English 9: Introduction to Literature
This course introduces students to the primary genres of writing: the novel, short story, nonfiction, drama, and poetry. They will develop their writing skills through essays, journaling, and creative writing. Active reading skills and critical thinking will be practiced through class discussions and homework assignments. In English 9, we also study research skills and learn proper integration and documentation of secondary critical sources into papers using the Modern Language Association (MLA) format. Students will have regular vocabulary and/or grammar instruction and assignments. In the spring, they will also complete an extended critical analysis paper during the third and/or fourth quarter.
English 10/Honors English 10
In this course, students engage actively in the study of literature. Reading selections focus on major works of world literature such as 1984 and Hamlet. Students will continue to hone critical reading, write analytical essays, and expand knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. The research component will involve choosing and researching a British poet of the student's choice and analyzing the poet's work.
English 11/Honors English 11- Perspectives in American Literature
Perspectives in American Literature is a survey course in which you will discover how to evaluate and construct convincing arguments by exploring legacies of thought and expression in the United States. In the spirit of respecting both the power of language and the expectation that the foundational skills that you learn in an English class should be used effectively across multiple fields and disciplines from the humanities to the sciences to the technical world and beyond, this course is designed to emphasize critical thinking, problem solving, innovation, and analytical skills through the extensive study of both literary and composition theory. We will pay close attention to the diverse perspectives and thematic paradigms of twentieth and twenty-first century American texts from within their historical contexts, with a specific focus on how Americans engaged with and are currently writing about and discussing pressing issues of the 2020s and their possible solutions.
12th Grade Elective Courses
AP English Literature, year-long
An AP English Literature and Composition course engages students in the careful reading and critical analysis of imaginative literature. Through the close reading of selected texts, students deepen their understanding of the ways writers use language to provide both meaning and pleasure for their readers. As they read, students consider a work’s structure, style and themes, as well as such smaller-scale elements as the use of figurative language, imagery, symbolism and tone. (The College Board)
This course explores the literature of wild places and the people who seek them out. Pristine forests, winding rivers, and isolated deserts hold an important place in our cultural imagination, offering an alluring mix of solitude, danger, and freedom. Captivated by the promise of these landscapes, many artists and adventurers have pursued a life apart from society. Yet taking to the woods often presents its own complexities and challenges, raising questions about personal fulfillment and the human relationship to nature. Students will read John Krakauer's Into the Wild alongside other modern and historical texts.
Film as Literature
This course gives students the opportunity to use film as an alternative form of literature by studying how plot, character, theme, point of view etc are used in this media. Moreover, students will learn a new set of critical tools for "reading" movies from editing and camera work to the societal implications of certain movies . This course includes the history of movies, genres, and directors along with related critical readings and discussions. Students will review and use research, presentations skills as well as writing to demonstrate their learning in how to analyze classic works of cinema.
To Postmodernity and Beyond
This course explores postmodern literature and its rebellious, yet playful relationship with modernism, pop-culture, mass media, technology, and philosophy. Primarily designed to offer students an opportunity to experience a broad sampling of postmodern American and international literature, students will also engage with and develop a personal understanding of fundamental postmodern questions about reality, sincerity, language, power, and globalization through critical analysis, research, discussion, essay writing, and presentations.
From Stories to Science in the Anthropocene
The times, they are a-changin.’ Funny enough, quite a bit has changed since Bob Dylan first introduced that song to the world, but just how much have the times changed since then? What does it mean to be human, living within the changes of today’s world? How about the world of tomorrow? In this course, we will look at how storytellers and scientists have examined the relationship between change and human activity, bringing comfort in the face of terrifying unknowns and an understanding of the disruptive conflicts and traumas that rapid rates of change can bring. Along the way, students will study up on the histories and philosophies of science, analyze the elements of suspense, mystery, and psychological horror in stories, and learn to listen to and contribute to conversations about the engineering of transformative stories and sciences of their own.
20th Century American Playwrights
This course explores the lives and works of writers whose work brought about profound change in American theater and dramatic performance. By reading, watching, and studying notable plays by Tennesee Williams, Arthur Miller, Thorton Wilder, Eugene O'Neill, and others, the class will look at how their realistic plots, characters and themes led to a new kind of uniquely American theater. Plus, students will discuss how some of these plays are now considered the most significant works of the 20th century. Students will also engage in class discussions on the ideas and themes examined in these texts and develop these further through research, presentations, creative writing, and essays.
This course will focus primarily on the American short story, covering an array of different writers, the themes connected with these authors and the corresponding time periods. It will include short stories written by women, minorities, and contemporary authors. A portion of the course will look closely at the construction of a short story and an introduction to creative writing. Students will also be required to write weekly response papers.
In this course, we will read some of the oldest stories our world has to offer and consider their impact. Are these stories still relevant? What can we learn from them? Why do civilizations tell stories in the first place? Possible readings include: The Epic of Gilgamesh, Genesis/Exodus, The Odyssey, Ramayana, The Eloquent Peasant.
In this course, we will examine the major religions of the world through literature and consider their relevance. What can we learn from each religion? How are they different from one another? How are they similar? Does religion still have a place in our world? Possible readings include: Bible, Siddhartha, Buddhist scriptures, Quran, Mahabharata, Inferno, Journey to the West, Tao Te Ching, poetry by Rumi.
In this course, we will read literature from around the world and work through the dilemmas of culture clash and translation. What does colonization mean? Is there such a thing as culture? Do countries even exist? Possible readings include: The Stranger, Things Fall Apart, Invisible Cities, My Name is Red, One Thousand and One Nights, Candide, Short Stories by Borges.
This course starts off by exploring the canon of English classes, where students will discuss the books that they have read in school up to this point in time and the reasons behind why those books are what they (and other students across the country) have been assigned to read. Students develop an understanding of what is excluded from canonical literature and discuss why and how this exclusion is limiting. From there, we move on to exploring the history of privilege in their community and country at large. Texts used in this course include: Well-Read Black Girl, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, All Out: The No-Longer Secret Stories of Queer Teens throughout the Ages and The Stonewall Reader, as well as We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Fundamentals of Art
Fundamentals of Art is a quarter-long course which will cover the basic methods of drawing. Students will learn how to see and communicate creatively as well as better understand how to utilize the creative process to develop individual ideas. Students will work with a variety of drawing materials and techniques and then be given the opportunity to create their own original works of art utilizing various media. Projects will vary in length according to their complexity.
Drawing & Painting
Drawing and Painting is a semester-long course which will deal initially with skill building in drawing, painting, and technique. Students will then progress to using those developed skills in a creative way to produce drawings and paintings which reflect the individual artist. Additionally, we will be learning elements of design and composition which focus and enhance what we have to say. Projects will vary in length according to their complexity. Our ultimate goal is to produce original artwork which expresses each student's individuality.
PREREQUISITE: Fundamentals of Art
AP Studio Art
This yearlong course is designed for students who are seriously interested in the practical experience of art and wish to develop mastery in the concept, composition, and execution of their ideas. The course is not based on a written exam; instead, students submit portfolios for evaluation at the end of the school year. In building the portfolio, students experience a variety of concepts, techniques, art mediums, and approaches to design which will help them demonstrate their abilities as well as their versatility with specific techniques, problem solving, and ideation. Students will be required to maintain a visual journal throughout the summer prior to the course as well as throughout the year. Students also develop a body of work for the concentration section of the portfolio that investigates an idea of personal interest to them.
PREREQUISITE: Fundamentals of Art, Drawing & Painting (with a grade of 90% or higher)
AP Art History
By examining approximately 250 works of art from diverse cultures and the relationships among these works, students develop an understanding of global artistic traditions. Students analyze works of art in their contexts, considering issues of patronage, gender, politics, religion, and ethnicity. The interpretation of the work is based upon its intended use, the audience, the role of the artist, and the work of art in its particular society. This year-long course is a chronological examination of art through units of study adapted from the chapters in the textbook: Janson, H.W. & Janson, Anthony F. A Short History of Art.
Class will focus on developing and practicing the basic skills required to make sculptural, functional, and esthetically pleasing pottery. Students will gain knowledge of essential terms, tools, and techniques as they relate to pottery. Techniques include hand building with coils, slabs, using molds, decorative applications, and glazing. In addition, students will study historical and contemporary examples of pottery along with the environmental and sociological impact this work has. Students will obtain a deeper understanding of this ancient, yet still relevant and thriving craft.
PREREQUISITE: Fundamentals of Art
This semester-length course is designed to teach the fundamentals of wood sculpture including low relief, 3-D carving, waterfowl, and other wildlife sculpture. Basic concepts such as aesthetic value, historical and cultural influences, critique methods, as well as the use of tools and sharpening, are included.
PREREQUISITE: Fundamentals of Art
Photography I is a semester-length course where students are given an introduction to the materials, equipment, techniques, and design concepts used in film photography. This class will teach students how to use a 35-mm camera and properly expose film with an emphasis on manually controlling and mastering aperture and shutter speed. Students will learn how to process negatives and print black and white images in the darkroom. They will learn how to critically assess form, style, and meaning within a photo. Students will also study historical and contemporary examples of photography and how it is used today.
PREREQUISITE: Fundamentals of Art
This is a continuation of Photo I. It will cover advanced film exposure and development for tonal control; advanced traditional black and white printing techniques; advanced (digital) image editing including tonal control and digital image capture through film scanning with the flatbed scanner. Students will begin working with both color and multiple images.
PREREQUISITE: Fundamentals of Art, Photography I
This class will cover both traditional and digital media through three extended visual projects. Emphasis will be on project concept and content as well as the ability to communicate more in-depth ideas. Students’ individual voices will be developed as they continue technical development and exploration of the relationship between media and concept. Collaboration and context will also be explored through several short-term projects.
PREREQUISITE: Fundamentals of Art, Photography I, Photography II
An advanced digital photography course which is designed to work with all digital images. It will include use of various formats, camera types, computer programs for handling data and printing. Focus will be on design and composition elements, producing high quality imagery, and students developing a portfolio for review.
PREREQUISITE: Fundamentals of Art, Photography I, Photography II, Photography III
This yearlong class is responsible for the production of The Gunston School Yearbook. In this course, students will apply skills in the following areas: page design, publishing techniques, copywriting, editing, photography, record keeping, time management, teamwork, marketing, and leadership skills. Students are tasked with producing a timeless, creative, and innovative publication that will record our school’s community, memories, and events. Throughout this course, students will be challenged with real-world projects and assignments. High-quality work is expected at all times. Students are expected to fully participate in each activity they are tasked with. To produce a complete yearbook, students are required to attend and document school activities and sporting events, in order to gather information to be used in the yearbook. Exceptional class attendance, time management, and a positive attitude are essential in working successfully in our team environment.
PREREQUISITE: Fundamentals of Art
Foundations of Civilization
This course examines the growth of human society from our earliest beginnings to the present. Students will investigate such topics as agricultural societies, ancient civilizations, empires, trade, and migration. Focus will also be on the role of climate, geography, trade, and religion. The course is primarily project based and through their work, students will develop the skills of researching, critical thinking, and essay writing. Readings will include the major text, atlases, and primary sources.
This one-semester course examines the foundations of the American political system including an in-depth study of the Constitution and how each branch of the government acts upon its powers and checks the powers of the other branches. Students read in-depth articles from various sources, primary sources, and consult other media to gain knowledge and understanding of the foundations of the American government and to understand current issues facing the United States today. World, national, state, and local issues are addressed and students should be able to use their "political voice" to participate in in-depth discussions/debates.
AP U.S. Government and Politics
The AP U.S. Government and Politics course is designed to provide students with a learning experience equivalent to that of an introductory college course in United States government and politics. It offers an analytical perspective on government and politics in the United States, including the study of general concepts used to interpret U.S. politics and the analysis of specific examples. During the year, students develop expertise regarding the various institutions, groups, beliefs, and ideas that constitute the American political system.
AP Comparative Government and Politics
AP Comparative Government and Politics introduces students to the rich diversity of political life outside the United States. The course uses a comparative approach to examine the political structures; policies; and political, economic, and social challenges of six selected countries: China, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, and the United Kingdom. Students compare the effectiveness of approaches to many global issues by examining how different governments solve similar problems. They will also engage in disciplinary practices that require them to read and interpret data, make comparisons and applications, and develop evidence-based arguments.
United States History
The U.S. History course at Gunston is a general survey course for eleventh grade students. The course follows the narrative of U. S. history in a roughly chronological fashion from the European discovery of America to the post World War II era. It is designed to develop critical thinking, historical argumentation, and an understanding of causal relationships in the American historical narrative. Students must also learn to discern the relative importance of historical facts and develop clear, concise essay writing abilities.
AP United States History
This course is a general survey of American history, offered to 11th grade students in preparation for the Advanced Placement Exam in U. S. History. The course follows the U. S. historical narrative from the European discovery of America to the end of the Vietnam War. It is designed to develop critical thought, historical argumentation, and a detailed understanding of the political and social development of the United States. It differs from the regular U. S. history course primarily in its quicker pace, broader scope, and more detailed examination of U. S. history.
AP European History
This course is designed for seniors in preparation for the A.P. exam in European history. It covers the time period from 1450 to present. Themes include issues in intellectual and cultural history as well as politics, diplomacy, social organization, and economics. Students will be asked to understand the events underlying these themes and to analyze and interpret these events.
Ethics (One Semester)
This course introduces students to the foundational theories of ethics and encourages the application of these theories to the global, national, communal, and personal ethical issues and dilemmas that confront the human community. The course begins from a theoretical basis, but moves quickly to the realm of practical or applied ethics using a field-based approach.
This class provides students with an introductory overview of some of the major topics and themes in the American justice system. This course is designed to teach students to understand the importance of law in building a just society, analyze historical and contemporary legal documents, identify the difference between criminal and civil law, understand basic trial procedures, and appreciate the multitudes of individuals and groups involved in the legal process.
Modern African-American History
This project-based, semester long course focuses on the African-American experience from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day. Students will explore the social, political, and economic discrimination/segregation of the Jim Crow South and the Great Migration of African Americans to the major cities of the North and West and their experience there. We will then look closely at the Civil Rights movement led by Martin Luther King Jr. and the emergence of the Black Power movement led by Malcolm X in the 1960s. Finally students will use their historical knowledge to focus on the emergence of a new civil rights movements today and how they are (or are not) building upon previous movements. Throughout the course students will also study the development of a distinct African-American culture and art and how it influenced the overall American culture.
Modern Asian History
This project based, semester long course focuses on post World War II Asia. Students will learn about the two major historical powers of the region, China and Japan, who took very different social, political, and economic courses after the war. We will focus on the various factors that led these two nations in very different directions toward the same goal. The class will also look into the emerging independence movements in Southeast Asia and how this area became a battleground in the Cold War. Finally we will focus on the Korean Peninsula and the major issues facing Asia today. In all cases the course will not only look at the history of these nations and peoples, but their culture and art as well.
This course covers topics in nutrition and performance nutrition, activity and fitness programs, substance use and abuse, human sexuality and relationships, and the national health trends and reports. The health and wellness themes of physical, mental, and social/emotional health are stressed. In addition, articles in the journal Current Health are read and discussed.
This course covers essential concepts in cell biology and chemistry, genetics, evolution, and ecology. Topics are constantly applied to the latest discoveries in disease control, genetic engineering, and the human condition including discussions of the ethics of some of these new discoveries. Students follow and learn the scientific approach to problem-solving in this laboratory based course and develop study skills for this course and future courses in science.
This course covers essential concepts in cell biology and chemistry, genetics, evolution, and ecology. Topics are constantly applied to the latest discoveries in disease control, genetic engineering and the human condition including discussions of the ethics of some of these new discoveries. Students follow and learn the scientific approach to problem solving and develop study skills for this course and future courses in science. This honors course will be taught at a faster pace, have more in-depth labs and assignments, and have assessments with a greater emphasis on the application of knowledge.
This course is a lab-based introduction to Chemistry - giving students the ability to identify, understand, and characterize the chemical world through inquiry, analysis, and experimentation. Throughout this class students will utilize hands-on learning, technology, and the application of real-world situations to better appreciate what matter is and how it behaves. They will learn about the physical and chemical properties of matter, the composition of matter (protons, electrons and neutrons), the structure of matter, and the chemical reactions that can transform matter. This course also focuses on applying basic chemical concepts to current events and environmental concerns. Time spent in this classroom will be spent collecting and analyzing experimental data, writing, and discussing concepts that will help students to strengthen their research, analytical and critical thinking, and communication skills.
This laboratory-based course is a rigorous and highly quantitative course with a dual purpose: to foster enthusiasm and appreciation for science and to prepare students for further study in chemistry. Critical and analytical thinking, problem solving, oral and written expression, and the development of laboratory skills are emphasized. Sample topics include atomic and electronic structure, the periodic table, stoichiometry, the mole, solutions, thermochemistry, bonding, chemical reactions, gasses, and kinetic-molecular theory. The course also focuses on applying basic chemical concepts to current events and environmental concerns.
This course covers Newtonian mechanics, electricity, magnetism, simple harmonic motion, waves, and light. Investigative learning through lab experimentation is stressed including designing experiments, analyzing sources of error, and accurately communicating results. Emphasis is placed on each student developing a learning strategy that works for them, building a rich physics vocabulary, connecting physical laws to everyday experiences using problem solving strategies to tackle word problems and to answer questions using lab experiments. The students will pull together what they have learned in a culminating project/presentation about energy usage. They will use the concepts that they have learned including energy conservation, electricity generation, and other topics to describe all of the energy transformations involved in their energy source, for example from sunlight to natural gas to electricity generation.
This course provides a thorough survey of topics in high school physics while adhering to the philosophy of "concepts before equations". Classes will consist of thought provoking demonstrations, engaging activities, formal experiments, and lectures The emphasis is on building a working physics vocabulary, understanding of basic physics concepts and connecting physical laws to everyday experiences, using problem solving strategies to actively apply the concepts they have learned, and using algebra equations to make predictions in experiments and evaluate how well they model students' observations. Topics include: the movement of objects; inertia; forces; projectile motion; energy conservation; momentum conservation; static electricity; electrical currents, resistance, and electronic devices; magnetic fields; electromagnets and motors; electricity generation; waves of water, sound, and light. The students will put together what they have learned in a culminating project/presentation about energy usage.
The AP Biology course offers students a rigorous, inquiry-based approach to advanced biology topics and is intended to mimic a year of college biology. The purpose of the course is to help students develop a conceptual framework for modern biology and an understanding and appreciation of science as a process. Students cultivate their understanding of biology through inquiry-based investigations as they explore the following topics: evolution, cellular processes—energy and communication, genetics, information transfer, ecology, and interactions. Students will be prepared to take the AP Biology Exam.
This laboratory-based course is designed to be the equivalent of a college level general chemistry course. Students will learn about the fundamental concepts of chemistry such as the structure and states of matter, intermolecular forces, reactions, and how to use chemical calculations to solve problems. They will also develop the ability to think and express ideas with clarity and logic, both orally and in writing. Students will work with classmates to design and conduct meaningful laboratory investigations in order to observe chemical reactions and substances, interpret findings, and communicate results.
AP Environmental Science
This course is designed to engage students in an interactive and participatory experience in environmental science at the college level. During the course students will learn the fundamental background knowledge, scientific principles and methodologies of environmental science and use their understanding to explore and analyze the interrelationships of natural systems and human needs in various scientific disciplines. Students finishing this course should be able to identify and analyze environmental problems, both natural environmental risks and anthropogenically derived challenges, to evaluate risks associated with these issues, and to examine alternative solutions for dealing with them.
AP Physics C: Mechanics This 2-semester course is equivalent to the first semester of a typical university introductory physics course for scientists and engineers. It is a calculus-based course using differential and integral calculus. The course is designed to prepare students for the AP Physics C: Mechanics test. Topics covered include Newton’s laws, conservation of energy and momentum, rotational motion, gravitation, and oscillations. Students learn advanced problem solving skills and how to apply these techniques to real life situations. Investigative learning through lab experimentation is stressed including designing experiments to answer real life questions. For example, students will design and construct wind turbines and compare their power output with calculated predictions.
Anatomy and Physiology
This is an advanced, project-based science course that focuses on the intricate relationship between the structure and function of the human body. This course will provide students with an introduction to the structure of body parts, how they are organized, and the names of various components of the body (anatomy). In addition, it will provide students with a better understanding of the major systems of the body and how these systems relate to one another in terms of organization, adaptation, homeostasis, and function (physiology). Students will use laboratory activities to reinforce concepts from class and animal dissections as an interactive hands-on approach to identify, learn, and understand the necessary components of the body and its inner workings.
Brain Science is the study of how the human brain works – how we think, remember and learn. As such, this project-based course will examine the physiological basis of human nature, including how the mind works, how the brain supports the mind, and how internal and external environments act upon the brain to produce perceptions, control body functions and generate behavior. Basic principles of neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and neurochemistry will be discussed along with the methods used to study these areas to develop an understanding of how these biological factors underlie human brain function.
This course is a project-based, lab science course focused on exploring, defining, and understanding climate science and the impact of climate change on the region through hands-on inquiry on Gunston’s campus and the surrounding region. By the end of this course, students will be able to think critically about the environmental, societal, and economic impacts of human activities and systems. Students participate in several ongoing research and restoration projects on Gunston’s campus and help to drive forward campus sustainability efforts.
Ecology of the Chesapeake Bay
Students will learn about the biggest estuary in the United States and the challenges and opportunities that it faces. The biological and physical features of the estuarine system will be investigated by students in this field-based class. With this understanding, students will learn about the problems that the Bay is faced with today and how humans impact the system. Students will also learn about climate science and how climate change is reshaping the region. There will be opportunities for the students to be field and community scientists participating and collaborating with larger research teams.
Robotics, First Tech Challenge
In this course the students will form the core of the Gunston Robotics Team that competes in the FTC (First Tech Challenge) competition between schools. The students will build and program a robot themselves. The students are required to keep track of their work in an engineering notebook with their designs, successes, problems, and solutions. At the competition, before the matches start, the students will need to make a presentation to the judges explaining and defending their strategy and choices.
This project-based course will cover introductory robotic engineering including design, construction, and programming. Students will work in teams to build robots to solve real world challenges. They will learn problem-solving techniques in a group setting while drawing on topics in science, technology, engineering, and math to complete their projects. As a culminating activity, each student designs, builds, and programs a sumo bot. These robots must stay within a circular ring, locate an opponent, and attempt to push the opponent out of the ring. After taking this course they will be familiar with the engineering design process and be able to apply it to other STEM fields.
Algebra 1 is a course designed for students who have not completed a full year of algebra. Topics from pre-algebra are reviewed and expanded while new topics are introduced. Topics include linear functions, inequalities, exponents, exponential functions, quadratic equations and functions, polynomials and factoring, rational expressions and radicals. Algebra 1 extends students’ understanding of the real number system and provides themes that illustrate real life applications, interdisciplinary connections, and multicultural connections with an emphasis placed on Research-Informed Brain Based Learning as well as Education for Sustainability and DEI.
Honors Algebra I
Honors Algebra 1 provides an introduction to the basic structure of algebra. Equations, polynomials, inequalities, and problem solving are an integral part of the curriculum. The textbook provides themes that illustrate real life applications, interdisciplinary connections, and multicultural connections. This course is designed to teach students to think, reason, and communicate mathematically and serve as the vehicle by which students make the transition from arithmetic to symbolic mathematical reasoning. It is an opportunity for students to extend and practice logical reasoning in the context of understanding, writing, solving, and graphing problems involving linear and quadratic equations, as well as systems of two linear equations in two unknowns. In this course, students are expected to demonstrate their ability to extend specific problems and conditions to general assertions about mathematical situations. Additionally, they are expected to justify steps in an algebraic procedure and check algebraic arguments for validity.
This course is a problem-based, hand-on investigation of Geometry. It incorporates the use of spatial visualization, deductive reasoning, and algebraic skills with work in the field of coordinate geometry. Technology, manipulatives, and explorations are used in conjunction with group work to engage students in creative problem solving. Postulates and theorems are studied to understand the deductive process of devising proofs. While this course emphasizes formal geometry topics, it also shows the student connections between geometry and the real world by developing multi-step thinking and logical reasoning. The course has been designed to highlight the schools’ focus on Research-Informed Brain Based Learning as well as Education for Sustainability and DEI.
This course is a problem-based, hand-on investigation of Geometry. It incorporates the use of spatial visualization, deductive reasoning, and algebraic skills with work in the field of coordinate geometry. Technology, manipulatives, and explorations are used in conjunction with group work to engage students in creative problem solving. Postulates and theorems are studied to understand the deductive process of devising proofs. While this course emphasizes formal geometry topics, it also shows the student connections between geometry and the real world by developing multi-step thinking and logical reasoning. The course has been designed to highlight the schools’ focus on Research-Informed Brain Based Learning as well as Education for Sustainability and DEI. The honors course moves at a faster pace and includes right triangles and trigonometry.
Algebra 2 is a study of parent functions and transformations, complex numbers, sequences and series. Real life applications, interdisciplinary connections, multicultural connections, and connections within mathematics using technology are featured in the course. Topics include parent functions and transformations, inequalities, graphs, polynomials and radical expressions, quadratic equations, exponential expressions, sequences and series and probability.
Honors Algebra 2
Honors Algebra 2 is a study of linear and quadratic functions, irrational and complex numbers, and trigonometry. Real life applications, interdisciplinary connections, multicultural connections, and connections within mathematics using technology are featured in the course.
Precalculus provides instruction to trigonometry, functions, trigonometric equations, polynomials, exponential functions, logarithmic functions, and conic sections. Connections within mathematics using technology are featured in the course.
AP Calculus AB
AP Calculus AB follows the curriculum outlined by the College Board. This is the first course of calculus which begins with a basic review of graphing and trigonometry, and then moves on to the fundamentals of calculus, presented as the reformulation of precalculus through the limit process. The topics include limits, derivatives, integrals, exponential and logarithmic functions, and areas under curve. The student will be prepared to take the AP exam.
AP Calculus BC
As set forth by the College Board: Calculus BC is an extension of Calculus AB and is primarily concerned with developing the students' understanding of the concepts of calculus and providing experience with its methods and applications. Topics include derivatives, integrals, limits, approximation, and applications and modeling.
The AP Statistics course introduces students to the major concepts and tools for collecting, analyzing, and drawing conclusions from data. There are four themes evident in the content, skills, and assessment in the AP Statistics course: exploring data, sampling and experimentation, probability and simulation, and statistical inference. Students use technology, investigations, problem solving, and writing as they build conceptual understanding.
This semester-length course involves the study of: trigonometric and circular functions; right and oblique triangle trigonometry; graphs of the trigonometric functions; trigonometric identities and formulas; inverse trigonometric functions; and solving trigonometric equations. Graphing calculators will be used throughout the course.
This semester-length course extends the student's knowledge to topics not generally covered in a traditional Algebra 2 course. The course includes the study of: variations and proportions; conic sections; systems of linear and quadratic equations; sequences and series; counting principles with probability and statistics; matrices and determinants; and exponential and logarithmic functions with applications. Graphing calculators will be used throughout this course.
Introduction to Music
The Introduction to Music class is required for incoming 9th graders as part of a year-long rotation with Art, Technology, and Wellness. This class is designed for students with various levels of experience; from no background at all to those with performance experience. In this class, we reinforce the foundations of music theory and history. Students learn music notation, rhythm counting, and critical listening skills. These skills are exercised by performing the hand chimes and drumming techniques. Students are also introduced to various composers throughout the semester and provided with playlists to enjoy in their free time. This class serves as a starting point for students to develop an interest in the performing arts. With successful understanding of these materials, students will be prepared for various electives offered in their Sophomore, Junior, and Senior years.
Guitar/ Ukulele Methods
The Guitar/ Ukulele Methods course is offered as a semesters elective to all Sophomore, Junior, and Senior students. Students with no experience are welcome to take this course along with students who have extensive knowledge and background of playing guitar or ukulele. Aside from learning acoustic guitar and ukulele, students are also introduced to the bass guitar/ ukulele and the baritone ukulele. Students are not required to own an instrument at home; however, it is strongly encouraged for developing their skill. Students will learn how to tune their instruments, read music notation, chord symbols, tablature, and various strumming techniques for all instruments. By the end of the course, students will be able to perform various pieces of music on multiple instruments. Depending on the semester, students are expected to participate in Night of the Arts or Open Mic Night.
Contemporary Ensemble is offered as a semester elective to all Sophomore, Junior, and Senior students. In this course, students will have the opportunity to learn and/or advance their ability performing ‘rock and roll’ instruments: electric/ acoustic guitar, bass guitar, and drum set. Students are not required to obtain their own instruments at home; however it is highly recommended. Throughout the semester, students will learn about the history of rock and roll, pedagogy related to the instrument they are learning, and performing as an ensemble. Upon successful completion of this course, students may audition for Advanced Ensemble. Depending on the semester, students are expected to participate in Night of the Arts or Open Mic Night.
Advanced Ensemble is offered to students who have successfully completed and participated in Contemporary Ensemble. Students must be able to demonstrate advanced reading and performance skills. Depending on instrumentation, students will work in small groups to prepare pieces and perform as an ensemble. This course is guided by the instructor but led by the musical style and tastes of the students. Depending on the semester, students are encouraged to participate in Night of the Arts or Open Mic Night.
Music in Film (combined with Audio Production)
Music in Film is an elective course offered to Sophomore, Junior, and Senior students. In this course, students study the history of music in films and how to create audio materials that supplement class film projects. This class is for students interested in film production and the role music and sound plays in movie making. Students will learn the roles of composers, cultural influences and stylistic trends from silent movies to today. Throughout the semester, students will participate in group and individual projects that incorporate the creation of sound effects, music, dialogue, and film.
World Music Drumming
World Music Drumming is offered as a semester elective to all Sophomore, Junior, and Senior students. This course is designed for students to learn and perform styles of drumming from Africa and the Caribbean in the traditional aural, non-verbal teaching method. Students are expected to participate with an open mind and a willingness to try new experiences. In addition to learning how to hand drumming techniques and auxiliary percussion instruments, students will learn about the cultural connections to each country the ensembles are related to. Depending on the semester, students are encouraged to participate in Night of the Arts or Open Mic Night.
Piano Lab is an elective course offered to Sophomore, Junior, and Senior students. Students with any level of ability are encouraged to enroll. This course is designed to teach the concepts and fundamentals necessary to play the piano. While performing piano is the primary goal of this class, the basics of music theory: notation, rhythm, melody and harmony, will also be learned. Students will work at their own pace and have access to pianos for the purpose of practicing at school throughout the semester.
Instrumental Music is offered as a semester elective to all Sophomore, Junior, and Senior students. In this course, students will have the opportunity to learn and/or advance their ability performing traditional brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. Students are required to provide their own instruments for this course. Depending on the semester, students are encouraged to participate in Night of the Arts or Open Mic Night.
Gunston Chorale/ Middletones
Gunston Chorale is offered as a semester elective to all Sophomore, Junior, and Senior students. In this course, students will have the opportunity to develop and strengthen vocal techniques and perform together as an ensemble. We will also incorporate song writing exercises as part of this course.
Introduction to Computers
Students will learn how to code using a web based programming environment from CodeHS.com. Learning to code students will use this environment to train a dog, named Karel. Karel starts off much like a puppy with little knowledge of the world and uses the commands given to it by the students to perform simple actions such as fetching a ball, turning around or jumping over objects. As the students become more confident with these instructions, so does Karel and this allows for more advanced programming. The evolving complexity of Karel commands throughout the course help define what it is to program and how this same process can be used to learn other computer coding languages.
Topics in Computer Languages
Topics in Computer Languages is a year-long course that includes subject matter across multiple computer science disciplines. This course emphasis's coding as the primary discipline taught and will use the Python programming language. Outside the scope of coding students will also learn about three dimensional modeling for uses in 3D printing, architecture modeling, virtual reality and introductory game development. The final section for this course is exploration in which students discuss the future of computers, debate computing ethics, understand digital footprints, learn networking, build computers and work in digital electronics such as arduinos and lower level analog circuitry. Instruction will be through problem solving, discussion and current events whenever applicable. Upon completion of this course students will have a solid understanding of a variety of computer science disciplines and be prepared for both the advanced placement(AP) principles and Java"Computer Science A" courses.
AP Computer Science Principles
The objective of this course is to teach a wide array of computing concepts to students on an introductory level. Students will learn about computational thinking and how computers change the world. Students will develop their problem solving skills of computational thinking by using everyday practices found throughout many other studies. This approach to the instruction of computational thinking helps students of all backgrounds learn and appreciate the studies of the computer sciences. This course will use scenarios of everyday life across multiple professions to help emphasis the impact that computers and computing have on society. Students will learn the implications of technology and have the opportunity to theorize and examine the futures of computing.
AP Computer Science A
The AP CS A (Nitro) course was developed in response to the updated Course and Exam Description (CED) that College Board released in Spring of 2019. The goal of this course is to prepare students for the AP Computer Science A Exam. In doing so, students will become proficient with the Java programming language. Students will use Integrated Development Environments to have a better understanding of what it is to code professionally. This will prepare each student for further studies in the computer sciences along with preparing them for any real-world coding applications.
First Year Students
This course is designed for students beginning the study of Spanish language and culture. The course will be conducted in Spanish and will immerse the students in the language. The course will serve as an introduction to reading, listening, and speaking in Spanish. Students will acquire basic vocabulary and grammatical structures that will allow them to continue the study of Spanish at the next level. The text is Auténtico 1. Students will be covering material from Units 1, 2, 3 and 4.
This course is designed for students who have taken an introductory Spanish course and demonstrate an adequate understanding of the fundamentals of the language. The students will review and expand upon these fundamentals. The course will be taught in Spanish and will immerse the students in the language. The course will introduce basic writing and emphasize reading, listening, and speaking in Spanish. Students will continue to acquire vocabulary and grammatical structures that will allow them to continue the study of Spanish at the next level. The text is Auténtico 1. Students will be covering material from Units 5, 6,7 and 8.
Advanced 1/Honors 3
This accelerated course is designed for students who demonstrate consistent acquisition of the Indicative Present Tense, Ser and Estar, Simple Past, and students who possess a variety of vocabulary to express fundamental concepts and ideas in the language. This course is designed for students who may plan to take AP Spanish during their senior year. The course will be conducted exclusively in Spanish and use of the language in class is mandatory. Students will acquire, review, and expand their vocabulary and grammatical knowledge with an emphasis on speaking and writing while continuing to develop their language skills through intermediate reading, and listening comprehension. Basic linguistic study is introduced at this level. The text is Auténtico 2. Students will be covering material from Units 1,2, and 3.
Second Year Students
This course is designed for students who have successfully completed the objectives of the first year of study in Fundamentals I. The course will be conducted in Spanish and will continue to immerse the students in the language.The course will expand on reading, listening, and speaking in Spanish. Students will continue acquiring vocabulary and grammatical structures that will allow them to continue the study of Spanish at the next level. The text is Auténtico 1. Students will be covering material from Units 5, 6, 7 and 8.
This course is designed for students who have successfully completed the objectives of the first year of study in Intermediate 1. The course will be conducted in Spanish. Students will continue to acquire vocabulary and grammatical knowledge with increased emphasis on writing, speaking, and interpretation of the language. The text is Auténtico 2. Students will be covering material from Units 1, 2, and 3.
Advanced 2/Honors 4
This accelerated course is designed for students who have successfully completed the objectives of the first year in Advanced 1 and plan to take AP Spanish their senior year. The course will be conducted exclusively in Spanish and the use of the language in class is mandatory. Through specific acquisition methods, students will review and expand their vocabulary and grammatical knowledge with increased emphasis on speaking, writing, and listening comprehension. This course will continue linguistic studies at an intermediate level. The text is Auténtico 2. Students will be covering Units 4, 5, and 6.
Third Year Students
This course is designed for students who have successfully completed the objectives of the second year of study in Intermediate II. The course will be conducted in Spanish. Students will continue to acquire vocabulary and grammatical knowledge with increased emphasis on writing, speaking, and interpretation of the language. Basic linguistic study is introduced at this level. The text is Auténtico 2. Students will be covering material from Units 4, 5, and 6.
Advanced 3/Honors 5
This accelerated course is designed for students who have successfully completed the objectives of the second year in Advanced 2 and plan to take AP Spanish their senior year. The course will be conducted exclusively in Spanish and the use of the language in class is mandatory. Through specific acquisition methods, students will review and expand their vocabulary and grammatical knowledge with increased emphasis on speaking, writing, and listening comprehension. Students will study advanced grammar in this course.. The text is Auténtico 2. Students will be covering Units 7, 8, and 9.
Intro. to Hispanic studies and culture (International Studies Course)
This course is a historic introduction to Spanish and Latin American culture through four different subjects: History & Politics, Literature, the Arts and Geography/sustainability. The course examines texts, authors, artists and cultural movements in their historical context and social production and reception, and their contributions to the creation of a “Hispanic identity”. Likewise, this course is designed to offer an introduction to literary and cultural analysis and to increase interpretive skills in students by familiarizing them with concepts, methods and basic cultural elements in the Hispanic World.
Fourth Year Students
AP Spanish Language and Culture
AP Spanish Language and Culture is the most rigorous course of the Spanish department. It is conducted exclusively in Spanish and it is mandatory for the student to use the targeted language in class. This course will cover 6 universal topics: Los desafíos mundiales, La ciencia y la tecnología, La vida contemporánea, Las identidades personales y públicas, La familia y las comunidades, and La belleza y la estética. The course is designed to prepare the student to demonstrate his/her dexterity in the three modes of communication: Interpretive, Interpersonal, and Presentational. The students learn about the culture through the use of authentic sources including audio and audiovisual materials, online newspapers and magazines, literature, charts, interviews, graphs, movies and printed articles. This model of complete immersion provides the student with a rich and diverse learning experience.
Intro to Hispanic studies and culture (International Studies Course)
This course is a historic introduction to Spanish and Latin American culture through four different subjects: History & Politics, Literature, the arts and Geography/sustainability. The course examines texts, authors, artists and cultural movements in their historical context and social production and reception, and their contributions to the creation of a “Hispanic identity”. Likewise, this course is designed to offer an introduction to literary and cultural analysis and to increase interpretive skills in students by familiarizing them with concepts, methods and basic problems in the Hispanic World.
AP Course Available at Gunston
Chinese Language & Culture
Comparative Government & Politics
Computer Science A
Computer Science Principles
English Literature & Composition
Physics C: Electricity & Magnetism
Physics C: Mechanics
Spanish Language & Culture
Studio Art: Drawing
Studio Art: 2-D Design
Studio Art: 3-D Design