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Workshops

Our workshops of 3-7 students are passion incubators. Students from across the world interested in the same topics challenge each other in an interactive learning experience led by the most engaging college students. They hear from guest speakers like Harvard Law Professor Randall Kennedy, CNN Anchor Bianna Golodryga, and feminist icon Liz Plank.

 

Read about our past workshops and get excited by all the possible areas you can explore. If you want to design your own workshop or revive one of our past ones, let us know! We can't wait to learn with you! 

Elementary School Classes

STEM

The Aviator’s Club: Reading, Watching, and Soaring

In this class we will explore all aspects of flight, from science to history to abstract ideas of freedom and beauty. We will study why and explore how aviation has not only changed the world, leading to a global economy and making it possible for humans to fly faster than the speed of sound, but also inspired humans to push harder, think smarter, and explore the boundaries of our mind and the universe. We will learn about the power of flight by reading Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach and watching movies ranging from Top Gun to The Martian to Apollo 11. In The Aviator’s Club, we will fly to the boundaries of the universe, to understand how aviation can empower mankind to achieve the impossible.

The Number Devil

Have you ever had a nightmare? In Hans Enzenberger’s story “The Number Devil,” 12-year-old Robert can’t seem to get away from his scary dreams. A Number Devil (you got that right) comes to visit him in his dreams and teaches him about all things math. This isn’t your normal math class--I bet you your teachers at school have never heard of prima donna numbers or hopping. In this class, we’ll follow Robert’s journey as he learns that math isn’t quite as scary or boring as he thought. We will use the book The Number Devil as a guide, following discussions of the book with explanations of the mathematical concepts they contain (as well as where these concepts came from). Students will learn how to do math problems, but more importantly they’ll learn how to make any math problem fun. 

Creative Arts

Nature Art!

Are you a budding young artist? Do you find inspiration and creativity in the great outdoors? Are you looking to improve your skills in painting and drawing landscapes, trees, leaves and flowers? If you answered yes to any of these questions, come join our Nature Art class! In this course, students will meet twice a week for six weeks in their own outdoor settings to learn from Mother Nature as we develop our respective artistic processes together! We will begin with the basics: sketching a landscape, recognizing the artistic patterns found in nature (the petals on a flower, the branches or roots of a tree, etc.), exploring color and pigment, and communicating depth and distance in our art. Then, we will begin to incorporate nature itself into our art, instead of just using it as a subject. What does this mean? Create a painting using pigments from flowers and berries, build a sculpture or installation using the rocks and twigs in your backyard, or design a textile using the bark from your favorite tree. In this class, the sky is literally the limit!

Humanities

Welcome to Witches!

From the Salem Witch Trials to the hit Broadway play Wicked, witches have been a symbol of fear and fascination for both children and adults in the U.S for centuries. But what’s behind the broomstick and pointy black hat that we haven’t thought of before? Are witches really scary and dangerous or are they just powerful women who threaten those in power? Through watching and discussing movies and TV shows that depict witches, we will explore the answers to these questions, and students will be able to reimagine the power of witches through writing creative short stories and making visual art. Join us to debunk myths about witches and explore how they can be transformed into a symbol of empowerment for women, girls, or any other person made to feel like an outcast from society.

A World Full of Stories

Stories are born at all the edges of the world. Most of us only get to know the ones that are from the same places and cultures we are from. Luckily, though, we can still find and read stories from far away places and times long passed. We can also make up stories of our own! In this class, we will read children’s stories from a diverse set of places, time periods, and authors. We will discuss the new things and ideas that each story brings us. Our final project will be to create a story of our own (as a class). After helping to write and illustrate this book, each student will receive a copy of it so that they can share with their families and friends.

Book Club: Kid Detectives

Do you know how to solve a mystery? In this class, we will read Encyclopedia Brown mysteries. Each story ends with a question--how did Encyclopedia solve this case? We will work together and find the small detail that tipped  Encyclopedia off to the identity of the  culprit. The answer to each question is at the back of the book--but no peeking! We need to step into our detective shoes and figure out once and for all how to solve a mystery. At the end of the class, each student will write their own mystery and explain to her classmates how the protagonist dug through all the clues to find the right answer. 

 
 

Middle School Classes

STEM

Evolution: The Driving Force of Diversity

How did the human species become so diverse? Why are there so many different languages and cultures on this planet? How do these languages and cultures differ from each other? This course is dedicated to the study of human biological and sociocultural evolution. Take this course to understand the processes that have given rise to the diverse Homo sapiens. We will build connections between topics in the biological and social sciences using principles from genetics, ecology, biological evolution, and sociocultural evolution. We will learn the origins of language, agriculture, cultural diversity, and the rise of civilizations. We will also leave the course having completed a short, final research presentation on a topic of their choosing that relates to the course theme. 

Women in STEM

In this class, we will hear from a range of female guest speakers in the STEM field, from academia to industry, who will expose the breadth of possibilities students may pursue in STEM careers and their unique journey as women in a male dominated field. Class sections are designed to fill in the historical gaps of STEM oriented female game changers and to examine the effects of gender discrimination in STEM. We will study systemic and historic exclusion of women in STEM and the ways societal stigmas manifest in classrooms and professional settings. On top of that, each student will be paired with a female mentor in college studying or practicing in a field of similar interest to share personal wisdom on how to succeed in industry, education, and life. We hope to empower students with different perspectives and newfound confidence. Aware of these differences and empowered by community and recognition, Curious Cardinals girls will go on to excel in the STEM fields, with their mentors cheering them on along the way. Curious Cardinal girls in STEM, here we go! 

Chemistry in the Kitchen

Why does bread rise or custard set? Why does baking soda cure my heartburn and make my cookies rise? Why do egg whites and aquafaba (chickpea liquid) behave the same way physically while coming from such different places? Why do we put eggs in cookies and cakes, but cookies aren’t cakes? Can gluten-free ever be as good as gluten rich? In this class, we will explore the kitchen through the lens of chemistry, using the molecular scale to explain what we see, feel, and taste. A true exemplar of a hands on learning, this class requires only three things: a kitchen, hands, and an empty stomach. With an in-depth look at chemical reactions like the Maillard reaction, come discover the why’s and how’s of cooking and baking all under the guise of chemistry. It’s gonna be sweet, salty, and finger-licking good!

Creative Arts

Fashion History

Do you ever look down at your skirt and wonder, why aren’t there any pockets? Or have you gotten dressed for graduation and grumbled at how the only option seems to be a boring suit? We get dressed every day, and clothing is often the first thing we notice about each other. This class will explore the cultural purpose of fashion and how it became a $2.5 trillion global industry. We will study how Coco Chanel revolutionized womenswear in the early 1900s and how Rei Kawakubo toppled those ideas of beauty and the body through her contemporary couture. Throughout the term, we will delve into common means of consumption like thrifting and fast fashion to learn not only about the aesthetics and history of what we wear but how the clothes are produced. By the end of the class, students will learn how to sketch like a designer and use that skill to rethink design problems in the clothing we wear. 

Politics, Government and Law

Politics, Government and Law

Unconventional Leadership

Leadership matters, though the definition of leadership is often more expansive than what students are taught in school. And leadership is a muscle one can build from a young age. In this course on Unconventional Leadership, students will learn four critical leadership skills: clear communication, the ability to capitalize on individual strengths, the cultivation of long-lasting positive habits, and the art of coalition-buildings. The course draws upon sources including Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss, Atomic Habits by James Clear, and True North by Bill George. Students are encouraged to experiment, create, and collaborate. By the end of the course, students will feel more confident in their own leadership style and develop a series of actionable steps to apply their new skills.

Humanities

Revisionist Women’s History

When we study history in school, we learn about the inventors, the healers, the performers, the artists, the leaders, and the game changers who shaped a period of time. Why is it that the majority of the people we learn about are male? Is that because women were not doing these things? The answer to this question is no. Women have been creating, healing, inventing, writing, calculating, pioneering, and leading society since the very beginning but have been excluded from the dominant narratives. In this class, we will reevaluate those narratives and learn about the women that our textbooks forgot to mention, women who deserve recognition. And even their own monuments. We will read their writing. We will analyze their artwork. We will study the footprint they left on the world, and we will admire their genius in all the forms it has manifested. We will end the course with our own proposals as to how to inform others of these women and create our own essays, podcasts, presentations, and movies to show tribute to exemplary, game-changing women. 

 

High School Classes

STEM

Human Behavioral Biology

Are we a product of nature or nurture? What guides our actions - our biological blueprints or our free will? Which part of the brain is responsible for your weak impulse control? Why are highly symmetrical faces associated with attractiveness? Take this course and learn how to approach complex normal and abnormal behaviors through biology. Discover how to integrate disciplines including sociobiology, ethology, neuroscience, and endocrinology to examine behaviors such as aggression, sexual behavior, language use, and mental illness. 

The Future of Aviation: How Planes Fly

To most people, the sky's the limit. In this class, the sky will become our home, as we learn the theory and physics of flight. Through hands-on activities and real world examples, we will study fluid flow, aerodynamics, Bernoulli's principle, and different propulsion systems that lead to the lift, drag, thrust, and weight that can help suspend a medal machine thousands of feet in the air. We will also explore how companies in Silicon Valley and around the world are innovating and changing the field with autonomous aircrafts, electric propulsion, and other ground-breaking technologies. This class will end with students working individually and in teams to address a specific problem in an aircraft design case study. 

Creative Arts

Upcycled Sculpture 

Upcycling implies the creative reuse of items without fundamentally changing their material structure. This art making course is an opportunity for you to engage with your creative side and experiment freely with techniques that break from the norm. We will focus on not just the idea of upcycling in art, but how and why modern and contemporary artists repurpose materials and, as a result, redefine the appearance of the artwork itself. Each week we will learn about how artists and designers modify upcycled, found, and unconventional materials in their work. We will develop, learn, and demo techniques that arise from examining elements of the everyday—from household items and miscellanea to rocks and packaging—for their art potential. By the end of this class, students will produce a series of small sculptures as a foundation for those starting to build portfolios and keep as a vestige of our creative time at home. Basic supplies will be needed but the intention is to have an eye for what can be transformed. 

Econ and Business

Fundamentals of Business

At its core, economics is the study of how individuals, groups, and nations manage and use resources. In this course, students will not only gain the skills needed to understand complex markets, but also come away with strong analytical and problem-solving skills, as well as the business acumen necessary to succeed in the professional world. This course will be divided into three sections. First, students will become acquainted with the basics of economics. Second, they will learn which industries dominate the global economy and how to estimate the size of markets. Third, they will be introduced to common scenarios businesses face, including challenges surrounding profitability, market entry, and mergers and acquisitions. By grappling with real-life business case studies, students will unlock their curiosity for questioning how businesses strategize and operate.

Humanities

Ethnic Studies*

Who are we? What are our stories? For generations, the histories and perspectives of people of color have been erased from traditional history classes. Learning the histories of POC guides us in building a critical consciousness to recognize the historical canvas that current injustices are painted on. In Ethnic Studies, we will learn about the historical struggles of different communities and the powerful movements that have brought us all closer to liberation and justice. How does oppression exist within institutions of education, economy, and government? Where do these systems of oppression stem from? How have Black, Latino, Filipino, and Indigenous communities fought oppression? How can we continue to resist? In Ethnic Studies we will deeply reflect on the identities that we each hold and the positionally we have. Learning ethnic studies lifts the veil to a more truthful past and present. Students will gain a critical consciousness about systems of oppression and the responsibility we all have in continuing to advocate for justice in every community. Come join the Ethnic Studies movement, a space dedicated to solidarity, empowerment, community, and justice.

Mass Incarceration

While constituting only 5% of the global population, the U.S. boasts nearly 25% of the world’s prison population. Does this mean that Americans are more likely to commit crimes than citizens of other countries or is there  something wrong with our system?  Between 1960 and 1990, the official crime rates in Finland, Germany, and the U.S. remained almost identical, however, the U.S. incarceration rate quadrupled while the Finnish rate fell by nearly 60 percent. Since 1970, the incarcerated population has increased by 700% - 2.3 million million in jail and prison today.  People of color comprise 37% of the U.S. population but 67% of the prison population. How is this possible? Why do $80 billion of Americans’ tax paying dollars go towards keeping 2.3 million people behind bars? These are some of the questions we will explore. Take this class if you are curious to learn more.

Creative Writing Seminar

Heather Sellers once wrote, “creative writing—like relationships, sports, music, or dance—makes life more meaningful and interesting. Recent neuroscience provides proof for what you may have suspected all along: The pursuit of creative writing measurably increases a person’s ability to observe, intuit, empathize, impose structure on chaos, read closely, and understand nuance.”** This course, designed as a discussion/workshop-based seminar for high school students interested in developing their own writing voice, will begin to unpack and explore the following questions: what is interesting, puzzling, or hilarious about human nature? What is it like to be a particular human, with a particular set of strengths and challenges? What does it look and feel like to do the right thing, to succeed, to make a mistake, or to fail utterly? If you’ve ever felt frustrated about the confines of your English class assignment, written a story or essay just for fun, or even thought about pursuing creative writing but didn’t know where to start, this class is for you!

Stay Curious. Subscribe Today. 

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