AP Courses

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Advanced Painting and Drawing I-III

The focus of this course is directed towards creating a unique body of work in painting and drawing. In class, students will work on strengthening their painting and drawing skills while developing a unique and personal vision. Students will be encouraged to explore and develop their personal interests and ideas. Throughout the course, students will be introduced to a variety of sources and materials to explore different media, methods, processes and possibilities to create art. The instructor will give brief slide lectures and conduct demonstrations as needed. In addition, the instructor will give individual guidance through one-on-one discussion with each student as projects are developed. Students are required to maintain a sketchbook and work outside of class. This course may be taken as AP or IB Visual Arts. Please see the AP or IB Visual Arts description.

Open to: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Prerequisite: Painting and Drawing or permission from instructor after a portfolio review

Senior Studio in Painting and Drawing

The focus of this course is to develop and complete a comprehensive body of work consisting of paintings and drawings that addresses a centralized theme with a written artist statement. Throughout the course, students will advance and evolve their aesthetic, concept, personal ideas and technical skills. Students are responsible for developing their portfolios by creating works that reflect their own individual voices. The instructor will give brief lectures and conduct demonstrations as needed. In addition, the instructor will give individual guidance through one-on-one discussion with each student as projects are developed. The development of the student’s body of work will culminate in an independent exhibition at George School. An ability to work independently on art projects is essential in this intensive class. Students are required to maintain a sketchbook and to work outside of class. Prior experience with a wide range of art materials is expected to showcase an effective and high quality portfolio. This course may be taken as AP or IB Visual Arts. Please see the AP or IB Visual Arts description.

Prerequisite: Open to seniors who have taken Advanced Painting and Drawing or with permission from instructor after a portfolio review

Advanced Photography I-III

Technical skills acquired in Photography are further refined. In addition, experimental techniques are introduced, ranging from historic and antique processes to digital imaging. Students experiment with studio lighting, digital imaging, non-silver processes, hand-coloring, toning, and mixed-media. Participation in class critiques is required as images created by students are analyzed for aesthetic, conceptual, and theoretical concerns. The latter part of the course is focused on portfolio development as students work to develop their individual voice through the photographic medium. 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. Materials for this course may be purchased in the school bookstore. 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. This course may be taken as an Advanced Placement course in the senior year or with special permission from the instructor. Students may take this course in their junior and senior years as an IB Visual Art. Please see the IB Visual Arts and AP Studio Art descriptions for more information.

Open to: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Prerequisite: Photography (must be taken at George School)

Digital Imaging and Design

The art of digital imaging through the use of Adobe Photoshop is explored in this course. Students create images with 35mm Digital SLR cameras. Students focus on a theme, design, and publish a hard-cover book in the fall term based on their summer project. Students learn to edit and manipulate their images in Adobe Photoshop by participating in hands-on demonstrations and completing technical exercises. Participation in class critiques is required as images created by students are analyzed for aesthetic, conceptual, and theoretical concerns. The latter part of the course is focused on portfolio development as students work to develop their individual voice through the photographic medium. This course may only be taken once. Paper and ink are provided for a fee of $75 per term. Student work is entered in regional and international photography contests and exhibited throughout the year in the George School galleries. This course may be taken as an Advanced Placement course in the senior year or with special permission from the instructor. Students may take this course in their junior or senior years as an IB Visual Art. Please see the IB Visual Arts and AP Studio Art descriptions for more information.

Open to: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Prerequisite: Photography (must be taken at George School)

AP Studio Art

Juniors and seniors may take AP Studio Art as part of Digital Imaging and Design, Advanced Photography, Advanced Painting and Drawing II, III, or Senior Studio in Painting and Drawing courses. An ability to work independently on art projects is essential in this intensive class.

The AP Studio Art Exam consists of a comprehensive portfolio that addresses three components: Quality, Concentration, and Breadth. In the Quality section, five actual works that demonstrate the highest quality of work will be submitted by mail to the college board. In the Concentration section, students will submit twelve digital images of their body of work with a centralized theme. In the Breadth section, students will submit twelve digital images of their works demonstrating an understanding of a variety of visual art issues. Five works for the Quality section may be chosen from Concentration or Breadth. Due to the rigorous requirements, students will be required to have a strong portfolio before enrolling in this course. Students are required to maintain a sketchbook, create summer work and work outside of class.

Open to: Juniors and seniors

Prerequisite: Portfolio review and permission of instructor.

AP Biology

This college-level course prepares students for the AP Biology exam. Lecture-format classes are combined with frequent experiments to investigate all major topics in the AP Biology curriculum, which center around four Big Ideas loosely defined as evolution, metabolism, information processing, and biological complexity. Topics are covered in detail and at a fast pace. Nightly homework typically includes reading a chapter in a college-level textbook, writing a lab report, or writing an essay. Occasional evening and/or weekend labs are required in order to fulfill AP lab expectations. Most labs are inquiry-based, requiring students to develop their scientific skills and work more independently

Students are required to take the AP exam. Students are also required to complete a summer assignment in preparation for the class.

Open to: Juniors and seniors

Prerequisite: Intensive Biology (A-) together with either Intensive Chemistry (B+) or Chemistry (A). Satisfactory performance on a placement test is required for those students whose prerequisite biology class was taken somewhere other than George School.

AP Chemistry

This course prepares students for the AP chemistry exam and for the SAT subject test in chemistry. Students are assumed to have a baseline understanding of stoichiometry, chemical bonding and intermolecular forces, atomic theory, thermodynamics, gas laws, periodicity, and types of chemical reactions at the beginning of the course. These topics are reviewed briefly, and the following topics are studied in greater depth: acid-base chemistry, spectroscopy techniques, relationships between macroscopic and microscopic properties, kinetics, equilibrium, oxidation-reduction reactions, electrochemistry, and standard lab procedures. This is a fast-paced course with a significant laboratory component,and students are expected to design some of their own lab procedures and participate actively during all class sessions. Frequent written assignments are required, both on a weekly basis and over most vacation periods.

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

Open to: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Prerequisite: Intensive Chemistry (B+), or Chemistry 9th grade (A and departmental approval), or Chemistry 10th or 11th grade: (A- and departmental approval). Satisfactory performance on a placement test is required for those students whose prerequisite chemistry class was taken somewhere other than George School.

IB Chinese Seminar

This class is conducted entirely in Chinese and active oral participation is key. Students use authentic Chinese-language materials such as articles, short stories, videos, websites, and feature-length films to explore a variety of topics relevant to life in China today. The specific topics vary from year to year so that students can take the class more than once without repeating material, but examples include education, environmental issues, changing demographics, government and politics, international relations, pop culture, online culture, and film. Typically four to six topics are covered in a year. Students are expected to debate, lead discussions, make oral presentations, write frequent short essays, do extensive research on a topic of their own choosing in contemporary Chinese life, and communicate the results of their research in both a longer paper and a multimedia-presentation.

While students enrolled in this course are not required to take an external exam, those in their first year of the course typically prepare for the IB SL Chinese B exam, while those in their second year typically prepare for the IB HL Chinese B exam or the AP Chinese Language and Culture exam.

A summer assignment is required in preparation for this course.

Open to: Juniors and seniors

Prerequisite: IB Chinese 5 (B) or placement test

AP English Language and Composition

AP Language and Composition has the same philosophy, approach, and content to Literature and Composition II. However, this is a fast-paced course which requires independent study and pays special attention to preparing students to take the AP English Language and Composition exam. All students are required to take the AP exam in May.

The content of this course is organized around the theme of conversations in literature with a focus on American Literature. It celebrates, explores, and analyzes the power of language and literature to communicate meaning and experience. Texts are examined from the premise that there is not one ultimate version of reality or truth but rather that literature provides an imaginative, artistic and technical entrée into the lives and minds of people from all walks of life. Students examine the ideas, experiences and points of view presented in various texts in relation to each other. Learning to connect the experiences and ideas raised in the literature to the real world is a central part of the course. Through daily discussion and debate, students develop their ability to inquire, question, synthesize, and argue. Explicit study of rhetorical and literary craft prompts students to grow in their appreciation for how language and form influence meaning. Students grow in independent thinking through creative and critical writing with a particular emphasis on argumentative writing and passage analysis. Throughout the year, students work towards an understanding of how language is used to persuade and influence while developing their own facility with language to do the same.

Open to: Sophomores

Prerequisite: A- or better in the third term of Literature and Composition I and permission of department

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.

Open to: Juniors and seniors

Prerequisite: IB French 4 (B) or placement test

AP Human Geography

This course prepares students for the AP examination in Human Geography through the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use, and alteration of Earth’s surface. Students employ spatial concepts and landscape analysis to examine human social organization and its environmental consequences. They also learn about the methods and tools geographers use in their science and practice, including the analysis of spatial data, the identification of regions, and the characterization and interpretation of interconnections among places. The topics covered are: the nature and perspectives of geography as a discipline; population; cultural patterns and processes; political organization of space; agricultural and rural land use; and cities and urban land use.

Open to: Freshmen

AP World History

Students in this fast-paced course must learn to view history thematically. The AP World History course is organized around five overarching themes that serve as unifying threads throughout the course, helping students to relate what is particular about each time period or society to a “big picture” of history. The themes also provide a way to organize comparisons and analyze change and continuity over time. Independent use of a college level textbook is necessary, along with reading primary source materials and writing about them. Students are required to take the AP examination in May. A summer assignment is required in preparation for this course.

Open to: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Prerequisites:
Sophomores: B+ in AP Human Geography
Juniors and seniors: a US History course

AP US History

This course prepares students for the AP examination in U.S. History. It is a college-level introduction to the development of the United States institutions and society from the settlements of the First Nations peoples to the end of the Twentieth Century. Students explore the concept of historical study as a discipline and study historiography—the different histories that have been written about events—as well as the events themselves. Independent use of a college level textbook is necessary, along with reading primary source materials and writing about them. The reading load is heavy and there are frequent writing assignments. Students are required to take the AP Examination in May.

There is a summer reading and writing assignment, homework during each school vacation, and additional class meetings on weekends and in the evenings.

Taken as a junior, this course may serve as the first year in the two-year IB HL History sequence.

Open to: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors

AP Economics

Students in this course prepare for the AP Microeconomics and Macroeconomics exams while at the same time discuss contemporary economic issues. Students are required to take both AP exams. Specific economic concepts covered include the nature and functions of product markets, supply and demand, theory of consumer choice, production and costs, firm behavior and market structure, factor markets, market failure and the role of government, measurement of economic performance, national income and price determination, the financial sector, stabilization policies, economic growth, and international trade and finance. This course has a summer assignment.

Open to: Juniors and seniors

Prerequisites: Any U.S. History course AND any Algebra 2 course (completed or taken concurrently).

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.

Open to: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors

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.

Open to: Juniors and seniors

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

AP Calculus–AB

This course covers all topics included in the College Board syllabus for AP Calculus AB. It is designed to be the equivalent of a college-level Calculus 1 course. 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. An awareness of the historical context of the development of calculus and an appreciation of its importance as a human achievement are cultivated. Students learn to discern situations in which technology can be a helpful tool in the solution of a problem. Graphing calculators are used extensively. The pace is fast. 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. Students are required to take the AP exam. (IB diploma candidates taking this course in 11th grade must follow it with IB HL Mathematics, while IB diploma candidates taking this course in 12th grade must have previously taken IB SL Calculus.)

Open to: Juniors and seniors

Prerequisites: Advanced Precalculus with Discrete Math (C), or Intensive Precalculus (A)

AP Calculus–BC

This course covers all topics included in the College Board syllabus for AP Calculus BC. It is designed to be the equivalent of college-level Calculus 1 and 2 courses. Because of this, the course moves extremely quickly, and the Calculus 1 material is covered at a particularly fast pace. 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. An awareness of the historical context of the development of calculus and an appreciation of its importance as a human achievement are cultivated. 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 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. Students are required to take the AP exam. (IB diploma candidates taking this course in 11th grade must follow it with IB HL Mathematics and/or IB HL Further Mathematics, while IB diploma candidates taking this course in 12th grade must have previously taken IB SL Calculus.)

Open to: Juniors and seniors

Prerequisites: One of the following options:
1. Advanced Precalculus with Discrete Math (A-) or permission of the department
2. IB SL Calculus (A-)
3. AP Calculus AB (B-)

AP Statistics

This course follows the College Board syllabus, which includes all of the topics covered in Statistics plus concepts of variation, especially as related to statistical inference, sampling distributions, estimation and confidence intervals, and hypothesis testing at least through two-sample t-tests. Students learn how to perform analyses using paper and pencil, a statistical calculator, and the computer, with an emphasis on the interpretation of results. Class activities consist of lecture, problem solving, and group discussion, with a heavy emphasis on analytical discussion. The pace is rapid and the topics are complex. Students are expected to be inquisitive about data, analyses, and interpretation and to contribute their thoughts actively to class discussions. Readings and homework are assigned daily. Students are expected to spend at least an hour on homework for each class meeting; many students find that it takes more than an hour to do a thorough job. Students are expected to take the AP exam. Students complete an independent research project at the end of the year. Students are required to complete a summer assignment in preparation for class.

Open to: Juniors and seniors

Prerequisites:
1. IB SL Math Studies (B) or Intensive Precalculus (B) or Advanced Precalculus with Discrete Math (C-)
2. Two grades of B or higher in life science or mainstream history courses

AP Physics C: Mechanics and Electricity and Magnetism

This demanding and fast-paced course follows the syllabus of the AP Physics C-Mechanics and the AP Physics C-Electricity & Magnetism exams, preparing students for a two-semester course of calculus-based physics at the university level. Topics include, but are not limited to kinematics; Newton’s laws of motion; work, energy, and power; systems of particles and linear momentum; circular motion and rotation; oscillations and gravitation; electrostatics; conductors, capacitors, and dielectrics; electric circuits; magnetic fields; and electromagnetism. The course helps students develop a deep understanding of the laws of physics through the application of rigorous mathematical techniques and detailed analytical approach to experimental data. Throughout the year, students will learn how to solve complex physics problems using the differential and integral calculus. Students must be able to recognize mathematical patterns quickly and to apply their understanding of specific experiments to more general phenomena. Substantial time is spent in the laboratory. Students must have mastered multi-variable algebra, trigonometry, vectors, logarithms, exponents, and mathematical modeling of data with and without a graphing calculator. 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 five to seven 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.

During the summer months, students are required to perform summer work, which might entail reading a book of scientific interest, studying tutorials on spreadsheet and/or calculator programming, and/or solving problems in the text. This course fulfills the physical science requirement.

Open to: Juniors and seniors

Prerequisite: Intensive Physics (A-) and either IB SL Calculus (A-) or an AP Calculus course. (AP Calculus course may be taken concurrently.)

AP Computer Science A

AP Computer Science A is an introductory course in computer science for those who already have some basic programming experience. The course emphasizes object-oriented programming methodology with a concentration on problem solving and algorithm development, and is the equivalent of a first semester college-level course in computer science.

The central activity of the course is the design and implementation of computer programs to solve problems; the goal of the course is to develop and hone skills that are fundamental to the study of computer science. Creating computer programs is used as a context for introducing other important aspects of computer science, including the development and analysis of algorithms, the development and use of classes and fundamental data structures, the study of standard algorithms and typical applications, and the use of logic and formal methods. The responsible use of these systems is an integral part of the course.

The computer language studied is Java, as required by the AP curriculum. The prerequisites for entering this course include knowledge of algebra, a foundation of mathematical reasoning, and experience in problem solving. In addition, because documentation plays a central role in the programming methodology, competence in written communication is a requirement. It is expected that all students in the course will sit for the AP Computer Science A exam, which is administered in the spring term.

Open to: Juniors and seniors

Prerequisite: Intensive Computer Programming and Robotics (A) 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.

Open to: Juniors and seniors

Prerequisite: IB Spanish 4 (B) or placement test