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Applied Learning

One of the ways in which Concordia is special is that it offers 11th and 12th grade students a variety of Applied Learning courses that are patterned on courses normally only available in higher education settings. Applied Learning courses at Concordia encourage academic vitality by asking students to identify and deepen their passions, while building unique connections between academic studies and real-world endeavors.

Independent Lab Research students pose original questions and engage in novel research.

Applied Global Development and Public Health students organized an organic farm visit to fund their project of delivering produce from the farm to a local migrant school.

Explore the high school course guide and discover unique offerings across the disciplines

AL Chemical Engineering (offered 18/19, 20/21, 22/23)

This course introduces students to chemical engineering through the process of roasting and brewing coffee. The job of a chemical engineer is to design ways to convert matter to a more useful form. In this course students will learn how to take matter in one form, green coffee beans and convert it into a more usable form, coffee. In this lab based class students will perform inquiry experiments that illustrate key chemical engineering principles such chemical kinetics, mass transfer, conservation of energy, fluid motion and colloids. In semester one they will start with engineering analysis and end with design. The semester will culminate in a design project in which students will publish and share their results with the greater coffee community.

In semester 2, students will be utilizing all of the coffee science they have learned in semester 1 and apply it to the roasting and brewing processes for Concordia’s social enterprise, Third Culture Coffee Roasters. Student's will have the opportunity to further pursue rigorous scientific investigations of their choice in the realm of coffee science.

Duration: 2 Semesers
Credit: 1.0
Prerequisite: 2 years of science, one being chemistry

AL Design*

This course focuses on the fundamentals of creating well-designed objects. Through the exploration of traditional design disciplines–textile design, graphic design and industrial design, students will learn about process, concept development and studio production techniques. Problem solving assignments will focus on creative form and function as applied to everyday items like fabrics, papers, advertising and posters, jewelry, clothing or furnishings. History of design and key movements such as Arts & Crafts, Bauhaus and Art Deco will also be a significant component of the course.

Duration: 1 Semester
Credit: 0.5
Prerequisite: Foundations of Art

AL Global Development Studies

“A different world cannot be built by indifferent people.”– Horace Mann

Is it possible to eliminate global poverty? Is an education a privilege or a right? What does sustainable development actually mean? What is my individual role in responding to global issues? GDS students spend semester one developing a solid understanding of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and what it means to be a changemaker. In semester 2, students engage in Design Thinking to create projects related to an SDG and spend the semester working with a team to make our community more green, sustainable and equitable. In this semester, students need to be intrinsically motivated to achieve tangible and measurable goals that result in real and lasting change.

Duration: 1 Year
Credit: 1.0
Prerequisite: 2 years of high school social studies

AL Human Anatomy and Physiology

This course provides students in the first semester with an introduction to the basics of human anatomy and physiology including anatomical terminology, biochemistry and cells, tissue types, the integumentary system, the skeletal system, joint and movement types and the muscular system. Students will become familiar with the function of each system, the structures that allow that system to carry out its function, dissect related animal structures, investigate careers in the health care field and complete placement hours in the Athletic Training clinic. In the second semester students will investigate the nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, respiratory, lymphatic, immune, digestive and urinary systems. Exercise physiology, neuromuscular function and the fundamentals of biomechanics will be investigated with a focus on the development of a treatment plan for an athlete with a musculoskeletal injury. Students must complete placement hours in the Athletic Training clinic under the supervision of Concordia’s Athletic Trainer.

Duration: 2 Semesters
Credit: 1.0
Prerequisite: Biology and Chemistry or concurrent enrollment in AP Chemistry or AP Biology

AL Journalism

In a media-rich world, the values of creativity, quality, integrity and resilience are central to effective journalism. In-depth reporting demands planning, interviewing, writing and editing - all skills that will be used and improved throughout this course. Students participate in real-world projects that make a difference! The development of multi-media communication skill includes graphic design, photography and audio/video production. Prior experience with any of these is welcome at any level; learning experiences will be adjusted to suit specific needs of individuals in the class. Developing media savvy students is the goal of applied journalism, so come and join a team of motivated journalists as we craft and publish the stories of our lives!

Duration: 2 semesters
Credit: 1.0
Prerequisite: none

AL Marine Research*

Note: This class does not meet during the normal school day.

Students who are selected after applying for this unique class will meet for approximately 15 two-hour evening meetings at school during the second semester to complete the necessary training to complete a marine survey of school’s selected reef system during a 10-day trip aboard ship immediately following the end of school. Students will be trained as PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water divers in preparation for the study. Those students who already have dive training may progress to higher levels. Students will then be trained to take longitudinal scientific data on the school’s selected reef system by recognizing and recording 16 global and eight regional indicator organisms that serve as specific measures of human impacts on coral reefs. These indicators include a broad spectrum of fish, invertebrates and plants that indicate human activities such as fishing, collection or pollution. Working in teams, the students’ study will be based on over 30 measures of environmental and socio-economic conditions and ratings of human impacts, a measure of the percentage of the seabed covered by different substrate types, invertebrate counts, and fish counts along four, 20m x 5m belts along the transect. After the survey, the collected data is entered into a global database for use by scientists worldwide and may be published in scientific journals. Students will be expected to produce a scientific poster or paper of the year’s data collection as a final product of their research.

Duration: 1 Semester
Credit: 0.5
Prerequisite: Basic swim proficiency

AL Author Study*

This semester-long applied learning course provides advanced study of a significant author of the student’s choosing (with teacher approval). Individually, each student will focus on a selection of works by his or her chosen author, examining a range of issues associated with that writer's literary canon, critical reception, and longevity. Coursework will include an in-depth study of form, style, and genre; social, cultural, and political contexts; dominant themes, motifs, and structures. This close examination of one particular writer offers students the unique opportunity to hone their own critical reading, critical thinking, and critical writing skills, as they take an in-depth, scholarly look at an author of their choice. Frequent sharing of insights and researched findings will allow for a lively academic exchange of developing literary perspectives. This course is for serious bibliophiles only.

Duration:1 Semester
Credit: 0.5
Prerequisite:  Placement determined by the English Department.

AL Big Data Analytics*

Big Data Analytics in the simplest of terms refers to the tools, processes and procedures allowing an organization to create, manipulate, and manage very large data sets and storage facilities. The process of sifting through sheer quantities of data proves to be a demanding process for any person to do. Big Data Analytics is a course that encompasses information technology, science and mathematics. This course will focus on the conceptual understanding and the application theory behind Big Data Analytics rather than explicit formulas and technical jargons. The main objective for this course is to create “awareness” and to be exposed to the realm of big data and the hidden dangers it might bring. This course will include some hands on experience utilizing big data analytics to solve some practical real life projects. Upon completion, you will be more aware about this big data phenomenon.

Duration: 1 Semester
Credit: 0.5
Prerequisite: Algebra 2

AL Engineering*

Engineering I*

Engineering I: Engineering, Technology and Robotics*

This course builds engineering skills by providing students several realistic projects that require teamwork, problem solving, analytical thinking and creativity to complete. The major goals of the course are to expose students to design process, research and analysis, teamwork, communication methods, global and human impacts, robotics, programming, engineering standards and technical documentation. Students develop problem-solving skills and apply their knowledge of research and design to create solutions to various challenges that increase in difficulty throughout the course. Students also learn how to document their work and communicate their solutions to their peers and members of the professional community.

Duration: 1 Semester
Credit: 0.5
Prerequisite: Two years of high school science and completion or concurrent enrollment in Algebra 2

Engineering II*

Engineering II: Engineering and Design*

This is a semester long cross-disciplinary STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) course that will involve both Engineering and the Art of Design. Students will work in teams to solve real problems using skills from across disciplines to communicate the issues, research potential solutions, build prototypes, creatively problem solve and design finished creations that are esthetically pleasing, robust in their design, ecologically friendly, helpful to the community and simple to use. Students will create several small projects throughout the semester and then ultimately present their final project to a panel of engineers, designers and potential users for review and evaluation.

Duration: 1 Semester
Credit: 0.5
Prerequisite: 2 years of high school science, completion of Engineering 1, and completion or concurrent enrollment in Algebra 2

AL Epidemiology (offered 17/18, 19/20, 21/22)

In this class, students will learn how to identify the origins and spread of infectious diseases. We will use statistics and principles of disease transmission to analyze data related to the spread of disease and the development and cycle of pandemics. Students will learn how to design appropriate research studies and analyze the resulting data. This class will also examine recent international epidemics and study how scientists and statisticians join forces to save the world every day.

Duration: 2 Semesters
Credit: 1.0
Prerequisite: completion of Algebra 2 and two years of high school science

AL Independent Lab Research - Life Science

Independent Lab Research - Life Science I

Students will develop and carry out independent research in the area of life science under the guidance of one or more faculty members. The goal is to have a project that may be entered into a science fair or a paper that may be published.

Duration: 2 Semesters
Credit: 1.0
Prerequisite: Two years of high school science and teacher approval

Independent Lab Research - Life Science II*

In this course students who have completed a year of independent research will continue to develop their projects through refinement, additional data gathering, and possibly exploring related questions.

Duration: 1 or 2 Semesters
Credit: 0.5 per Semester
Prerequisite: Independent Lab Research I and teacher approval

AL MakeSpace Initiative

This Applied Learning opportunity offers you, the student, the chance to be in a Design Thinking projects initiative.  As a member of MakeSpace you join a team that designs learning spaces within schools: classrooms, learning commons, libraries, cafes... you name it!  Using Design Thinking methods and elements of AGILE processes we work with students, teachers and administrators to reimagine what learning looks like.  We observe, we empathize, we design, construct, implement, and modify learning spaces iteratively to improve the learning environments of schools.  We imagine what learning can look like and we actually make it happen!

Duration: 2 Semesters

Credit: 1.0

Prerequisites: None

AL Social Entrepreneurship

Social Entrepreneurship

Social entrepreneurship is an emerging field that lies at the intersection of business and social change. A social entrepreneur uses skills and strategies within the business world to innovatively and sustainably solve social, environmental, and economic problems. In this course all of the work is active and you will learn by doing as you solve real problems. The majority of the work you will do in this course is collaborative and team based. Throughout the course you will develop a set of skills and tools that you will apply to our own social enterprise, Third Culture Coffee Roasters. Your curiosity and sense of urgency will drive the curriculum. After completing this course I hope that you will be an agent for change, no matter where you go after you leave Concordia.

Duration: 2 Semesters
Credit: 1.0
Prerequisites: 2 years of high school social studies

Social Entrepreneurship II

This course is for students who want to take what they learned in social entrepreneurship and work in an executive role to grow Third Culture Coffee Roasters.

Duration: 1 or 2 Semesters
Credit: 0.5 per Semester
Prerequisites: Social Entrepreneurship and teacher approval

AL Storytelling Agency*

This semester-long course provides students with authentic experiences in creative writing. The vision for this course is to capture and create stories which ultimately, celebrate the human spirit and foster a sense of global community.

Students in this course will produce high quality, marketable products for publication and also become more acquainted with the professional writing industry. Coursework will include delving into the craft of one or more genres of creative writing and storytelling, while working with editors, meeting real-world deadlines and eventually, publishing. Whenever possible, proceeds from published works will be invested in socially conscious organizations located in China and beyond.

Duration: 1 Semester
Credit: 0.5
Prerequisite:  Placement determined by the English Department.

* Denotes a one semester course

All Applied Learning Courses have

  • An Authentic Application, which
    • Provides open-ended challenges that focus on deliverables, and real world benefits for authentic audiences beyond the classroom
  • Academic Rigor, which
    • Values depth over breadth,
    • Is patterned on college-level courses, and
    • Requires higher order thinking skills

  • A Focus on Process Skills (learning by doing), which
    • Emphasizes skills directly related to the field of study, including
      • Practicing the skills of the career field,
      • Experimenting with creative solutions to challenges,
      • Cultivating resilience in the face of challenges or failure,
      • Researching through reading and analysis of journal articles or literature in the field of study, and
      • Fostering leadership and teamwork.

Applied Learning Courses may have

  • Learning and experiences outside of the classroom,
  • Flexible curriculum which responds to student input,
  • Interdisciplinary learning where students apply knowledge and skills in novel settings, and
  • Experts in the field who work with students.