Spring 2013 Academy Highlights!
By Jen Mounday, Academy Program Coordinator
Spring Academy classes ran for eight weeks from April 1 to May 25. Classes included two new offerings: Explorations in Literature and Chemistry Lab. Some Academy classics were also held: Organic Chemistry, Primary Advanced Math, Neuro-Energy I and II, Molecular Biology, and Astronomy. Our student attendance was the fullest it’s been and included ten new students from local public and private schools.
Chemistry Lab, taught by Dr. Rosemary Rohde and Ronnie Bryan, was a hit with its hands-on curriculum. Dr. Rose took concepts from Chemistry I and II and expanded on them by conducting correlating experiments for each of the eight weeks. Some lab topics were rates of reaction, electrochemistry and chemical equilibrium. Proper safety precautions were taught with the use of chemicals—information most students don’t usually cover until they take a high school chemistry course.
Susana de la Peña, adjunct professor at UCLA, taught a humanities class called “Explorations in Literature and Meaning Making.” The students read three novels and a variety of short stories and wrote poems for their culminating activity. Literary analysis was emphasized as the class dug deep into gothic themes. The class came up with challenging questions and conjectures about some of the more obscure aspects of life but also had fun putting themselves in the shoes of the main characters.
Astronomy students took a field trip to the Griffith Observatory with Tony Travoullion, astronomer at work on the thirty-meter telescope through California Institute of Technology. Tony walked through each exhibit with his class and related museum information to concepts studied in Academy class. The field trip was also an opportunity for astronomy students to demonstrate mastery by explaining the exhibits to their fellow classmates and family members in attendance.
Just as spring term was brought to a close, Genius Day, a day of deep exploration into the life of genius Charles Darwin, commenced. The inaugural Genius Day was held at the Huntington Library last Saturday. Chief curator, Dr. Daniel Lewis, led students through a dynamic portrayal of Charles Darwin and a few of his contemporaries. The objective of the day was to gather evidence, showcase mastery and, in the end, define genius. Students fully immersed themselves in the scope of Darwin’s many contributions while having access to Dr. Lewis, an expert on the subject. Uninhibited by barriers of time or content, it was a joy to watch Academy kids thrive during an unforgettable day of deep learning.
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