- Advanced Baseball Statistics: The Game within the Game/Matt Fox
We will take a non-traditional approach to evaluate a player’s overall worth as a baseball player. Using Major League Baseball, this class will discuss the development of modern theories, various data sets, publications, and research methods commonly used in the sabermetric industry. Topics include game strategy, park factors, DIPS theory, MLB’s economic system, clutch hitting, and the MLB Draft. Students will draft their own team and learn to most accurately assess the most valuable players ever to play the game.
- And Things That Go Bump in the Night/George Brock
Have you ever woken up in the night covered in sweat and breathing quickly, your heart racing and your eyes searching every shadow in the room for the thing that dragged you out of sleep with a scream on your lips? If so, have you ever wondered why? Explore the foundations of the Horror genre as presented by America’s master storyteller: Stephen King
- “Battle of the Bands: Beatles vs. Stones/Alice Berry
The Rolling Stones and The Beatles—which band was the most original? The most influential? Which is the GOAT? We will delve into the roots, histories, and contributions of both of these great British bands, and explore some modern bands who owe their success to these two. Learn about the Blues, Country, Jazz, Beatniks, R n’ B, Doo-Wop, Boogie Woogie, Rockabilly, Soul, Motown, Surf, Protest, Greenwich Village Folk, Psychedelia, and Ravi Shankar’s sitar. Be prepared to share bands you love!
- Build Your Own Computer/Alan Duncan
Do you ever wonder, how does my computer work? What is inside of the metal box? How much does it cost to build my own high-end computer? If you have asked yourself any of the following questions, then you will enjoy this adventure in assembly, problem solving, and gaming.
- Build It & Battle It: The Trebuchets/Peter Hutcheson & Paul Revez
Build trebuchets and go to war! Learn about the history of this ancient war engine as you discover the principles of medieval siege warfare while creating and testing your own trebuchet.
- Chemistry and Cooking/Krista Holter & Jenny Cantrell
In the class Chemistry and Cooking, we will explore how everyday cooking and cuisine can illuminate basic principles in chemistry, physics, and engineering. Learn about food molecules and how chemical reactions can affect food texture. During this course, Ms. Holter and Ms. Cantrell will reveal the secrets behind many culinary creations. Topics will include: how molecules influence flavor (and pH), the role of heat in cooking, diffusion revealed by the phenomenon of spherification, and solubility and the science of candy. You will also have the opportunity to become an experimental scientist in the laboratory — and the kitchen. By following along with the engaging recipes, taking precise measurements, and making skillful observations, you will learn to think like both a cook and a scientist. The lab is certainly one of the most unique components of this class — after all, in what other science course can you eat your experiments?
- Conspiracy Pseudoscience and Media Bias/David Framel & Pejman Milani
In the world of Cryptozoology, UFOlogy, and the Paranormal, photographic and video evidence of the existence of unknown creatures, “lights in the sky,” and ghostly images is compelling, and certain media outlets will take advantage of the conspiratorial nature of this “evidence,” but is it all a complete hoax? The class is designed to evaluate a history of stills and videos and discuss their credibility while examining the media’s use of them to generate revenue and interest, while students analyze methods of photo fakery and ultimately create believable still and “Mockumentary” forgeries that rival what is out there, using computer graphics, Adobe Photoshop software, and iMovie.
- Costuming for the Stage/Robin Bowman
Learn the basics of costume design (no sewing required!) and work on this year’s Spring Musical, Tuck Everlasting. We will meet with the director, analyze the script, and research late 19th-century clothing to develop a vision together as a class. You will get to choose a character and create your own design, and then take a trip to the costume rental warehouse and make your vision a reality!
- CSI - EHS Style/Karen Foster & Mary Catherine Holliday
Your body leaves evidence where ever you go: fingerprints, hair & fibers, blood, and DNA. This class will focus on teaching techniques on collecting evidence that is left by suspects. Students will learn how to analyze fingerprints, blood spatter, blood typing, hair & fiber examination, and DNA analysis. Dive into the real world of forensic science methodologies as you understand the implications and complicated issues that are part of the science of forensics.
- Cult or Religion? An Introduction to New Religious Movements/Alex Ayris & Dan Binder
How do we make sense of the modern world? When the creaky old answers of ancient traditions don’t seem to work, some people turn to new responses. New ideas, new practices – new religious movements. In this class, we will take a closer look at just a few of the thousands of NRMs out there. Through readings, film, and discussion, we will investigate the development, beliefs, practices, and sociohistorical context of Rajneeshpuram, the Heaven’s Gate movement, and the Churches of Latter-Day Saints, Scientology, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster, as well as other NRMs.
- Dream Odyssey/Eric Avera
Humans spend roughly a quarter of our lives dreaming. What do our dreams have to tell us? How have they inspired artists and inventors to create, and can they do the same for us? Learn the basics of dream interpretation, discover the possibilities of lucid dreaming, and understand how your brain works when it’s alert and when it’s resting. Students will also study how dreams are portrayed in film. “Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream?”
- EmpowHERment/Jess Adams & Emily White
Strong is beautiful! According to the World Bank: Empowerment is the process of increasing the capacity of individuals or groups to make choices and to transform those choices into desired actions and outcomes. More simply put, it’s the “can-do” factor, going from “I can’t” to “I can.” In this course, we will learn a variety of exercises, engage in discussions about body image and the representation of women in the media, study the leadership skills of prominent leaders, and build healthy, stress-reducing habits. No prior experience with weight training or exercise is necessary.
- From Arab Spring to Arab Winter/Dan Murphy
A look at the Arab Spring, which began optimistically in 2010, but largely ended in failure over the subsequent years. The course will emphasize both the commonalities and differences among the Arab countries that helped determine such disparate outcomes. The course will also touch on the broader global implications of the aftermath of the Arab Spring. Students, in pairs, will be responsible for picking an Arab country as a case study. You will have to describe how and why the Arab Spring played out the way it did in your country.
- From Mickey to Marvel: The Wonderful World of Disney/Eric Lerch
Few institutions have had as significant an impact on America over the last 100 years as The Walt Disney Corporation. A worldwide leader in the entertainment industry, its characters and theme parks are among the most recognizable icons across the globe. This course will explore the Disney phenomenon through a variety of perspectives. You will experience the rise of Disney as a historical force through the films and music that have been the foundation of its success. You will investigate the corporate strategies employed by Disney to maximize its economic power. Finally, you will evaluate the impact of Disney on relevant social and cultural issues of our time. Whether you are a Disney fanatic or merely curious about one of the world’s most successful businesses, this is a class where dreams really do come true!
- Hip-Hop/Kristina Burgess
Hip-hop is a high-energy class that infuses the latest styles of street dancing. Classes will encourage students to step outside of the box by bringing their style and personality to the movements. The course will emphasize the benefits of stretching and physical flexibility for athletic suppleness and greater ease and efficiency of movement through hip-hop dance. It will consist of structure and discipline, along with fun and freedom to freestyle. Hip-hop is an upbeat urban style of dance that is forever evolving. An appreciation of dance as an art form will be nurtured among all students.
- How Coffee Changed the World/Johnny Kwok
Does a coffee shop menu look like a mix between an Italian encyclopedia and a spell book? What is an iced, blonde, oat milk, hazelnut macchiato with an extra half pump mean? Ever wondered why people all across the world pay daily for just a cup of coffee? Coffee is a potent beverage from its position as the world’s favorite drink; the story of coffee is rich in history and mythology. Students will discover the economic, biological, societal and ecological impact that it takes to bring beans from a field to a cup in your hand. Learn how this beverage has shaped our history and continues to develop our culture.
- It Might Get Loud-Build A Cigar Box Guitar/Alan Bradshaw
Step back in time and make the coolest old-time instrument ever! Learn how to build and play cigar box guitars. This instrument dates back to the mid 1800s when folks had plenty of creativity, but not a lot of money. Students will build and learn how to play their instrument that has seen a modern resurgence that turned the cigar box guitar into one of the biggest things in music today.
- Latin American Culture and Cooking/Amalia Pflaumer & Rebecca Alcala
Join us for an exciting time as we learn about Latin American culture in the “Old” and “New” worlds! In this course, students will spend two weeks exploring Argentina and Spain to take a closer look at the music, traditions, and (most importantly) food! Students will have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the connections between history, culture, and food in these countries through the creation of traditional Argentine and Spanish cuisine. Te esperamos. . .
- Lego Robotics/Michael Hunt
Interested in robotics or think you might be? Why not take this course to explore the possibilities? You’ll have fun unlocking your imagination, practicing creative problem-solving, and exploring the world of building and programming robots. You’ll construct robots out of LEGOs and teach them to meet a variety of physical challenges.
- Living Sensationally: Cracking Your Sensory Code/Kayla Rogers
Why do some people hear Laurel but others Yanny? Why do some people think THE DRESS is black and blue when it is obviously white and gold? How am I able to see a bird and bunny in the same picture? Does prosopagnosia really mean someone can’t recognize their own face? These are a few of the many questions we will examine in this course. Our main goal is to investigate how humans’ sense and perceive the world around us. We will learn how to critically think about scientific research and explore the strengths and weaknesses of our senses. A field trip is included to an escape room to put our senses, perceptions, and critical thinking skills to the test!
- Love is Hilarious/Bob Matthews
Ice cream? A blanket? Tears at a predictable ending? If this setting feels familiar, examine the Romantic Comedy through an intelligent and critical lens. We will identify the traditional structure of the modern romantic comedy, look back at some of Hollywood’s most memorable offerings in the genre. Identify the modern classics and find out exactly how Greek and Elizabethan Theatre birthed the movies that people love to cuddle up to today. With all of this new knowledge, each student will write an outline and do a fantasy casting of their very own romantic comedy.
- Model UN/Julius Michael
Are you in Model UN? Or have you ever wondered what Model UN is and how it works? In this course, students will learn and prepare for the upcoming Houston Area Model UN conference in January by learning how to research and write a position paper, the proper procedures for debates, how to work collaboratively to prepare a resolution and conduct a model United Nations General Assembly session. Note: This course is highly recommended for Model UN Club members who are attending the January conference, but is open to all students.
- Money, Money, Money!/Mike Hodgson
Finance can be fun! Learn how to invest, save, and manage your money, and put it to work for you. Through this course, you will gain an understanding of the history of US currency, cryptocurrencies, the stock market, credit cards, auto loans, mortgages, investments, various types of savings accounts, etc. In a casual, relaxed environment, you’ll learn everything you need to know to handle your financial business, save for the future, and make your money work for you!
- Motivational Movies, Music Memes & More/Jay Berckley
Get ready to get pumped! This course will explore the many ways popular movies, media, and music are using various platforms to improve human performance. By witnessing and investigating this multi-billion-dollar industry, we’ll see how technology is being used to enhance user experiences, techniques that are employed to optimize consumer opportunities, and how YOU can benefit from this knowledge, too. We’ll laugh, be inspired, and talk about innovative ways to capture the principles used to improve our lives and the well-being of others!
- Movies Tell us so Much!!/Roya McArthur & Sole Toriello
A good film does more than entertain or fill seats at the cinema. It has the power to change hearts and minds – and sometimes society more widely. In this course students will analyze and examine how foreign films relate to the culture and literature of the Spanish and French speaking world. Learn about the history, culture, and society of other societies as you discuss and compare foreign films to Hollywood.
- Poetry Writing Workshop/Biz Kechejian
Studying poetry should elucidate the power of language. There are infinite ways to use words, and students should experience how it feels to break away from their personal vernaculars and experiment with unusual diction and syntax. When it comes to practicing analytical and creative writing, there’s a cross pollination of technique; the language dexterity creative writing encourages can improve academic papers. Study contemporary poetry and write original poems that imitate four poetic forms —Ekphrasis, Erasure, Homeric Simile, and the beloved “Nonsense Poem. Ultimately this course should challenge the way students think about their own lexical expression both on and off the page.
- Polaroid & Instant Film: The ORIGINAL Instagram!/Kate Philbrick & Japheth Storlie
Long before Instagram, and well before Snapchat, people shared photos shot and printed instantly! Students will learn about the history of the instant photo and how the process works. A local field trip will provide an exciting and colorful backdrop for taking pictures. As a hands-on workshop - we will make our own instant pictures, reclaim negatives from the film, and even transfer images to different surfaces!
- Salsa, Tango, Reggae, Reggeatón: Music of the Americas/Alex Bruton
This is a survey class in which we will listen to music, lots of music, from all over Latin America and the Caribbean. We will study and listen for trends, connections, common beats and rhythms as well as identify what makes the genres unique to the regions and countries. Music styles will include son, salsa, cumbia, rancheras, corridos, mariachis, tango, samba, rock en español, reggae, reggaetón, bossa nova, vallenato, capoeira among others. Watching videos of groups playing and dancing styles will also occur throughout the course. Knowing Spanish is not a prerequisite for the course.
- SEW much Fun: Basic Skills for Crafting and Gifting/Katheryn Ray
Have you ever spotted your mother’s sewing machine in the back of a closet and wondered how it worked? Do you think you’d like to make fun and easy gifts for friends and family for special occasions? Is redecorating your bedroom on a budget all you can dream about? If SEW, we have the IT course for you. Learn the basics or put in some practice time if you’re beyond novice. Come ready to think conceptually and spatially as we explore the art of sewing. By the end of this course, you will have quite a few finished projects to show off to friends and family and some new skills for life.
- Strategy Gaming/Andrew Clack
You’re invited to game night! Strategy games are a great way to offer students the opportunity to develop logical thinking and problem-solving skills in a stimulating environment. We will learn several different strategy games, understand the rules and the various strategies to win, talk about possible probabilities involved, and play games such as Settlers of Catan, Carcassone, and Monopoly. Students will collect data on strategies for winning the game and draw conclusions on the advantages and disadvantages of that strategy. Let the games begin!
- Stretch and Shine/Leigh Anne Raymond
This relaxing and restorative class will introduce students to different exercises to help keep their bodies flexible and strong. We will engage in a variety of exercises, including Pilates, yoga-like stretching, core work, and breathwork to relax your body and mind.
- The Art of Mathematics and Problem Solving-That Puzzle is Really a Math Problem!/Lauren Cunningham & Joanna Papakonstantinou
Investigate some of the classic mathematics problems, explore their solutions, and learn how resulting discoveries are the foundations that underlie current research and still have a profound impact on existing real-world applications in a variety of industries. You will learn how these seminal problems, some centuries old, were easy to state but hard to solve.
- Treachery, Greed and Reconciliation at the Foot of Africa: The Making of the Rainbow Nation/Garmon Ashby
What do these have in common: CT scan, PayPal, electronic ticketing, pre-paid cellphones, cellphone banking, refined cataract surgery, the first successful human heart transplant, Tellurometer, flame ionization detector, and more? They were invented in or originated in South Africa. As were 10 Nobel Laureates, Trevor Noah, Elon Musk, Charlize Theron, the Princess of Monaco, and many other notables! We will examine the centuries of greed and violence, which turned this peaceful corner of Africa into one of the world’s most turbulent and violent countries when the suppression of the majority of the population by brute force and political intrigue led to the Apartheid government. Most importantly, we will witness how this diverse and troubled country gradually found reconciliation, relative peace, and nationhood when no good solution seemed possible. Hear more about “Rainbow Nation” from an instructor who lived through the Apartheid regime and witnessed its transition to democracy and nationhood.
- Visions of the Future/John Flanagan
Visions of the Future focuses on science fiction and facts in man's attempt to predict the future. The primary goal will be for student groups to present their vision of the future, in words, art, and possibly performance. Daily programs will include discussions, movies, short stories, project work, futuristic games, and activities.
- You Do You: Empathy, Identity, & Culture in Contemporary Houston/Brad Telford
You Do You: Empathy, Identity, & Culture in Contemporary Houston provides an open, inclusive, interactive, and lively space for students to discover themselves, each other, and the world around them. Students will spend class time engaged in games, exercises, thought experiments, role-playing, and philosophical debates about who they are, the communities they belong to, and the world(s) they live in and…would like to create!