Video Game Design in Scratch
Video Game Design in Scratch, a course intended for students without any prior Scratch or programming experience, will cover concepts within video game design and teach students the skills to make their own video games. We will start with an overview of the Scratch programming language with a focus on the elements of the language that can be used to design a fun game. We will then discuss themes that common video games have to get ideas about what makes a game entertaining. Throughout this entire process, students will be working individually or in groups to design their own games.
Essence of Web Development
Prerequisites: Scratch suggested
Learn to build your own website from scratch using HTML and CSS. Through a hands-on project-based teaching style, students will gain a fundamental understanding of web technologies, understand common best practices, and be able to design and implement responsive websites.
Introduction to Coding in Java
Prerequisites: Scratch suggested
Introduction to Coding in Java is meant to bridge the gap for students who understand graphical programming languages and would like to expand their skills further. We will start by linking all of the concepts within Java to what students are familiar with in languages like Scratch, such as functions, variables, arrays, and more. We will then show various operations and functions within Java. The course will be primarily project based, giving students challenges to complete each week to develop their understanding of the language.
Introduction to 3D Modeling
Learn the basics of 3D modeling. During this course, we'll design a variety of different objects using the program Fusion 360. Opportunities for individual or group projects will be included along with step-by-step instruction in several core modeling techniques. By the end of this course, students will be comfortable enough with fundamental modeling skills to explore more advanced techniques without direct instruction. Students will also have formed good modeling habits that will allow them to design more complex models in the future.
Intermediate 3D Modeling
Prerequisites: Intro to 3D Modeling or prior experience in Fusion 360
This class will allow students to explore the more advanced aspects of the 3D modeling program Fusion 360. Rather than click-by-click instruction, this class will be composed of individual projects with the help and guidance of the instructor. This course will have an emphasis on cementing good modeling habits and developing independent problem-solving skills. By the end of the class, students will feel confident designing multi-component assemblies.
Are you curious about the world we live in? Do you want an exposure to the topic that is a discussion world wide? Then Earth Science is the course for you. In this course, you will be learning about the earth's formation, soil, water, wind, rock formations, weather and biodiversity. You will learn through fun activities such as visiting parks online.
This course will teach you the environmental impact of human actions, and how to reduce your waste. We will range from topics from Climate Change to Renewable Energy Sources to Recycling. Each week will be a different topic followed by a mini-project. This course is for anyone who cares about the environment and wants to learn about new ways to preserve it.
Survey of Mathematical Challenges
Prerequisites: 7th grade or higher and must know how to solve linear equations (e.g. 3x + 7 = 10).
If you are passionate about learning higher mathematics, this course will provide an excellent overview. We will cover some of the most interesting and challenging areas of mathematics that have been pioneered by famous mathematicians such as Euler, Newton, Euclid, and Bernoulli, among others. Students will be introduced to ideas of logic and proof, which they can use in any mathematical discipline. We’ll also address some real-world applications to math such as in loans, probability, and graphing. The course will be challenging and will require a great deal of commitment but will also be rewarding and is designed to produce numerous “ah-ha” moments for students. If you love math and want to take one of the hardest classes available to middle schoolers in the country, this is the best option for you.
Introduction to Cryptology
From the time of Julius Caesar to the present, cryptology has been a war between those who want to conceal information and those who want to reveal it. In this course, we will explore the basic ciphers, through its background story, encryption method, and the decryption method both with and without the key, beginning with the Caesar cipher. In addition, we will discuss the role cryptology plays in the world today.
Do you have a story that you’re dying to tell? Whether it be a simple poem or a wacky fantasy story, everything is possible through creative writing. Anything you can imagine can become a reality with a few words. The Creative Writing class will give you a space to explore this passion. Schools often have few spaces to let your stories shine, and here you can let your imagination flow. You’ll also receive instructor feedback, partake in fun writing exercises, and more.
Stand up Comedy 101
John Mulaney. Ali Wong. Hasan Minhaj. Don’t know who any of those people are? Doesn’t matter. Know every one of their jokes by heart? Awesome. Whether you know nothing about stand-up comedy or watch ten Netflix specials a night, this class is for you! Stand-up Comedy 101 will serve as an introduction to writing and performing stand-up comedy. We will learn how to find funny material, how to shape that material and how to perform that material. Students will create their own stand-up bits and receive feedback on how to improve. By the end, students will hopefully be able to make humorous observations and write their own bits.
Songwriting & Digital Music
Prerequisites: None for Songwriting, but if you’re interested in Digital Music and Production, a service such as GarageBand or Logic Pro X is recommended
Songwriting and Digital Music is the place to turn the melodies in your head into fully-fledged songs. Although you can learn how to play instruments anywhere, songwriting, digital music, and production are hard skills to learn without instruction. In this class, you’ll be guided step-by-step. You will learn prompts and ideas for inspiration, the key to turning your ideas into music, how to use digital software and produce, and more. The class will guide you through the full process of becoming a songwriter.
Fundamentals of Drawing
Prerequisites: Rising 6th graders and up, please have pencils and colored pencils
How many times have you asked someone how to draw something? In this course, we will learn the basics of drawing. We will start off with the fundamentals of art, including anatomy, perspective, and color theory. We will also cover useful drawing techniques and tricks that can make the drawing process simpler. After learning from other pieces of art, we can start to create our own based on what you want to express. This course will help you build your confidence in creating your own art.
Music Video Production
Prerequisites: Ages 10 and up, please have access to a computer/smartphone for basic video editing software (such as iMovie, which is free)
In Introduction to Music Video Production we want to ask ourselves the question, how do we bring out a story through music? Aidan believes that children will be able to enhance their storytelling skills through music. A music video can be about anything as long as the music helps bring out that story that we want to tell. In this class, Aidan will be going through the basics of music video production. This will include choosing a song, writing a story to go along with that song, storyboarding, filming, and editing.
Prerequisites: 6th grade and above
There are many ways to learn magic, through YouTube, a dvd, a book, etc. But the best way to learn is directly from another magician. This class is exactly that. Students will learn basic sleight of hand along with performance skills. They won’t only learn a trick but also how to present themselves and be confident in a crowd. They will learn things that Tom wishes he knew when he started out. So let’s take a little dive into the art of deception.
Introduction to Origami
This course would cover the basics of origami, or paper folding. It will primarily focus on teaching certain beginner level origami models, such as the crane. It will additionally discuss a basic intuition behind reading diagrams, selecting paper, and other skills helpful for learning origami.
Introduction to Chess
Chess is a wonderful game that teaches many different life skills. Themes such as problem solving and pattern recognition prominent in chess can be applied to academic subjects such as math and science. This course will cover the basic rules of chess such as how the pieces move, including special moves like castling and promotion. Additionally the course will introduce basic principles of chess such as piece value, piece development, and central control. No prior experience with chess is necessary.
Intermediate Level Chess
Prerequisites: Knowledge of how to play chess (How the pieces move, basic rules)
Chess is a wonderful game that teaches many different life skills. Themes such as problem solving and pattern recognition prominent in chess can be applied to academic subjects such as math and science. This course will cover vital principles of chess such as tactics, piece development, central control, etc. Additionally, the class will look at elementary endgame positions and themes like king activity and the value of passed pawns. Finally, we will look at famous games (such as the Opera Game) to teach opening and middlegame principles with a focus on piece activity and king safety. The course is perfect for students who know the basics of chess and are interested in further developing strategy and skill.
Fundamentals of Philosophy
Fundamentals of Philosophy is an introductory course designed to get students to think critically about the world. Thinkers and ideas that forged history will be broken down and explained, starting with Ancient Greek fundamentals to the Era of Enlightenment and to contemporary, postmodern theories. We will host discussions, debates, and Socratic seminars, in addition to recommended readings and videos. The course is primarily interest-based and will offer students the opportunity to research and explore the world for themselves.
Writing is something that many people struggle with. But if you learn the right skills, writing is actually very formulaic. If you are interested in improving the structure and quality of your writing, then this is the course for you. We will apply these techniques to cover historical events, current world news, and even anything of the students’ choice. We will go through the basic structure of analytical essays and paragraphs, teach you how to write at a level that will impress your high school teachers, and shed light on various techniques and questions you can ask yourself when at a loss for what to say.
Prerequisites: Rising 6th graders and above
Interested in politics but not sure how to get involved because of your age? Then join Social Activism! This class will feature two different types of classes per week. One class will foster discussion about current events, both domestic and international. The other class will be an engaging experience for students to learn about how to voice their opinions appropriately, how they can stay politically involved at their age, and different methods of activism.
Race and Ethnicity
Victoria Von Redden
What is race? Why is it so important in America? How has race changed throughout history?
Race in America is a discussion-based course that will focus on the basics of race and aim to answer these questions. We will look at reading excerpts, newspaper articles, videos, and short films regarding different topics about race relations in America. Some topics might be relatively sensitive; however, this course will be an open space, allowing people to share their opinion comfortably and respectfully.
Introduction to Public Speaking
Although “public speaking” is a term that may frighten or disgust most middle-school and high-school students, speaking in front of a group of people is an essential skill for succeeding in secondary school and beyond. Even more importantly, public speaking can be deeply rewarding for both the speaker and his or her audience — effective oratory can allow the most touching, informative, or funny messages to achieve their desired effect. This introductory course will focus on the fundamentals of public speaking: vocal tone, hand gestures, body language, and more. Through practice speech exercises, video examples, and group drills, we will work towards the delivery of a five to seven minute speech about a topic of choice.
Introduction to Psychology
This course will explore basic psychological concepts such as human perception, memory, and social psychology. We will look at psychological experiments, hold experiments ourselves, and have discussions about the results and look into the psychological principles behind them. Students will discover the effect psychology has on our daily lives and learn to utilize their knowledge acquired from this course to their advantage.
YPP Book Club
If you’re interested in getting out of the normal world for a bit and escaping into somewhere a little more interesting, join the YPP book club! Students will take a poll to decide which novel the group ends up reading, choosing from a pool that includes The One and Only Ivan, Life of Pi, and Gone for middle schoolers and Hatchet, Wonder, and Charlotte's Web for elementary schoolers. This is, of course, not a final list and you are welcome to submit your own recommendations before the poll. Classes themselves will be mostly discussion-based, while the instructor (Nolan) will be present to guide the conversation, the majority of thoughts and opinions will ideally be from the students themselves. Nolan can talk for hours about every one of these but he wants to hear what you think.
This course is great for students with all levels of Spanish, including those with no prior exposure to those wishing to build upon what they have learned in school. The course material is very flexible and will be tailored to each student’s specific needs as the language learning process is highly individualized. Possible focuses include grammar, vocabulary, or conversational skills. In the exceedingly global society we live in today where multilingualism is more crucial than it has ever been, this course will guide students on their journey to mastering a foreign language.
This course is recommended for students of all levels, from those with no experience with the Japanese language to those who are basically fluent and want to improve their skills. Each student will receive material fit for their level of learning, and students may choose to focus on a specific topic such as grammar, listening, and speaking. No prior knowledge is necessary, but it may be helpful if you knew the Japanese hiragana alphabet.
Intro to Chinese
This introductory course is for absolute beginners in Chinese, no prior experience is needed at all. We will cover the basics of the Chinese language, including intonations, the writing system, simple phrases, and more. This course is perfect for those who want to begin their journey of mastering the most spoken language in the world!
Introduction to Sanskrit
In ancient India, Sanskrit was considered the language of learning and was believed to be the origin of Indian languages, and some foreign languages. If you are interested in learning an old language that is still in use today, and would like to be introduced to the Indian culture-sign up for this course! In this course you will be learning: Correct pronunciation of letters, words, and sentences, seven question forms (who, what, where, when, why, how, and how many) and the appropriate responses, intro to grammar, intro to numbers, days of the week, and telling time. You will also learn how to read and write the words/sentences.
Intro to American Sign Language
This introductory course is for absolute beginners in American Sign Language, no prior experience is needed at all. We will cover the basics of ASL, including the alphabet, important signs, simple phrases, and more. This course is perfect for those who are looking for an introduction to sign language!
Fitness and Kung Fu
Fitness and Kung Fu is a class where students can exercise with the instructor. Every class will have a 5 minute warm up to stretch out muscles and prepare students for a workout that is different for every class. Following the workout will be a small Kung Fu lesson that will teach basic movements and combos. Finally, the meeting will end with a stretch to relax and loosen the muscles after the exercise. Students will be able to learn simple workouts to help stay healthy and in shape, and they can learn some basics to Kung Fu, which can help with self defense.
Intro to Cheerleading
Prerequisites: Ages 8+
In this course you will understand how to appeal to a crowd of people through facials, motions, jumps, projection of your voice and cheers. As well as this, you will also have an intro to stunting and understand how a Varsity athlete trains for Cheerleading. While there are no prerequisites required, athletes will be responsible for wearing athletic clothing including but not limited to a t-shirt or tank top, shorts, and athletic sneakers (females will be required to put their hair in a ponytail or braid). First we’ll learn a little bit about the history of Cheerleading so they can see how this sport progressed but the rest of the course will be focused on the actual sport. At the end of the course we will have a mini routine put together based on facials, motions, jumps, projection of your voice, and cheers since we can not incorporate stunting.