MATH AND SCIENCE

A AND B PERIOD COURSES

PHYSIOLOGY AND NUTRITION OF SPORTS

DEVON AND JACKIE O’ROURKE
There will be two components to the course: classroom sessions and a “laboratory” in the form of a structured training program. The classroom component will introduce the students to the physics, chemistry, and biology of their own body systems. Daily readings and homework will be used to learn about major areas related to exercise physiology: cardiovascular training, strength training, injury prevention, nutrition and dietary supplements, and performance enhancing drugs (legal and illegal). Laboratory sessions will explore applications of each of these areas. The exercises are strictly regimented, and do not provide students with freedom to complete a routine of their choice.

A PERIOD COURSES

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 programming 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.

MAP IT!

MANDY MORGAN
Have you ever hiked up to Black Rock and wondered about your elevation gain? Students in this class will learn about topography firsthand by cooperatively creating a large three-dimensional topographic map of Berkshire School to be prominently displayed in the Bellas/Dixon Math and Science Center. In addition to constructing a scaled map, students will explore the history of cartography and the role maps have played in human exploration.

MATH: CARD COUNTING TO KNOT THEORY

TIM LANCE
While you might not always realize it, there is so much more to mathematics than proofs and
problems. After a historical overview, we will quickly move into modern day classic math games such as Sudoku and Kakuro, and also develop some of our own puzzles. We will examine the intersection of mathematics and art, from the tessellations in Islamic tiling to the work of M.C. Escher, and create our own tessellations. Finally, we’ll explore how math has been used to cheat the system, including counting cards. The class will finish with an analysis of solvability. Math really is everywhere, and we will explore some of its many uses and the beauty it creates.

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.

SAVING THE SEASON: THE HISTORY AND CHEMISTRY OF FOOD PRESERVATION

STEPHANIE TURNER AND KRISTINA SPLAWN
Since 12,000 B.C. humans have been preserving food. Civilization itself depended upon this ancient practice as society needed to harness the abundance of food during the growing season to weather shortages. Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte called for a new method of food preservation to supply his army and canning was invented. No matter where or how it occurred, the goal of food preservation has always been to eliminate or slow the micro-organisms that cause food to spoil. We will learn about a multitude of ways to achieve this (some ancient and others very modern), the science behind each, and will try our hand at preserving several different types of food. We will also visit a local farm that grows crops to use for their own vegetable fermentation!

SNOW SCIENCE: BACKCOUNTRY TRAVEL IN AVALANCHE TERRAIN

ROB LLOYD
Snow. You can form a snowball with it, build a snowman, go sledding in it, melt it to drink, be trapped or killed by it, or dig a cave and survive in it. It can be a resource or a hazard. Using pit diagrams, grain composition, snow accumulation and stability tests, we will explore the physics and trigger points behind avalanches. This class will explore how snow impacts our corner of New England and examine the big mountain areas where avalanches are more common.

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 COURSES

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 ones and zeros 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.

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.

GOT JAVA?

DAN SPEAR
System.out.println(“Hello World!”); These are the first lines of code you’ll program in Java. Using Sun Microsystem’s omnipresent, object-oriented language, students will use tutorials available through Sun’s website to guide them through the process of creating Java programs. We will explore variables, data types, logic and Boolean operators and though some of the concepts are specific to Java, many are valid for generic programming. Students will finish the course by generating a simple animated game.

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.

MATH IN THE MOVIES

KURT SCHLEUNES

In Good Will Hunting, Matt Damon, in his role as a janitor at MIT, solves a complicated linear algebra problem left on the chalkboard. You can too with some guidance from Math Department Chair Kurt Schleunes. Students will watch clips from Good Will Hunting, A Beautiful Mind, Twenty-One, The Matrix and The Bank and study the mathematics involved in these classic "math movies." Topics covered will include probability, graph theory, the Zeta function, the Riemann Hypothesis, and matrices.

PLASTIC SHMASTIC

AMANDA MORGAN
In the background of the alluring bright blue label are pristine glacier-covered mountains with the slogan “Purity Guaranteed” inscribed just below the company’s logo. Did you know, despite this image, that one out of four bottled waters sold in the U.S. is derived from a municipal water supply? Is the water in plastic bottles any different or any better than that coming from our faucets? Why should we care about using water in disposable plastic bottles? Is it harmful to us and to the environment? We will investigate how bottled water is packaged and marketed and why it has become one of the fastest growing sectors in the beverage industry. We will also test samples of bottled and non-bottled water to see if we can detect any differences.

RUBE GOLDBERG

JOHN WEST AND BRIAN SULLIVAN
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. 

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