Middle School Course Descriptions

Grade 6 Humanities: The Human Lens of Innovation

Innovators will investigate two Essential Questions: “What is innovation? What is the cultural and social impact of innovation?” We begin the year by focusing on NEIA’s school-wide topic: belonging and place as important elements in creating an accepting community. We will examine the Panama Canal as an example of innovation and its impact on the workers who constructed it. Innovators will also explore South American geography and do country research. We will then debate the Bela Monte hydroelectric plant in a simulation. NEIA innovators will learn the importance of the writing process, including pre-writing, drafting, revision, and editing. Creative writing projects include short stories and poetry. Expository writing includes paragraph responses, short research papers, and newspaper articles.

Grade 7 Humanities: The Political and Social Lens of Innovation

Innovators look through the political and social lens of innovation through the history and social movements of India and China. We will examine Ancient China and its contributions to global progression and India’s growth and development as a democracy. We will also examine how art, music, and religion have influenced social change in these two countries and beyond. Students will have the opportunity to read non-fiction sources as well as several novels, and independent reading will be an ongoing expectation. Innovators will practice a variety of note-taking methods as they delve into research topics that connect to an example of innovation in India and China. Texts include The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani and articles from primary sources located in NEIA’s library databases.

Grade 8 Humanities: Innovation in Government

The curriculum begins by engaging innovators in the concept of what drives human innovation. We will explore the beginnings of US democracy through primary sources and then focus on what happens when democracy is dismantled during the Weimar Republic, Nazi Germany, and the Holocaust. NEIA innovators will have the opportunity to practice writing across many genres and become comfortable with revising as a core skill connected to strong communication skills. Innovators will also be empowered to integrate their learning across disciplines and look at civic dilemmas through a variety of perspectives. Sources include Night by Elie Wiesel, Parallel Journeys by Eleanor Ayer, and Project 1065 by Alan Graetz. We will be using multiple readings from Facing History and Ourselves.

Upper School Course Descriptions

Grade 9 Humanities: Literacy Workshop

To engage in the Human-Centered Design process and apply effective strategies for community impact, innovators need to understand why and how humans communicate through literacy. Humanities 9 develops competent writers, readers, and communicators as the innovators consider the value of those in the human experience. As writers, innovators will understand why writing is an important life skill while following the writing process: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. They will hone their skills by responding to a variety of rhetorical situations, including integrated writing tasks in NEIA’s other subject areas. The innovators will actively read, engage with, and respond to an array of texts. The texts (which include literature, nonfiction, media, art) will be drawn from I.D.E.A.S., literary, historical, global, and social justice lenses. Texts may include Tales from the Whispering Basket by Larry Spotted Crow Mann, Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, and I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World by Malala Yousafzai. Innovators will also partake in the ‘World of Seven Billion’ video project, and they will craft “This I Believe” essays/speeches (based on the NPR model) and deliver them publicly.

Grade 10 Humanities: Global Topics

For effective use of the Human Centered Design and positive impact on others, innovators must nurture and deepen their capacity for empathy. Humanities 10 examines the impact on human lives of decisions made in global historical and current societal systems. The overarching themes will be colonialism, rebellion, activism, and personal, purposeful action. Each theme will be viewed through a spectrum of lenses through history, including examining varied mediums of expression. Perspective-taking, as well as individual and collective responsibility, will be core to the course in writing, projects, and communications. Innovators will follow the writing process and develop clarity, organization, word choice, and style. Proper MLA research citation process (in-text citations and Works Cited) will be emphasized. Writing tasks will include integration with NEIA’s other subject areas as part of emphasizing writing as a life skill. Texts may include Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, Are Prisons Are Obsolete? by Angela Davis, They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, and The Stranger by Albert Camus.

Grade 11 Humanities: American Studies

Grade 11 Humanities will take a multicultural approach to examine historical and social events that have defined the United States. Our investigation will strive to understand the diverse peoples, societies, institutions, and cultures of the United States. The Essential Question is, “What does it mean to be a citizen of the US?” The units will focus on the origins of the United States and the culture of conquest; the Constitution as a founding document; the rise of a nation through the lens of immigration during the Progressive Era; Civil Rights; and how social movements for freedom have shaped our American identity. There will be two major research projects: one that explores an innovator’s family history and another that connects to a passion in American history, architecture, design, and ingenuity. Resources for the class will include An Indigenous People’s History of the United States, primary sources, Jazz and folk music, and art.

Upper School Grade 12 Electives

Innovators will choose from a variety of elective courses. The electives serve as a bridge into college coursework, providing essential choice and voice in their Portrait of an Innovator journey. The electives allow innovators to engage with Humanities topics in refreshing, innovative, and meaningful ways. These courses build on the Innovators’ writing, reading, and analyzing skills while also introducing niche skills.

Example Grade 12 Humanities Electives:

The Netflix Writers’ Room

Innovators create and write the first season of a binge-worthy tv show. We will examine the process that any network goes through to establish and produce a tv show, with specific emphasis on ABC’s development of LOST. We will then follow a similar process. As a class, the innovators will form a “Writers’ Room,” in which all of the students collaborate on brainstorming ideas and writing episodes for a full premiere season of a show of the class’ design. Mimicking a writing staff for any television series, the innovators will form a writing “team” in which all are involved in formulating the plots and ideas for the show. Innovators will also tackle “producing” roles and tasks, such as marketing, website design, music, and fan merchandising. The major guiding text will be The TV Showrunner’s Roadmap: 21 Navigational Tips for Screenwriters to Create and Sustain a Hit TV Series by Neil Landau. We will also study actual LOST scripts and the video Inside The Writers’ Room with the Writers of LOST. To create authentic episode scripts, we will use the common industry software, Final Draft.

Rebels with a Cause

In this course, innovators will study the rebellious actions of real-life people and fictional characters to probe for an understanding of the cause, motives, and reasoning behind their actions. What is it that suppresses them? Is it government, society’s laws, or a personal grudge? Perhaps a moral or ethical stand? We will examine what they stand for and how they rationalize their rebellion. Innovators must bring an open mind to the non-fiction and fiction resources, literature, and videos while being able to defend against or argue for the protagonists, using the source for support in each case. Innovators will create and design a rebellious pamphlet, engage in debates, and write a researched essay on the historical, current, or fictional topic of their choice. Major sources may include current New York Times reports, In the Time of Butterflies by Julia Alvarez, Prisons Are Obsolete by Angela Davis, Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, The Awakening by Kate Chopin, and Macbeth by Shakespeare. Films/videos may include Locked Out! Roots of the Arab Spring, The Truman Show, Into the Wild, and Watch Time: The Kalief Browder Story.

The Art and Physics of Time Travel

Myriad art forms us time travel as an essential branch of storytelling arcs. This Humanities and Science integrated course will explore the cultural, historical, philosophical, and scientific insights into two major types of time travel: consciousness and physical. Innovators will examine essential terms of physics related to time travel, including wormholes, black holes, quantum entanglement, causal loops, paradoxes, and the theory of relativity, leading to two essential questions: Is time travel possible? and What is time? To examine art and physics, innovators will delve into fictional portrayals by classic sci-fi writers Robert Heinlein and H.G. Wells while exploring A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking and The Science of Time Travel by Elizabeth Howell. Films may include Predestination, Back to the Future, and Interstellar. TV episodes may be culled from Loki, Doctor Who, The Flash, and Lost. For one assessment in the course, innovators will design their own personal assessment, which could take any form, such as a video, music, writing, a science experiment, or a speech, and this assessment can be independent or collaborative.