Math and Science

A Period

 

ALICE AND THE GAME OF PROGRAMMING

CHRISTINE FITZGERALD

Located in cellphones, microwaves, refrigerators, cars, dams, solar fields, and even prosthetic limbs, computers have become ubiquitous. Have you ever wondered how a machine using just one’s and zero’s is capable of doing all of these tasks? Using Carnegie Mellon University’s 3-D programming environment, Alice, we’ll explore the world of computer programming and learn about the human design behind these technological masterpieces. By the end of the course, you will be able to manipulate 3-D objects in your own digital world and code an interactive game. Although only an introduction to computer science, this course will provide the tools to further your own study and to understand the computer as a tool, not just a magical box.

 

LEARNING THROUGH PLAY: AN EXPLORATION OF CHILD DEVELOPMENT
SYLVIA GAPPA

Berkshire’s campus is home to a vast and ever-expanding number of kids. How do they learn? What are they capable of at different ages? Students in this class will learn about child care and development with a focus on child interaction through play. They will learn developmental milestones in the areas of speech and language, fine and gross motor skills, socialization, and play. They will observe children and be expected to create developmentally appropriate activities for infants, toddlers, and preschool-aged children. Led by a Berkshire mom, this class promises to be a joy for participants and subjects alike.

MAKING, BRANDING, AND THE SCIENCE BEHIND MINERAL COSMETICS
APRIL BURCH
Organic, gluten-free, low-calorie, all natural.
We spend so much time contemplating what we put in our bodies yet, most of us, spend very little time what we put on our skin, the largest organ of the human body. Educating yourself about the purpose and composition of products applied to the skin can help you preserve your natural beauty, avoid acne or allergic reactions, and save money. All-natural mineral cosmetics have exploded into popular culture and are used by millions of people world-wide. What are they all about? By the end of this class, you will know all about mineral cosmetics, mineral make- up composition and the basics of formulating your own custom mineral cosmetics.

NATURE VS. NURTURE: ANIMAL BEHAVIOR
JESÚS IBÁÑEZ
Ample research has shown that animals are rational beings and that they also share with us many other traits that were once thought to be uniquely human, including manufacturing and using tools, having culture, having a sense of self, using complex systems of communication, producing art, and having rich and deep emotional lives. This course will study the interesting behavior of some species of animals, and whether these behaviors are learned or innate. We will learn about music appreciation in animals, complex hunting techniques in chimpanzees, practical sheep behavior, the “emotional” lives of cows, and other intriguing aspects of animal behavior.

RUBE GOLDBERG
ANDREW D’AMBROSIO AND PETER QUILTY
Defined as a comically involved, complicated invention, laboriously contrived to perform a simple operation, Rube Goldberg contraptions satirize the numerous machines around us. This class will make the simple complex and the mundane exciting as students work collaboratively to physically create a machine that will perform an easy task in as many steps as possible.

TANGRAMS, RUBIK’S CUBES, AND MATH

TIMOTHY LANCE

While you might not always realize it, there is so much more to mathematics than proofs and problems. We will explore a number of fun applications of math using 2-D games such as tangrams and 3-D puzzles like the Rubik’s Cube. We will also examine the intersection of mathematics and art using the golden ratio and fractal geometry. Finally, we’ll explore how math has been used to cheat the system, including counting cards. Math really is everywhere, and we will explore some of its many uses and the beauty it creates.

 

TOUR DE SOL: SOLAR POWER

ANITA LOOSE-BROWN

How does a solar panel transform a ray of sunlight into the electricity cooling your common room’s fridge? What determines how effective a solar panel is at producing that electricity? Using Berkshire’s own 8.5-acre solar array on East Campus, we will examine these questions and more, build scale models, and meet with local experts in the field. After learning the fundamentals of a simple circuit, students will design and build a model race car powered by solar cells. On the last day of class, students will test out their racer designs in a solar-powered race.

 

B Period

ANDROID APPS
DAN SPEAR
Mobile apps are becoming more and more relevant with each passing day. Have an interest? Search and you will most likely find numerous apps related to that interest. Not only for fun and games apps are now used in education, medicine, and even public safety. This course will introduce students to the very basics of app development using Google’s App Inventor for Android. The program presents users with a visual representation of their app as they build it, and the programing end is done by snapping bits of code together like puzzle pieces. This is a great way to learn some of the basics of application development, which could then be used to develop more sophisticated programs. Although an Android phone or tablet would be beneficial, it is not necessary because the program has a built-in emulator that can be used to test and debug.

CRYPTOGRAPHY

RICHARD GILES

C any; our E.   ADT   his?... From the days of Caesar’s empire to current “secure” credit card transactions, encryption has enabled only permitted individuals to understand encoded messages. Yet encryption can be deciphered. The Allies were able to intercept and decode Enigma machine messages from the Third Reich during the Second World War. More recently, over 100 million credit card numbers were “skimmed” from a data processing center without anyone’s knowledge. Using mathematics, pattern recognition, and elemental ciphers, students will learn more about cryptography and its rich history, and finish the week generating and attempting to crack their own codes.

 


HOW THINGS WORK!

LINDA BELLIZI

Maybe you’ve never asked yourself how the zipper on your parka works…until it gets stuck. Or you’ve wondered why you remain pressed to your seat in a roller coaster even when you’re upside down. If you are curious about everyday physics, English teacher Mrs. Bellizzi will explore and hopefully answer some of your questions. We’ll tap into a massive Online Open Classroom course for some filmed lectures, and we’ll use both Louis Bloomfield’s How Things Work: the Physics of Everyday Life and David Macauley’s New How Things Work to set up our own experiments. We’ll tinker, test, and discover and share our budding knowledge with classmates and teachers.



MIND, BODY, AND SCHEDULE

KRISTINA SPLAWN

Why do we have study hall from 8-10pm and sports from 3-5 pm? Are mid-year and end-of-the-year assessments necessary? Is summer vacation a benefit or a hindrance to your learning? Recent studies have highlighted multiple concerns regarding the traditional American high school schedule. Students will take a comprehensive look at the development of the adolescent mind using MRI images and brain models. We will also discuss the physical transformation of your brain from the age of 13 to 25. After gaining an understanding of the phases of development, students will break into small groups to design more appropriate schedules to nurture the growth of the teenage mind.



MORE THAN A MAGIC BOX: EXPLORING THE CAPABILITIES OF THE TI-89

PAT BUSH

It factors!  It solves! It differentiates! It integrates!  It may not be as user friendly or intuitive as the TI-84 you’ve been using for years, but it can do amazing (and time-saving) things if you know what to ask it to do and how to ask it to do it.  Our time together will be spent collaboratively and entirely with calculator in hand so that at weeks end, you will have a far greater level of ease and confidence with using the calculator – and a great packet of materials to show for your time. Limited to students who are currently enrolled in courses for which the TI-89 is required.

POKER AND POWER
FRANK BARROS
Poker is a game that requires strategy, an understanding of probability and some insights into human nature. According to Harvard Law School Professor Charles Nesson, “poker can be a superior means of teaching critical life skills including negotiation, resource management, risk assessment and numeracy.” This course will explore probability and its value in problem solving, the power of position in strategic decision making and the value of patience. Students will learn from true poker scenarios, analyzing decisions made and whether they will maximize reward in the short run or the long run. No previous knowledge of the game is necessary.

THE REPLICATOR: 3D DESIGN AND PRINTING

KURT SCHLEUNES AND APRIL BURCH

Black and white? Color? Laser? Now 3D? The world of 3D printing has come to Berkshire. Using Google Sketchup, students will learn to design an object in three dimensions and then print it out on Berkshire’s very own 3D printer. Not just for math and science students, this course will explore the possibilities of printing 3D art and discuss the impact of this transformative machine on our world. Students will also tour The Chamberlian Group, a local manufacturing company that uses 3D printing in the design and creation of anatomically accurate models for medical training.

 

 

Berkshire School

245 North Undermountain Road
 |  Sheffield, MA 01257
 |  T: 413 229 8511

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