Course Descriptions

Biology (year-long credit)

Biology is a general survey course that considers topics related to living systems from the simplest cells to the human animal. The student gains insight into fundamental chemical processes, the role of the cell, the flow of energy through the environment, human physiology, basic genetics, a survey of microscopic life, as well as botany, zoology, the interaction of life forms with their environment, and the process of natural selection. Laboratory exercises are used frequently to illustrate principles and develop lab skill competency.


Textbook: Biology (McGraw-Hill) (eBook)
Instructor: Rachel Gosine-Smith, Brentwood School Science Department

Chemistry (year-long credit)

Prerequisite: Algebra I

Chemistry investigates the nature of matter and the changes that matter undergoes. Topics covered include, but are not limited to, methods of scientific measurement, atomic structure and the organization of the periodic table, ionic and covalent bonding, chemical nomenclature, reactions and stoichiometry, the behavior of gases and solutions, and thermodynamics. The material is presented with descriptive and quantitative considerations in both a lecture and laboratory environment. Students successfully completing this course will be better critical thinkers and will develop solid problem-solving skills. The laboratory program emphasizes techniques critical to chemistry, and includes traditional, micro-scale, and technology-based experiments. This course is not designed to prepare students for the SAT Subject Test in Chemistry.

Textbook: Chemistry (iBook)
Instructor: TBA

Creative Writing (semester credit)

This course will focus on the creative writing process. The primary focus will be the short story form, but the course will also include explorations of novel, narrative, and poetic forms. The writing process will be divided into five distinct skill sets: 1) brainstorming, 2) story mapping, 3) drafting, 4) editing, and 5) proof-reading. These skills will be practiced individually and in peer review workshops. To complement the formal writing process, this course will also focus on centering practices, vocabulary development, and stream of consciousness writing.

Instructor: Lesley Gouger, Brentwood School English Department

Geometry (year-long credit)

Geometry deals with points, lines, surfaces, and solids and examines their properties, measurement, and mutual relations in space. In Geometry, students are introduced to deductive reasoning and formal geometric proofs through an examination of the rules of logic as well as through "guided proofs." By exploring coordinate geometry, students see the ways in which algebra and geometry complement each other. Topics include: 1) Elements of geometry, 2) Induction and deduction, 3) Deduction and geometry, 4) Angle relationships, 5) Perpendicular lines, 6) Parallel lines and planes, 7) Congruent triangles, 8) Similar polygons, 9) The Pythagorean Theorem, 10) Circles, 11) Area and volume, and 12) Coordinate geometry.

Textbook: Geometry for Enjoyment and Challenge (Rhoad, Milauskas, Whipple)
Instructor: Amy Page, Brentwood School Math Department

Music Theory (semester credit)

Music Theory tests the student’s understanding of music structure and compositional procedures through recorded and notated examples. Strong emphasis is given to listening skills, particularly those involving recognition and comprehension of melodic and rhythmic patterns, harmonic functions, small forms, and compositional techniques. Most of the musical examples are taken from standard repertoire, although some examples of contemporary, jazz, vernacular music, or music beyond the Western tradition are included for testing basic concepts.

Instructor: J.K. Hilbert, Brentwood School Music Department

Ninth Grade Transition Course

Students in this class will review and expand upon skills that will help them make the transition into the high school experience. The class will review key components of algebra and geometry, preparing students for either Algebra B or Geometry. Writing preparation will also be covered, focusing on extemporaneous essay construction and the writing process. Students will also engage in projects with Brentwood School faculty that will introduce them to the following high school learning opportunities: science, social studies, technology, library and research, school clubs and affinity groups, physical education, student government, and more. Students will learn time management and study skills, and receive tips on navigating the sometimes-tricky social life of a high school student.

Songwriting (semester credit)

This is the practical application and technique of the working songwriter. Melody, lyrics, “hooks,” points of view, and song logic will be covered. Solo writing as well as the concept of collaboration are introduced. Participants will work individually and in small groups. Writing on demand will be introduced (examples: a jingle, a wedding song, a movie theme, an artist-specific style, etc.). Cataloging works will be taught so that participants can keep their output organized, keep their library of ideas filed, and develop other good writing habits and discipline. Group writing and critiques will occur. Students will participate in an exhibition of their songs as a culminating project.

Prerequisite: familiarity with a musical instrument

Instructor: Jonah Blumstein, Brentwood School Music Department

Stained Glass Design (semester credit)

Beginning with safety precautions and an overview of course material, students quickly move on to learn the techniques involved in the construction of "Tiffany style" copper foil panels. These procedures include pattern making, glass cutting, copper foiling and soldering. Students then study and learn to apply the elements and principles of art and design as they work to create original compositions and patterns. This process is reinforced by examples from art history, research, and the use of Glass Eye computer software. Students learn related vocabulary to analyze their work and that of their classmates in both verbal and written form. After completing an initial sample project, each student designs and then builds two required concept based copper foil panels. Ability increases with experience, and by the completion of this course, students should be comfortable and competent while working with stained glass as a means of expression. Assessment is based upon class participation and initiative, the application of design information, and the development of technical proficiency. Sketchbook work and written self-reflections are also a part of the evaluation process. Students are expected to supply their own stained glass, copper foil, lead, and solder.

Instructor: Michael Knight, Brentwood School Visual Arts Department

U.S. History (year-long credit)

The United States History course fulfills the goals of a survey course, covering colonial North America to the present. This course endeavors to provide students with the ability to evaluate historical evidence, do comparative analysis, and develop sound historical arguments based on multiple perspectives of historical events. Through the incorporation of supplemental readings on current issues, the course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the nation’s political, economic, diplomatic, and social history in order to be informed and responsible citizens.

Textbook: TBD
Instructors: Michael Aragon, Social Studies Teacher, Woodrow Wilson Senior High School andKatie McKellar, Brentwood School History Department

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