Why is @RichardDawkins more twitter famous than other scientists or authors?
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How do select films inform us about the sport of baseball and its place in American culture?
Baseball is a central topic in a significant number of feature films. In most cases, these films portend to be about far more than just baseball. Each week students are responsible for watching and formally analyzing a full feature-length film outside of class. Seminar sessions are used to discuss each film and the manner in which it portrays the baseball and American culture.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: Which statistics best capture the effectiveness of a baseball player and team?
Baseball is a sport that revels in numbers. Through the years, numbers have become more popular in describing a baseball player but are those the right numbers? This seminar explores a variety of statistics used to summarize and analyze players and teams, and determines which of those metrics is most effective and why.
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How do computers work at a fundamental level?
Starting with the physics of semi-conductors and proceeding through one layer of abstraction at a time students build-up to a computing device. Once students arrive at the topic of logic gates this seminar takes advantage of the NAND2Tetris Project.