Semester Class

English 4: Reading Disney

Most of us encounter the stories and characters of the Disney empire as children. But where does Disney get those stories, and what do the “Disney versions” teach us? In this course, we will investigate Disney’s powerful role in shaping the many worlds—physical, social, emotional, commercial—that we inhabit daily. To chart this ever-expanding cultural geography, we will draw from a variety of readings: literary sources (including Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen”, Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, the sixth- century Ballad of Mulan, and versions of “Snow White” and “Beauty and the Beast” from all over the world), Disney’s feature-length films, essays in literary criticism, media literacy, and critical theory, and discussions of the architecture and design of the theme parks. Frameworks from cultural studies and film studies will challenge us as we advance our own critical perspectives on Disney’s representations of nature, race, gender, love, violence, progress, individualism, [...]

Semester Physics: Forces and Energy*

The world around us offers exposure to everyday phenomena that are often considered mysterious. We will answer some questions like: Why do things float? How come sound can travel through water? What the heck is light? How does electricity actually work? Why does leaving the refrigerator door open make your kitchen warmer? How do you make a nuclear bomb?

Semester Physics: Field Astronomy

Field Astronomy examines both the dynamics of planetary systems and the life and death of stars. The course will examine the history of the heliocentric and geocentric models of our solar system, Kepler’s laws of planetary motion, Newton’s Law of universal gravitation and the theory behind solar system dynamics. Starting with our sun, the course will examine the formation of stars and their possible fates.

Semester Biology: Marine Science

This class provides students with an introduction to marine life, and the principles of marine geology and physical and chemical oceanography that influence the distribution of that life. The course begins with a review of the basic concepts of waves, tides, and currents in preparation for a survey of the living organisms found in the world’s oceans. Monterey Bay, being our home, is the focal point of our studies. The bay is an outstanding backdrop for the course curriculum as it is diverse both geologically and biologically. We take full advantage of our proximity to the ocean by taking numerous field trips to the local rocky intertidal ecosystem, bird colonies, sea otter rafts, seal and sea lion haul-outs, and to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Topics of current interest including global warming, depleted fisheries, coral bleaching, coastal erosion, and plastic pollution are presented throughout the course. Upon completing the course, [...]

Semester Biology: Infectious Disease and Public Health*

This course is a detailed exploration of what makes us sick, how different pathogens invade our bodies, how our body protects itself, and how diseases emerge and spread through populations. Students will distinguish between communicable and non-communicable diseases. Students will explore how disease has shaped human history and how humans have shaped the evolution of disease. This course will take a close look at the leading causes of death in large populations and the dynamics of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This single semester course concludes with a presentation project where students conduct in-depth research on both the epidemiology and historical impact of a disease of their choice.

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