Announcing: A-Term 2021

Bearkat Student Scoop with Josey G. '22

Listen to the A-Term student presentations as they share what they learned and experienced!

Friday, April 9, 2021
9:15 – 11:45 a.m.
Passcode: Dr_Q

Join via Zoom

Session 1
9:15 — 10:20 a.m.

  • Introduction with James Quillin
  • Advanced Woodworking Techniques
  • Civics 101
  • Prototyping with Custom PCBs and Microcontrollers
  • Get Grounded by Training the Brain
  • On Par: The History, Culture, Rules, and Etiquette of Golf
  • Individual A-Term: Introduction to Arabic Language and Literature

10:20 —10:40 a.m.

Session 2
10:40 — 11:45 a.m.

  • Individual A-Term: History and Art of French Patisserie and Bread Baking
  • Topics in Physics
  • Stories, Retellings, Disney, and More
  • Investing and Trading
  • Better Yourself through Martial Arts

Martial arts, golf, investing, and trading! These are just some of the courses offered this A-Term at the High School.

Following spring break, high schoolers will spend two weeks doing a deep dive into the course of their choosing. Many of them were proposed and planned by the students, and allow for both in-person or at a distance learning. Here is a summary of what's in store this A-Term:

Advanced Woodworking Techniques (in-person only): Students will learn intermediate and advanced woodworking techniques, such as advanced glue-ups for intricate cutting boards, advanced routing, and joinery techniques, and how to make and use templates to create intricate designs. Each student will finish two projects demonstrating their skills in all or some of these areas.

Better Yourself through Martial Arts (in-person only): During this course, you will be learning about the history of different martial arts while also participating in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai Kickboxing classes. Along with experiencing and learning about the physical side of martial arts, you will also be exploring the mental health side. You will learn about martial arts philosophies and how they can teach valuable life skills and improve self-confidence and self-esteem. You will also have the chance to hear from professional MMA fighters about how martial arts has helped them and impacted their lives.

Civics 101 (hybrid): Do you want to better understand how your local, state, and federal governments work? Do you want to become more active in your government or learn how to organize people around specific issues? If so, then Civics 101 is for you! You will learn about how the governments of Houston, Harris County, Texas, and the United States really work. And, if possible, we may even get to speak with local and state representatives and officials to learn more about their jobs, how they were elected or appointed, and the issues important to them. You will also contact your representatives to petition them about issues important to you. “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.” —Thomas Jefferson

Get Grounded by Training the Brain (hybrid): Students will explore how mindfulness and meditation can lead to improved experiences of everyday living, including responding to stress, positive thinking, creativity, productivity, and joy. Students will practice yoga, meditation, silence, walking, journaling, listening to music, and creative projects. Students will read, reflect, and discuss different articles or books on how mindfulness can be a tool to become aware of and act to bring healing to issues of racism and bias. This course can be re-taken and will be adjusted to students’ individual needs.

Investing and Trading: Increasing the Probability of a Financially Stress-free Retirement (distance only): In this course, we will cover trading and investing, asset allocation, money management, position management, and various strategies for managing money. We will learn about the stock market, studying market indicators, sector indicators, the buying, and selling of stocks, and how options work. We will touch on other types of investments including real estate and other markets but spend the bulk of time learning both fundamental and technical analysis and trading and investment strategies. We will play an Investopedia game to practice strategies and analysis. 

Musical Theater (in-person only): Students will work over the course of eight days to write a screenplay for an original musical, and write three original songs/parodies to accompany it. The first week will be focused on understanding and studying the genre of musicals, listening to soundtracks, watching snippets of them, and then writing our own, working in groups. Songs may be parodies of existing ones or originals. The second week will be entirely focused on rehearsing, producing, and filming the musical. The goal is for each song to be around 2 to 3 minutes long. 

Back by popular demand, On Par will immerse students in the wonderful world of golf.

On Par: The History, Culture, Rules, and Etiquette of Golf (in-person only): A good day of golf is par for the course in this A-Term. Would you like to spend some time outside, chasing a little white ball with some sticks?  Do you enjoy immaculate, park-like settings?  Would you perhaps enjoy a day in the sand, or by a lake, or some close-mowed grass? Come play golf with us, each day at a different course in and around the Houston area! Learn the rules of the game, some history, etiquette, how to hit the ball far and accurately, and enjoy great camaraderie. Open to both boys and girls, beginners and experts, this course will be exciting from tee to green, whether you bogey or birdie or master the driver or putter. Don’t understand a word you just read? Come find out what joy it is to have, as Mark Twain put it, “a good walk spoiled.” This course is open to new and returning students.

Golf this spring with Post Oak! Spots and sponsorships are now available for ur April 27 tournament, Putting for Post Oak. Sign up today!

Prototyping with Custom PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards) and Microcontrollers (hybrid): The students in this class will be introduced to the basics of microcontroller programming and the physical construction of circuits. Students will begin by prototyping and testing individual circuit designs on breadboards. Once the breadboard prototypes are functional, the students will create circuit design files that will be sent to professional PCB houses to have high-quality printed circuit boards manufactured. The students will then populate the custom PCBs with the necessary components to make fully functional prototype boards.

Stories, Retellings, Disney, and More (hybrid): In this course, we will analyze the construction of culture, race, ethnicity, and gender through stories, writing, and film. Possible materials will include but are not limited to the Grimm Brothers stories, Disney renditions of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Mulan, and Aladdin/One Thousand and One Nights; Roger and Hammerstein's Cinderella (Brandy and Whitney Houston version); Maxine Hong Kingston’s Warrior Woman; and the Twisted Tales series (“the bad guy retellings”). 

Topics in Physics (hybrid): In this course, we will cover the basics of several major topics in physics including mechanics, thermal physics, waves, and electricity and magnetism. For each topic, we will cover the conceptual and mathematical background necessary to conduct one or more open-ended engineering projects. All projects can be conducted with household materials at home or in person. Students will be expected to keep detailed engineering journals to document their design process and present their final design to the class. Some days will consist of lectures and planning, while others will be entirely dedicated to building and recording in journals.

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