Courses

Course Catalog

At Insight Colearning Center the curriculum is designed to give students multiple paths through a school year with coherent and overlapping themes. Because students are only required to take 3-4 classes per semester, students may find their own road through the fulfillment of key requirements. For example, in Academic Year 2019-20 (see below), a student who wishes to be particularly math intensive in their first year might take Algebra I and Logic and Proof in their first semester, and Trigonometry and Programming Basics in their second, gaining credit for Algebra I, Geometry, Trigonometry, and Applied and Conceptual Mathematics all in their first year. Other students may prefer to pursue their practical Mathematical understanding through a less traditional approach, and might fulfill their Geometry requirement through Logic and Proof, and their Algebra requirement through Programming Basics, with support from the instructor and their advisor.

Humanities and science courses are designed both to build on one another and to provide self-contained wholes as well. For example, a student who takes Environmental Chemistry in Spring 2020 would find that their knowledge of Botany from Fall 2019 is useful and deepened; however a student who has not taken Botany will not be at a disadvantage. Similarly, the courses in Buddhist Literatures and Buddhist History can speak to and deepen one another, but the former is not a prerequisite for the latter; and so too with Revolutions of Europe and the Americas. In addition, Logic and Proof in Fall 2019 may build a strong foundation for Philosophy in the West in Spring 2020; but Women’s Literature in England provides a different kind of entree to philosophical questions, one which is no less valuable.

Insight’s courses are meant to work together in a variety of ways, and through one-on-one advising students will be supported in their efforts to choose a path that appeals to them while also fulfilling their graduation and phase requirements. This support doesn’t end after students have chosen their courses either. During advising they are assisted in the process of drawing connections across their coursework as they look to future courses as well.

Upcoming Courses (Academic Year 2019-20)

Fall Semester

Core Courses

This course serves as an introduction to Algebra from a practical mathematics standpoint, and is focused on solving explicitly stated mathematical problems that have (potentially many) clear procedural solutions. In addition to learning the basics of algebra, students will get practice manipulating variables and equations so that they are easier to solve and will cultivate and deepen their understanding of procedural mathematics.

This course fulfills a Mathematics (Algebra I) credit.

Instructor: Mary Chrestenson-Becker

Students will be introduced to the study of biology via a case study in Botany. In addition to learning basic, over-arching concepts covered in most high school level biology courses (the anatomy of a cell, issues of taxonomy, etc.), students will do focused work on the life of plants, examining how they obtain nutrients, defend themselves, participate in a larger ecosystem, and grow. There will be a lab portion of this course which will include gardening with an eye to how gardens interact with the local ecosystem.

This course fulfills a Biological Sciences credit and fulfills a Lab Science credit.
Students may complete a Quantitative Methods tutorial through this course.

Instructor: Melissa Amoabeng

As one of the world’s major religions, Buddhism has inspired a variety of forms of literary expression over the course of four to five thousand years. Students will read widely across this literature, including selections from the earliest known collection of women’s literature (the Therigatha), sutras (sermons of the Buddha) and their commentaries, and jataka tales. In addition to classical Buddhist literature, this course will devote half its time to modern works of Buddhist fiction, including novels, poetry, and film.

This course fulfills a World Literature or Humanities Elective credit.
Students may complete an Academic Writing tutorial through this course.

Instructor: Christopher Luna

Half of understanding the world in a quantitative fashion is working with formal logic and proof. In this course, students will learn basic logical relationships between truth statements, learning to recognize contingency and logical dependence and different ways to prove a statement. These skills will be applied to formal logic proofs using symbolic logic as well as Euclidean geometric proofs.

This course fulfills a Mathematics (Conceptual) credit and, with additional work, a Mathematics (Geometry) credit.

Instructor: Mary Chrestenson-Becker

Students will do an in-depth study of English women’s literature, beginning with early authors like Aphra Behn, proceeding through the writing of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley, through Virginia Wolf, and into the contemporary period. Special attention will be paid to unearthing the vibrant and thriving tradition of women’s writings that is often given short shrift in a standard study of English literature.

This course fulfills an English Literature credit.
Students may complete an Academic Writing tutorial through this course.

Instructor: Christopher Luna

Consisting of two main parts, students who take this course will pick a major revolution or period of political change in European History to study and report on. Students may look at the French Revolution, the English Civil War, the Swabian Uprising, or any number of other possibilities. In addition to developing their own independent historical reports, the class will collectively study the Russian Revolution of 1917. This shared case study will provide students with a common ground and a shared language with which to analyze and understand revolutionary movements in general.

This course fulfills a European History credit and, with additional work, a Civics or Economics credit.
Students may complete a Library Research tutorial through this course.
If students choose to pursue an Economics credit they may also complete a Quantitative Methods tutorial.

Instructor: Christopher Luna

The courses provide students with opportunities to develop four key language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) simultaneously, with an emphasis on basic conversational skills in common, real life contexts. Through varied classroom activities and regular at-home practice, students learn basic elements of vocabulary and grammar, including simple verb tenses. Through weekly “conversation labs,” students at different levels interact with one another, with more advanced students helping novices by engaging them in conversation for a modestly “immersive” experience. Throughout the courses, students are introduced to the geography and culture(s) of the Spanish-speaking world, as well as the diversity of Spanish-language speakers right here at home. They are prepared for and encouraged to seek out opportunities to practice Spanish outside of class settings.

This course fulfills a Second Language Requirement for students who are not already fluent in Spanish.

Instructor: Kyle McQuillan

Enrichment Courses

Making Friends With Yourself (MFY) is an empirically-supported program designed to cultivate the skill of self-compassion in teens. MFY teaches core principles and practices that enable teens to respond to the challenges of these critical years with kindness and self-compassion. In this course, teens engage in developmentally appropriate activities and carefully crafted practices and meditations, which provide them with the opportunity to learn how to navigate the emotional ups and downs of life with greater ease. Backed by research, findings indicate increases in emotional well-being and greater resilience after taking the course. Following in the footsteps of the adult Mindful Self Compassion program, Making Friends with Yourself is rooted in the three key components of self-compassion: self-kindness, common humanity and mindful, balanced awareness. These elements serve to open the hearts of teens to their own suffering, so they can learn to give themselves what they truly need, recognize that they are not alone in their suffering, and encourage an open-minded acceptance of the struggle they are facing. This curriculum was adapted from the adult Mindful Self-Compassion created by Drs. Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer, and has been endorsed by the founders. For more information, see http://www.getminded.com/.

This course fulfills a Health or Elective credit.

Spring Semester

Core Courses

Indigenous Science Fiction will challenge students’ knowledge and understanding of the science fiction genre through an in-depth study of the first ever anthology of Indigenous science fiction, Walking the Clouds. We will develop a cultural basis for our studies by exploring the oral traditions of various Indigenous cultures from all over the world and analyze the evolution of spirituality throughout decades of genocide and cultural trauma. Through this lens, we will discover and discuss how the experiences and cultures of Indigenous people have shaped and given birth to the sub-genre of Indigenous science fiction.

This course fulfills a World Literature or Humanities elective credit.

Students may complete an Academic Writing tutorial through this course.

Instructor: Cheyenne Solorio

Students will be introduced to the study of chemistry via a case study in Environmental Chemistry. In addition to learning basic, over-arching concepts covered in most high school level chemistry courses (the composition of an atom, what molecules are and how they form, the periodic table, etc.), students will do focused work in environmental chemistry addressing the quality of water. Students will learn to measure pH and the presence or absence of various chemical compounds, as well as how these compounds affect what the water can be used for.

This course fulfills a Chemical Sciences credit and fulfills a Lab Science credit.
Students may complete a Quantitative Methods tutorial through this course.

Instructor: Kriddie Whitmore

Students in this course will explore the elements of art and principles of design through two- and three-dimensional work, including various drawing, painting, collage, and sculpture techniques. Students will use elements of art and principles of design to examine and pursue work connected to their current studies, for example, water chemistry and the environment, revolutions in the Americas, indigenous studies, and Spanish language and culture. 

This course fulfills a Fine Arts elective credit.

Instructor: Jason Lord

The Haitian revolution has been a touchstone for both observers of and participants in popular struggle in the Americas. Denmark Vessey, Nat Turner, and other enslaved people of African descent who planned revolts on plantations in the US south viewed it as a “best case scenario” of what could happen if slaves successfully overthrew their masters. Even after the formal abolition of chattel slavery, black people in the US looked to Haiti as an example of black self-determination. This is why, when freed blacks founded an independent community in what was to become Durham, North Carolina, they named it “Hayti.” Parallel to, and partially because of, this fascination with Haiti by popular movements, some academic historians have also taken an interest in the most successful slave revolt in modern history while others, noticeably, have not. Because of this, to study the Haitian revolution is, always, also to study how Haiti has informed both the popular imagination of revolutionary history and history as an academic discipline. What is true in the most generic sense with any historical study is especially true when studying Haiti: we are not only concerned with the facts about the past (what happened) but with how those facts have been received, curated, and interpreted – in short, how the past becomes a story or, in this case, a set of competing stories, which give us key insights to ongoing debates about race, power, and the contemporary legacies of slavery and colonialism. The goal in this class will be quite simple: for students to know and to understand the perspectives and methods of several different historians of the Haitian revolution. Specifically, this course will focus on four kinds of stories about the Haitian revolution, each native to a different theoretical and political tradition: Black Nationalism (Martin Delaney, Blake, or The Huts of America, 1859-1862), Marxism (CLR James, The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Overture and the San Domingo Revolution, 1938), Postcolonialism (Michel-Rolph Troillot, Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History, 1995), and Subaltern Studies (Susan Buck-Morss, Hegel, Haiti, and Universal History, 2009). 

This course fulfills an American History credit. Students may complete a Library Research tutorial through this course.

Students master mathematical concepts and applications at varying rates and mastery can be enhanced by opportunities for individualized instruction. At the same time, the transferability of math skills can be enhanced through active dialogue with peers and opportunities to articulate mathematical reasoning and problem-solving. Thus, Insight uses a mastery-based approach to math instruction, including substantial time for independent and small group work, complemented by weekly cross-level math circles. During independent work time, the instructor will serve as a Math Teacher/ Coach and will work one-on-one or in small clusters throughout the period to provide didactic instruction, modeling, and checks for understanding. During Math Circle time, students will come together to work on complex applied math activities. Insight’s math courses are grounded in the eight standards for mathematical practice that provide the foundation for Common Core State Standards, and all students will increase their proficiency across all of these standards throughout the semester.

This course fulfills a Mathematics credit.

Instructor: Chrissy Nesbitt

The courses provide students with opportunities to develop four key language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) simultaneously, with an emphasis on basic conversational skills in common, real life contexts. Through varied classroom activities and regular at-home practice, students learn basic elements of vocabulary and grammar, including simple verb tenses. Through weekly “conversation labs,” students at different levels interact with one another, with more advanced students helping novices by engaging them in conversation for a modestly “immersive” experience. Throughout the courses, students are introduced to the geography and culture(s) of the Spanish-speaking world, as well as the diversity of Spanish-language speakers right here at home. They are prepared for and encouraged to seek out opportunities to practice Spanish outside of class settings.

This course fulfills a Second Language Requirement for students who are not already fluent in Spanish.

Instructor: Kyle McQuillan

Students taking advanced courses are often expected to know how to organize their work, manage multi-step assignments, read for understanding, and produce written work that demonstrates analysis and synthesis of complex material and ideas. However, these skills are rarely taught to students, which can lead to high levels of frustration and stress and even withdrawal from advanced coursework altogether, despite high ability and engagement. Study skills provides students with an opportunity to observe and unpack the functional academic tasks they will be expected to perform in high school and beyond. Students in this course will do a detailed study of “school” and what it’s all about. They will observe, analyze, and practice key components of the learning process, and they will work together to figure out what it takes to be effective and get the most one can out of the time and effort they invest in school. 

This course will fulfill an elective credit.