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IB Courses
This intensive pre-university curriculum leads to a series of rigorous exams.  The comprehensive IB program of study meets the curriculum requirements of many national systems of education.  George School is one of a few U.S. boarding schools offering the IB program.


Stagecraft

Training in theater lighting, scenery, properties, sound, and stage management allows students to prepare for the school's four major productions throughout the year. Students are also expected to work on at least one running crew during the school year. All students undertake a theoretical design project during the second term, delving into script analysis and design theory. Students are encouraged to take this class more than once since the curriculum changes every year. Those enrolled in Stagecraft for second or subsequent years are expected to take on greater leadership roles in the class, especially as peer teachers.

This course fulfills the senior team activity requirement.

Students may prepare for an IB visual arts exam by taking Stagecraft for at least two years. To take an SL exam, only one of the two years must be in 11th or 12th grade. To take an HL exam, a student must enroll in Stagecraft in both 11th and 12th grades. Juniors and seniors preparing for an IB exam in the visual arts must participate in the IB visual arts seminar, which meets for 30 minutes weekly and includes occasional field trips on Saturday or Sunday.

Advanced Theater Arts

This course, which has a specific focus on world theater, provides an opportunity for students to hone and improve the techniques developed in the Theater Arts course. To prepare for a higher level IB exam, a student must take the Advanced Theater Arts course in both junior and senior years. To prepare for a higher level IB exam, a student must take this course in both 11th and 12th grades.

Prerequisite: Theater Arts

Dance Studies 1-6

In Dance 1, a fundamental knowledge of dance vocabulary, basic steps, and body mechanics is developed. Attention is placed on proper body alignment, movement efficiency, strength, and flexibility. Students learn to combine basic steps into movement phrases, to dance to a variety of tempos, and to work in a range of styles. The basics of dance composition are also explored, along with creative movement and performance preparation. As students progress through the dance program, there is increased emphasis on kinesthetics and the development of core strength. Movement combinations increase in length and technical difficulty as students become more familiar with adagio and petit allegro and are better able to incorporate increased use of jumps and turns. Students explore effort/shape concepts, dynamics, rhythm, gesture, and motivation in relation to dance composition and do increasingly sophisticated choreographic projects. All dance students participate in a staged performance during the course of the year, which requires rehearsal time outside of class.

This course fulfills the physical activity requirement and the senior team activity requirement. It does not fulfill the team sport requirements for underclassmen.

Students can prepare for an IB higher level exam by taking dance in both 11th and 12th grades.

Prerequisite: Dance 2-6 require previous dance experience and permission of instructor

Ceramics Concentration—Mixed Media Sculpture

The development of a conceptual understanding of the creation of abstract sculpture is central to this course in which students learn the fundamentals of creating and appreciating non-representational sculptural forms in clay and a variety of alternative materials. Among these fundamentals are techniques in clay, principles of balance and weight, elements of design, hand building techniques, and fabrication techniques. Alternative materials used include but are not limited to found objects, wood, steel, and stone.

Class discussions and group critiques are used to explore new ways of discussing, viewing, and understanding ceramic art and various sculpture media. This course provides students with the basic tools, information, and context needed for close observation and thoughtful analysis of art made in the class and in the wider world.

Students may prepare for an IB visual arts exam by taking ceramics courses for at least two years. To take an SL exam, only one of the two years must be in 11th or 12th grade. To take an HL exam, the student must enroll in ceramics courses in both 11th and 12th grades. Juniors and seniors preparing for an IB exam in the visual arts must participate in the IB visual arts seminar, which meets for 30 minutes weekly and includes occasional field trips on Saturday or Sunday. IB ceramics students are encouraged to develop individual projects and to work more independently than non-IB students.

Advanced Ceramics

Students work to expand their knowledge of clay as an art medium and to improve the skills learned in Ceramics. They complete specific assignments and plan some of their own projects. Projects are more complex and require more time. Assignments might include teapots, cups and saucers, plates, and other sets. There is a great deal of flexibility within the assignments given to students and some assignments might include a written or presentation component.

Students may take this course more than once.

Students may prepare for an IB visual arts exam by taking ceramics courses for at least two years. To take an SL exam, only one of the two years must be in 11th or 12th grade. To take an HL exam, the student must enroll in ceramics courses in both 11th and 12th grades. Juniors and seniors preparing for an IB exam in the visual arts must participate in the IB visual arts seminar, which meets for 30 minutes weekly and includes occasional field trips on Saturday or Sunday. IB ceramics students are encouraged to develop individual projects and to work more independently than non-IB students.

Prerequisite: Ceramics (must be taken at George School)

Advanced Painting and Drawing

To strengthen students' observational drawing and painting skills, this course emphasizes accuracy in rendering structures and three-dimensional forms. Some of the materials used in Painting and Drawing are explored further using more technically developed methods. In addition, students spend much of this course in media exploration and personal image development. Students are required to work in a sketchbook outside of class. Prior experience creating representational art is necessary. In particular, students must have a solid foundation in linear perspective and in rendering three-dimensional form, as well as some experience working with color. Effort and conscientious completion of all requirements are important aspects of grade determination.

This course may be taken more than once.

Students may prepare for an IB visual arts exam by taking painting and drawing courses for at least two years. To take an SL exam, only one of the two years must be in 11th or 12th grade. To take an HL exam, the student must enroll in painting and drawing courses in both 11th and 12th grades. Juniors and seniors preparing for an IB exam in the visual arts must participate in the IB visual arts seminar, which meets for 30 minutes weekly and includes occasional field trips on Saturday or Sunday.

Prerequisite: Painting and Drawing or permission of instructor

Portfolio Preparation and AP Studio Art: Portfolio

An ability to work independently on art projects is essential in this intensive class, in which each student's goal is to prepare a portfolio of painting and drawing work for college application and for an independent showing at George School. Prior experience with a wide range of art materials is expected so that the focus is on producing work of high quality for an effective portfolio of finished work. In the first term, specific assignments are given. In the second and third terms, students are responsible for developing the remainder of their portfolios by creating works that reflect their own individual voices in art. In the AP version of this course, students must complete and extensive body of work as prescribed by the AP Studio Art guidelines.

Students may prepare for an IB visual arts exam by taking painting and drawing courses for at least two years. To take an SL exam, only one of the two years must be in 11th or 12th grade. To take an HL exam, the student must enroll in painting and drawing courses in both 11th and 12th grades. Juniors and seniors preparing for an IB exam in the visual arts must participate in the IB visual arts seminar, which meets for 30 minutes weekly and includes occasional field trips on Saturday or Sunday.

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor and, in most cases, Advanced Painting and Drawing

Alternative Photographic Processes

Technical skills acquired in Photography are further refined. In addition, experimental techniques are introduced, ranging from historic and antique processes to cutting-edge digital imaging. Students experiment with studio lighting, digital imaging, nonsilver processes, and bookbinding. Participation in class critiques is required as images created by students are analyzed for aesthetic, conceptual, and theoretical concerns. Student work is entered in regional and international photography contests and exhibited throughout the year in the George School galleries. Since the curriculum changes every year, students are encouraged to take this class more than once. Since technical difficulties could arise that require students to spend free periods in the photo lab, students taking an overload are advised against taking this course.

Students may prepare for an IB visual arts exam by taking photography courses for at least two years. To take an SL exam, only one of the two years must be in 11th or 12th grade. To take an HL exam, the student must enroll in photography courses in both 11th and 12th grades. Juniors and seniors preparing for an IB exam in the visual arts must participate in the IB visual arts seminar, which meets for 30 minutes weekly and includes occasional field trips on Saturday or Sunday.

Prerequisite: Photography (must be taken at George School)

Digital Imaging

The art of digital imaging through the use of Adobe Photoshop is explored in this course. Students create images with 35mm cameras using color and black-and-white film. These images are scanned into the computer. Among other things, students learn to retouch, color balance, enlarge, and crop their images. They also learn to color black-and-white images by hand and create photomontages by participating in hands-on demonstrations and completing technical exercises. This course may only be taken once. Since technical difficulties could arise that require students to spend free periods in the photo lab, students taking an overload are advised against taking this course.

Students may prepare for an IB visual arts exam by taking photography courses for at least two years. To take an SL exam, only one of the two years must be in 11th or 12th grade. To take an HL exam, the student must enroll in photography courses in both 11th and 12th grades. Juniors and seniors preparing for an IB exam in the visual arts must participate in the IB visual arts seminar, which meets for 30 minutes weekly and includes occasional field trips on Saturday or Sunday.

Prerequisite: Photography (must be taken at George School)

Advanced Video Production

During the second and subsequent years in the video program, students strengthen and refine their video making skills and continue to develop new ones. More emphasis is placed on scripting and project planning, on targeting external audiences, on developing more sophisticated camera use and production practices, and on learning more advanced video editing techniques. Collaborative effort is also stressed.

Students may take this course more than once.

Students may prepare for an IB visual arts exam by taking video courses for at least two years. To take an SL exam, only one of the two years must be in 11th or 12th grade. To take an HL exam, the student must enroll in video production courses in both 11th and 12th grades. Juniors and seniors preparing for an IB exam in the visual arts must participate in the IB visual arts seminar, which meets for 30 minutes weekly and includes occasional field trips on Saturday or Sunday.

Advanced Woodworking and Design

Building on skills developed in Woodworking and Design, students continue to develop patience, hand skills, safe power tool use, and the ability to "see" on paper and create in wood. Each student must design and build at least one piece of furniture of high quality. Some students spend the entire year on a single project, while others complete more than one piece. Either approach is acceptable as long as the student's commitment to doing his or her best work is apparent in the final product.
 
Students may take this course more than once.

Students may prepare for an IB visual arts exam by taking woodworking courses for at least two years. To take an SL exam, only one of the two years must be in 11th or 12th grade. To take an HL exam, the student must enroll in woodworking courses in both 11th and 12th grades. Juniors and seniors preparing for an IB exam in the visual arts must participate in the IB visual arts seminar, which meets for 30 minutes weekly and includes occasional field trips on Saturday or Sunday.

Prerequisites: Woodworking and Design (must be taken at George School)

IB Chinese 4

Building on the fundamentals established in earlier courses, students in this course become increasingly adept at expressing themselves in culturally appropriate ways in a wide variety of situations. The focus is on writing paragraphs, reading more extensive and involved passages than in earlier courses, refining inter-personal communication skills and broadening the student’s knowledge of contemporary Chinese culture and the historical context from which the culture has evolved. Videos, Chinese websites and other media are employed to reinforce the students’ language abilities. Juniors and seniors may, but are not required to, sit for the IB Language B standard-level exam.

A summer assignment is required in preparation for this course.

Prerequisite:  Chinese 3 (B) or placement test

IB English HL 1—American Literature

This is the first in a fast paced two-year sequence of the higher-level IB English curriculum. The first two terms cover American Literature as described above, and the third term is devoted to several works of world literature that fulfill a portion of the IB requirements. This course includes preparation for the formal oral commentary done in the senior year. Students should only select this course if they are committed to the two-year sequence. Students need to achieve at least a B to continue with IB HL 2 in the senior year. The Culminating Paper for the year requires each student to select a novel from an approved list and write an extended comparative essay relating this work to several others studied as part of the shared curriculum. This paper is required of all juniors. It can also serve as the Extended Essay for students who are IB diploma candidates.

Prerequisite: Sophomore Literature and Composition (B+) or Foundations of Literary Analysis (B+)

IB English HL 1—Advanced American Literature

The content of this course parallels the content of American Literature: IB Focus. Additional works read are from earlier time periods and employ complex syntax and difficult vocabulary. Excellent reading comprehension and attention to detail are assumed, as is the ability to formulate complex and nuanced interpretations of the literature independently, to question and challenge the interpretations of others, and to move quickly to abstractions. The course is conducted as a seminar, requiring students to assume responsibility for facilitating discussion in addition to participating regularly. Students must prepare written reflections on each reading assignment in preparation for discussion. Essays typically range from 5 to 8 pages in length, and major projects are broad in scope, often requiring the student to synthesize ideas from several works. The Culminating Paper for the year requires each student to select a novel from an approved list and write an extended comparative essay relating this work to several others studied as part of the shared curriculum. This paper is required of all juniors. It can also serve as the Extended Essay for students who are IB diploma candidates.

Prerequisites: Advanced Sophomore Literature and Composition or the combination of Sophomore Literature and Composition (B+), teacher recommendation, and a placement test

IB English SL—World Literature

Classic and contemporary world texts are examined through literature, essays, and film in this course, as students learn to evaluate secondary sources and engage in deeper readings of the texts. Such treatment prepares them for the complexity and rigors of college analysis. Students explore thematic connections that run through classic and modern works in spite of their differing cultural traditions. Among the authors recently studied are Achebe, Atwood, Camus, Carver, Conrad, Ishiguro, Kafka, O’Connor, Olen Butler, Orwell, Shakespeare, and Sophocles. Students are expected to think independently, do close readings, and articulate their interpretations maturely and thoughtfully. Major assignments include oral presentations, critical commentaries, and essays that develop the analytical skills acquired in the junior year. Students may sit for either the IB SL or IB HL exam from this course.

Prerequisite: Any one of the three American Literature courses

IB English HL 2—World Literature

Two versions of this course are offered. The titles are "IB English HL 2: World Literature" and "IB English HL 2: World Literature – Writer’s Focus." Both courses fulfill the expectations of the IB curriculum and prepare students for both the IB and AP exams. In both versions of the course, students are expected to formulate complex and nuanced interpretations of literature independently and to question and challenge the interpretations of others. Excellent reading comprehension and attention to detail are assumed, as is the ability to move quickly to abstractions. Among the authors recently studied are Achebe, Austen, Chaucer, Conrad, Dostoyevsky, Greene, Kafka, the Romantic poets, Shakespeare, Sophocles, and Voltaire.

The Writer’s Focus version of the course considers literature with a view towards developing a more fully articulated understanding of the art and the craft of writing poetry, drama, and prose fiction. In addition to literary discussion, Writer's Focus classes features workshop-style critiquing sessions. Participants in the Writer's Focus class should be committed creative writers who are comfortable having their work read aloud and critiqued by peers.

Prerequisite: IB HL 1: Advanced American Literature, or IB HL 1: American Literature (B), or American Literature (B+) along with teacher recommendation and a placement test

IB French 4

This IB course is designed for students whose interest is primarily in the contemporary French-speaking world. The class is conducted entirely in French and all students are fully expected to actively participate in class activities. Speaking and writing activities are based on cultural themes and contemporary issues are explored through movies, periodicals, songs of social, historical and artistic content, visual art, poems and short stories. Students may also work with literary texts. Review and continued refinement of grammatical structures are aimed at helping students develop their self-expression. Assignments are both written and oral. Juniors and seniors may, but are not required to, sit for the IB Language B standard-level exam at the end of this course.

This course has a summer assignment.

Prerequisite: Intensive French 3 (C+) or French 3 (B) or placement test

IB/AP French 5

Students enter this class experienced in reading, writing, speaking, and understanding French. This class is conducted entirely in French and active oral participation is key. Each year, the literary, grammatical, and cultural foci of this class may vary. Students read, interpret and discuss formal and informal prose and literature, listen to authentic audio and video recordings, develop speaking skills in a variety of settings, and write both formal essays and informal communications. It is expected that students in this course will take the AP French Language exam or the Higher Level IB French exam in May.

This course has a summer assignment.

Prerequisite: IB French 4: Media or Literature (B) or placement test

French Seminar

This course is for students who have native or near-native command of the French language and want to continue their study beyond IB/AP French 5. Content is tailored to the needs and interests of the students taking the course in a particular year and can include preparation for the IB HL French B exam.

This course has a summer assignment.

Prerequisite: IB/AP French 5 (B) or placement test

IB Economics SL

This course prepares students for the standard level IB Economics exam and sitting for the exam is a requirement of the course. The major economic areas covered are microeconomics, macroeconomics, international economics, and developmental economics. In addition, the course considers current world economic issues with particular emphasis on the United States. Students are expected to write four papers of no more than 750 words in length each. Three of the four papers will be part of the student's IB Economics portfolio, which will be made available to international IB examiners.

Open to: Juniors and seniors in the IB diploma program

Prerequisite: U.S. History (A-), Foundations in U.S. History (A-), Accelerated U.S. History (B), or AP U.S. History (B). In addition students must have earned at least an A- in Algebra 2 or at least a B- in Algebra 2 with Trigonometry or a more advanced math course.

War, Revolution, and Peacemaking in the Modern World—IB History SL

This course prepares students for the standard-level IB History exam. Students study selected topics that embrace key events, personalities, and issues in the history of the modern world including the First World War, the Versailles Peacemaking Process, the Single Party State of Adolf Hitler and Mao Zedong, the Second World War, and the Cold War. The course has as its prescribed subject (an IB requirement) "Communism in Crisis, 1976-1989." The course proceeds at a fast pace and regular student participation is expected. The coursework emphasizes historical writing in preparation for the IB exam.

A summer assignment is required in preparation for this course.

Prerequisite: Permission of the department and a course in U.S. History covering at least the colonial period through the Civil War and Reconstruction

IB World History HL—Americas Focus

This course, in combination with an eleventh grade course in U.S. History, prepares students for the higher-level IB History exam with the History of the Americas regional option. Students study selected topics that embrace key events, personalities, and issues of the world in the twentieth-century, with an emphasis on key elements of Latin American history. Topics typically included are the World Wars, the Mexican Revolution, the Russian Revolutions, the rise of Nazism, the Cold War, the Chinese Revolution, and the Cuban Revolution. A major historical investigation project involving intensive research and mature writing is an IB requirement undertaken in Term 2. The course proceeds at a fast pace and regular student participation is expected in the seminar-style classroom format. Substantial reading is regularly assigned from college-level texts.

A summer assignment is required in preparation for this course.

Prerequisite: Accelerated U.S. History or AP U.S. History and permission of the department

IB/AP Latin 4

Students in IB/AP Latin 4 may pursue either the Latin Literature Advanced Placement or IB Standard Level curriculum with the expectation that they will take one of those tests. The IB standard-level readings include selections from Ovid's Metamorphoses, Vergil's Aeneid, Book 4, and selected poems of Catullus and Horace. Each IB student chooses and completes an individual study, a research dossier, recitation, or Latin composition.

This course requires summer work.

Prerequisite: Latin 3 (B) or Intensive Latin 3 (C+) or placement test

IB/AP Latin 5

This course allows students to prepare for the Latin Literature AP exam or for the higher-level IB Latin exam. Higher-level IB students read extensively from Ovid’s Metamorphoses; Vergil's Aeneid, Book 4, and the poetry of Catullus and Horace. Higher-level IB students read much more extensively than standard-level students do. Each IB student chooses and completes an individual study, a research dossier, recitation, or Latin composition.

This course requires summer work.

Prerequisite: IB/AP Latin 4 (B) or placement test

IB Math Studies SL

The topics covered in this survey course are those of the IB Math Studies syllabus, including descriptive and introductory inferential statistics; geometry and trigonometry; unit conversion; mathematical models (linear, quadratic, exponential, and rational); introductory differential calculus; sets, probability, and logic. The approach taken emphasizes the development of mathematical reasoning skills and the understanding of fundamental concepts. Most topics are explored in a real-world context. Students design and complete an independent data-based research project which also serves as the internal assessment portion of their IB grade. Solid algebraic skills and the capacity for independent work are important to a student's success. All students in this course are expected to take the IB Math Studies exam.

Prerequisite: Either of the following options:
1. Geometry with Proofs (C+) or Geometry (A-) together with
a. Algebra 2 - 9th grade (C)
b. Algebra 2 (A-)
c. Algebra 2 with Trigonometry (C+)
2. Functions, Trigonometry, and Statistics (B+)

IB Math SL 1—Precalculus

This course is the first in a two-year sequence that prepares students for the calculus-based IB Mathematics SL exam. The concept of a function is the central theme of this course. Concepts covered include domain and range, composition, translation, transformation, and inverse functions. A primary goal is to help students learn to shift fluently between algebraic and graphical representations of functions. Polynomial, exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions are studied in depth and the concept of a limit is introduced. Additional topics include sequences and series, vectors, and matrices.

A strong working knowledge of linear and quadratic functions is assumed. In addition, students are expected to have good algebraic skills, good graphing skills, and familiarity with right triangle trigonometry. While many daily homework problems are similar to problems worked in class, others require students to apply what they know to new types of problems. The capacity for independent work is important to a student's success. Students begin to develop an IB mathematics portfolio during this class. The portfolio is completed in the second course of the sequence, IB Math SL 2: Calculus.

Prerequisite:  Any of the following four options:
1. Geometry with Proofs (B) or Abstract Geometry with either
a. Algebra 2 - 9th grade (C+)
b. Algebra 3
2. Algebra 2 with Trigonometry (B) 
3. Functions, Trigonometry, and Statistics (A)
4. IB Math Studies (B)

IB Math HL 1—Precalculus

Students in this course spend the first two terms studying traditional precalculus topics, including trigonometry from a functional point of view, theories of polynomial equations, logarithmic and exponential functions, inverse functions, complex numbers including applications of DeMoivre's theorem, polar coordinates, vectors in three dimensions, probability, and basic linear algebra. Students explore introductory differential calculus in the third term. Students begin to develop an IB mathematics project during this class. The project is completed in IB Math HL 2: Calculus. The pace is very fast. Because the class frequently takes the form of a Socratic dialogue with questions asked and solutions offered by both teacher and students, it is imperative that students develop the courage to write down and share their ideas.

Prerequisites: One of the following three options:
1. Algebra 3 (C) and Abstract Geometry (C)
2. Algebra 2 - 9th grade (A) and Abstract Geometry (C)
3. Algebra 3 (C) and Geometry with Proofs (A)

IB Math SL 2—Calculus

The fundamentals of differential and integral calculus are covered in this course. Topics include limits; continuity; understanding derivatives as functions, slopes, and rates of change; derivatives of polynomial, rational, trigonometric, exponential, and logarithmic functions; analysis of graphs; optimization; related rates; rectilinear motion; anti-differentiation; the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus; integration by substitution; and applications of integration to area, volume, rectilinear motion, and accumulation problems. Topics in statistics introduced in SL1 are reviewed and extended. These include discrete random variables and normal distributions. Students complete an IB mathematics portfolio in this class. Each day in class the homework is reviewed and questions are answered. New concepts are presented with examples, in preparation for the next night's homework. Student input and questions drive class discussion. Strong algebraic and graphing skills are assumed. While students are not required to take the IB exam, they are welcome to do so.

Prerequisite: One of the following two options:
1. IB Math SL - Precalculus (B)
2. IB Math HL - Precalculus

IB Math HL 2—Calculus

This course covers all calculus topics included in the IB Mathematics HL core syllabus plus the topics from the HL Calculus option. Throughout the course, problems are considered from graphical, numerical, and analytical perspectives with an aim toward developing students' ability to shift easily from one perspective to another. There is an emphasis on learning to understand, use, and appreciate the value of the precise technical language (definitions, theorems, etc.) of mathematics. Students learn to discern situations in which technology can be a helpful tool in the solution of a problem. Graphing calculators are used extensively. Students are required to complete an IB portfolio. The pace is intense. Students are expected to work as mathematicians do in that they are asked frequently to try problems without having been explicitly taught how to find the solutions. Excellent algebraic, graphing, and organizational skills are assumed, as is a very good understanding of trigonometric functions and a working knowledge of the statistics covered in IB Math HL 1. All students are required to take either the IB Math HL exam or the IB Math SL exam. (Students are also able to take the AP Calculus (AB) exam if they so choose as the course covers substantially more calculus than the AP Calculus (AB) course.)

Students are required to complete a summer assignment in preparation for class.

Prerequisite: IB HL 1 - Precalculus (A)

IB Theory of Knowledge

This yearlong course is required of all IB diploma candidates. Others may take either the full course or the first term of it as a religion elective.

This is a synthesis course that examines some of the ways in which we acquire knowledge and understand the world around us. Students explore perception, reason, and language as basic means through which we understand our experience. The course also examines different areas of knowledge, such as mathematics, science, history, morality, politics, aesthetics, and religion.

The course structure frequently employs the Socratic method to challenge students to analyze philosophical issues and to reflect on their own intellectual experiences. Students read a rich variety of texts and essays that raise religious, moral, aesthetic, and ethical questions and write reflective journal entries often in response to the reading. Each student in the course must prepare an oral presentation and submit a 1,200- to 1,600-word essay on one of ten theory of knowledge questions prescribed by the International Baccalaureate Organization.

Prerequisite: Final grades of B+ in at least two courses in English, history, language, math, or science in the year preceding that in which IB ToK is to be taken or enrollment in the full IB diploma program.

IB Biology SL

This course prepares students for the Standard Level IB Biology exam. Lecture-format classes are combined with frequent experiments to investigate all major topics in the IB SL curriculum: cells, genetics, chemistry, human physiology, evolution, and ecology. An in-class dissection of a mammal provides hands-on experience with anatomy. Information is covered in detail and at a moderately fast pace. Nightly homework typically includes reading a chapter in a college-level text, writing a lab report, or preparing a presentation. Two hour evening labs every three weeks are required in order to fulfill IB lab expectations. This course includes two lengthy independent projects. Tests are relatively infrequent and can cover as many as five chapters from the text.

All students in this class are required to take the IB exam and to attend a weekend-long IB science retreat, during which they complete an IB project. Readings are assigned over most vacations and students are required to complete a summer assignment in preparation for the class.

Prerequisite: Enrollment in the IB diploma program and either Chemistry (B-) or Chemistry in the Community (A)

IB HL/AP Biology

This course prepares students for the higher level IB Biology exam or the AP Biology exam. Lecture-format classes are combined with frequent experiments to investigate all major topics in the IB and AP curricula. Evolution, energy transfer, genetic continuity, interdependence, system equilibrium, and structure and function are the underlying themes. An in-class dissection of a mammal provides hands-on experience with anatomy. Information is covered in detail and at a fast pace. Nightly homework typically includes reading a chapter in a college-level text, writing a lab report, or writing an essay. The course includes a lengthy independent lab project. Tests are relatively infrequent and can cover as many as five chapters from the text. 

Students are required to take either the IB exam or the AP exam. Students taking the IB exam must attend a weekend-long IB science retreat, during which they complete an IB project. Students are required to complete a summer assignment in preparation for the class.

Prerequisite: Chemistry (B-) and one of the following: Biology (B), IB Biology SL (C)

Note that Chemistry in the Community and Essential Principles of Biology may NOT be substituted for the Chemistry and Biology prerequisites.

IB Chemistry SL

This course prepares students for the standard level IB chemistry exam and for the SAT subject test in chemistry. The development of a student's ability to frame and investigate scientific questions is emphasized. Through their laboratory investigations, students gain experience in the formulation of hypotheses, in experimental design, and in collecting, analyzing, and evaluating experimental data. Topics such as stoichiometry, atomic theory, periodic trends, chemical bonding, kinetics, and chemical equilibrium are reviewed. Acid-base chemistry and the reactivity of organic compounds are studied in depth, as are at least two of the following topics: modern analytical chemistry, further organic chemistry, food chemistry, and environmental chemistry.

Students attend a two-hour evening lab session approximately once every three weeks in order to fulfill IB lab expectations. Students are required to take the IB Chemistry SL exam and to attend a weekend-long IB science retreat, during which they complete a self-designed IB project. Students are also required to complete assignments and/or readings over most vacations, including the summer vacation.

Prerequisite:  Chemistry (B+) and enrollment in the IB diploma program.

Satisfactory performance on a placement test is required for those students whose prerequisite chemistry class was taken somewhere other than George School.

Note that because of content overlap, students may not take both IB Chemistry and AP Chemistry.

IB Physics SL

This course prepares students for the IB SL exam, as well as algebra-based physics at the college level. Substantial time is spent in the laboratory. Many of the topics covered in this course are the same as those in Physics, but are treated in more depth and with more mathematical rigor. Additional topics include energy, power, and climate change; electricity and magnetism; waves and oscillations; and atomic and nuclear physics. Students in this course will participate in the Group IV Project, which is a multi-week, interdisciplinary scientific research project. Students must have mastered multi-variable algebra, trigonometry, logarithms, exponents, and operations using a graphing calculator. Additionally, students should be familiar with vectors and mathematical modeling of data. Weekly or biweekly lab experiments are performed during class and the results are analyzed in lab reports. Students should be unafraid to use computer technology in the acquisition, analysis, and reporting of data. Students are assigned approximately 5 to 7 hours of homework per week, which might include reading a chapter from a college-level text, solving several multi-step problems, writing lab reports, and conducting independent research. All students enrolled in the course are required to take the IB exam.

Corequisite: A precalculus course
Prerequisite: Physics (B–)

IB Environmental Systems and Societies SL

This lab-driven, transdisciplinary course fulfills both the Group 3 and Group 4 requirements for the IB Diploma Program and it prepares students for the IB environmental science exam in May. Students use systems thinking to explore ecosystems, energy and nutrient transformations, population dynamics, biodiversity, and the issues of global warming and pollution management. Students also investigate a range of environmental value systems with reference to specific environmentally-related decisions made locally and globally. Students should expect to work knee-deep in water or trudge through thick meadows, rain or shine, because field work is central to understanding the environment.

All students in this class are expected to take the IB exam and to attend a weekend-long IB science retreat, during which they complete an IB project. Students are expected to own their own closed-toed shoes appropriate for wading into a stream. Rain boots are preferred.

A summer assignment is required in preparation for the course.

This course fulfills the life science requirement.

Prerequisite: Biology (B-) or IB Biology SL (C)

IB Spanish 4

This course focuses on strengthening students' communicative skills in all four language areas—listening, speaking, reading and writing—as well as developing greater cultural awareness. A variety of media, including films, documentaries, web-based resources, songs, articles and literary selections, are used to build vocabulary, enhance listening skills, stimulate discussion, improve grammar, achieve greater linguistic proficiency, and make connections with a variety of Hispanic cultures. This class is conducted entirely in Spanish and all students are expected to actively participate in class activities. Juniors and seniors may, but are not required, to sit for the IB Language B Standard Level exam at the end of the course.

This course has a summer assignment.

Prerequisite: Intensive Spanish 3 (C+ ) or Spanish 3 (B) or placement test

IB/AP Spanish 5

Students enter this class experienced in reading, writing, speaking, and understanding Spanish. This class is conducted entirely in Spanish and active oral participation is key. Each year, the literary, grammatical, and cultural foci of this class may vary. Students read, interpret and discuss formal and informal prose and literature, listen to authentic audio and video recordings, develop speaking skills in a variety of settings, and write both formal essays and informal communications. It is expected that students in this course will take the AP Spanish Language exam or the Higher Level IB Spanish exam in May.

This course has a summer assignment.

Prerequisite: IB Spanish 4 – Media or Literature (B ) or placement test

Spanish Seminar

This course is for students who have native or near-native command of the Spanish language and want to continue their study beyond IB/AP Spanish 5. Content is tailored to the needs and interests of the students taking the course in a particular year and can include preparation for the IB HL Spanish B exam or the AP Spanish Language exam.

This course has a summer assignment.

Prerequisite: IB/AP Spanish 5 (B) or placement test