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Introducing…Intro to Science & Creativity!

By November 30, 2023January 11th, 2024No Comments

We’re excited to announce a new elective at Acera that we’re piloting this trimester: Intro to Science & Creativity! This course was created out of a common desire among specialist teachers to have students who take their classes have a common language and fluency around foundational skills, while deepening the development of their mindset around our Core Capacities. We analyzed the work of scientists, makers, engineers, and artists, and developed a set of skills shared among these creative professionals and practiced in the elective classes we offer in the natural sciences, technology, engineering, and the arts. As a school whose mission it is to develop the next generation of scientists, innovators, and leaders, we see this course as an opportunity to help propel our students further in their explorations.

Some skills we’ll develop include observing; interpreting; asking questions; researching; taking and using notes; sketching and making models; measuring, calculating, and analyzing; explaining in voice, text, and pictures; taking and giving feedback; and failing and trying again. The list of skills was derived from multiple specialist collaboration meetings during Trimester 1 this year (held on Wednesday mornings), then compared against common standards like the Next Generation Science Standards, the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks in Science and Technology/Engineering, Arts, and Vocational Technical Education (specifically in cabinetmaking, electronics, engineering technology, and robotics and automation technology). The skills and our Core Capacities show significant alignment with these standards.

The first offering of this course is happening now, in Trimester 2, co-taught by George Papayannis, Director of Upper School, and Tory Campbell, PhD, Biology and Chemistry Specialist Teacher. The trimester-long course meets on Tuesday and Friday afternoons and is structured with:

  • an introductory Skills Week to pre-assess students’ skills
  • four two-week Project cycles that explore science, technology, engineering, and media and visual arts
  • an interdisciplinary two-week Final Project cycle
  • a Reflection & Portfolio week to finalize reflections and portfolios

George and Tory co-plan the course and continue to share and solicit feedback from the specialist team to develop a course that is truly foundational across the natural sciences and arts/tech/engineering electives in the Upper School. The team’s intent is to make the course modular so that any of the specialist teachers can teach the course in the future. Starting in the 2024-25 school year, Intro to Science & Creativity will be a foundational course required of all new students to the Upper School.

George Papayannis is Acera’s Director of Upper School

Tory Campbell, Ph.D. is Acera’s Biology and Chemistry Specialist Teacher