History

The Financial Literacy seminar uses a flipped classroom model to teach all seniors about being financially successful. Financial success means being in control of one’s money instead of the other way around. Income doesn’t necessarily determine financial success – one’s choices and priorities do. The essential questions for the seminar: How do you know you are using your resources well? How do you know you are being responsible with your finances? How do you prepare for your own retirement? Units include financial planning and process, budgeting, managing personal debt, education planning, economic concepts, investment strategies, and other useful skills and information related to personal finances.

Required course

The world is a complex, dynamic, and fascinating place. This course explores the concept of global citizenship and what it means to embrace that title. Students will examine the cast of characters that comprise humanity on Earth along with the major trends of interaction and their impacts. Global Citizenship provides students with the opportunity to examine contemporary issues in the modern global community and how the ideas of citizenship can be used to address major present day scenarios while preparing for the future. Global Citizenship will also challenge students to understand the interconnected nature of our planet and how history, culture, economics and political forces shape our world. Through this understanding, students will develop a sense of one’s responsibility as citizens of the earth.

Required course

Our Health course is organized around the question, "How can we make healthy lifestyle decisions consistent with our values and goals?" Students will investigate a number of topics related to physical and mental health to become not only better informed, but better able to assess the ever- changing flood of information and misinformation related to health. The goal is to prepare students to take responsibility for their own health, as educated consumers of health services, and even more importantly, as the architects of their own personal wellness. Among the issues to be explored are the following: human body systems, nutrition, exercise, sleep hygiene, connections between environmental health and human health, mental health/managing emotions, communication/relationships, stress and relaxation, addictions (both substance and non- substance), and sexual health.

Required course

This yearlong, required course is an introduction to the study of history - not just what happened in the world of the recent past, but how to think like an historian. The aim of this class is to give students the skills they need to conduct their own authentic historical investigations. Students will practice these skills through a variety of thinking, reflecting and critiquing activities, through problem-solving and project design, and yes, through reading and writing. There is no core text - rather, the class will be using online resources and a variety of written materials to practice research and close reading skills as we examine major events from the recent past. This course is required for incoming 9th grade students.

Required course

This course will complement Sacred Texts by delving into attempts to answer the Big Questions of existence, knowledge, and morality from the perspective of human reason rather than faith (or, as the Greeks had it, logos instead of mythos). Students will learn about major philosophical thinkers and ideas to encourage critical thinking, self-reflection, and the examination of ideas often taken for granted. They will begin by exploring the way major topics of inquiry were identified in classical Greece, and how those topics came to dominate the western philosophical tradition. The course will then delve into the philosophy of religion, including the various attempts to prove the existence of God, and the explanations for the existence of evil in the world. Students will then move to the study of moral philosophy, in particular the ideas of Mill and Kant, as well as the various critiques of their ideas, in order to better understand the development of moral and political frameworks that inform our lives, both on an individual and societal level. After analyzing the response to Kant by German idealists, primarily Hegel, students will dive into the Marxian tradition, and conclude the course with the major trends of late 19th century and 20th century philosophy, primarily existentialism.

Open to all seniors, and to juniors with permission of the Department Chair.

This course will harness the disciplines of History and Cultural Anthropology to build meaningful understandings of the commonly misunderstood peoples and regions of Latin America, which are figuring with increasing prominence in current United States domestic and foreign policy. Latin Americans represent the fastest growing demographic in the United States, exercise increasing cultural and political influence, and comprise much of the U.S. slave labor sector. Despite their rich diversity and fascinating histories, Latin Americans remain subject to a range of common misunderstandings and continuing prejudices which demand deeper cross-cultural understandings in order to dispel them. Modern Latin America aims to foster these understandings.

Open to all seniors, and to juniors with permission of the Department Chair.

What better time to learn about elections than in the middle of one? While analyzing the current campaign as it unfolds, we will compare and contrast with previous campaigns for context. This year’s wild nominating cycle will be completed by the fall so we can spend some time breaking it down and talking about what might have been. We will trace the evolution of the nominating process from the days of the smoke-filled rooms to the more democratic processes in the modern primary/caucus era. This will include a look at struggles in the 1960s and 1970s to to make the delegates more representative of the general population demographically. We will study the various tweaks of the rules for assigning delegates and their strategic (and ethical) ramifications. We will also focus on the importance of fundraising in the era of super PACS and the arguments for campaign finance reform. We will investigate the role and function (and dysfunction?) of our two party system and contrast it with multi-party and parliamentary systems in other nations. Anticipating the 2016 election, we will assess the available data and make our own predictions for November to discover whether we can do better than the “experts.” We will have fun and get a feel for the strategic issues by “gaming” this election and others. At the end of this course, you will be among the few who actually understand how the electoral college works!

Open to all seniors, and to juniors with permission of the Department Chair.

Lyall Watson famously stated that “if the brain were so simple we could understand it, we would be so simple we couldn't.” Nevertheless, we will take a crack at using our mighty brains to gain insight into ourselves and those around us. In this survey course students will be introduced to core concepts and methods of inquiry and evaluation in the study of psychology. We will take every opportunity to relate these concepts to our own experiences and perceptions, an endeavor uniquely suited to the subject of psychology. Among the topics covered will be the history of psychology, major psychological theories, sensation and perception, learning and memory, intelligence and testing, developmental psychology, states of consciousness, personality, motivation and emotion, prejudice and discrimination, group dynamics, abnormal psychology, treatment and therapies, and careers in psychology. At the end of the course students should have a greater understanding of psychology as a field of inquiry, increased insight into the complex factors that drive our behavior, and be intelligent consumers of psychological theories.

Open to all seniors, and to juniors with permission of the Department Chair.

Please see English Department offerings for course description. This course is cross-listed. Students will need to choose which department to receive credit in.

In the 1950’s, civic engagement was at an all-time high...but what were the social implications? The class will read excerpts from Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam to discuss the dissolution of social attendance, coupled with the rise of technological achievements. The course will also have a civic engagement experiential element, consisting of the creation of a social compact regarding participation in government. We will also examine the Darrow community: its components, its mission, and its identity. We will collaborate as a group to create a visual representation of our conclusions.

Open to all seniors, and to juniors with permission of the Department Chair.

This course will chronicle Arab-Israeli relations predominantly (but not exclusively) defined by conflict, presenting a comprehensive range of agendas and arguments regarding how Arab-Israeli relations developed, where they currently stand, and the multitude of future possibilities. Special focus will be applied to Israeli-Palestinian Relations. Both Arabs and Israelis feature extraordinarily diverse cultures and historical narratives which we will examine to establish contextual background. As the course progresses students will be encouraged to develop their own critical thought, progressively becoming more discerning consumers of current events. Throughout the semester, we will be conducting video conferences with Israelis and Palestinians (separately) to learn their perspectives firsthand. As their various agendas and their mutual collision points become defined, we will attempt what 12 successive U.S. Presidents have failed to accomplish – solve the conflict! As a team, we will try to reconcile them into an actual, mutual agreement which we will draft as a final project.

Open to all seniors, and to juniors with permission of the Department Chair.

Darrow’s campus inhabits the site of the oldest Shaker community in North America, and this Shaker heritage informs many aspects of our school life, yet how much do we really know about the Shakers? In this one-semester elective course, we will explore the history, theology, lifestyle, values, achievements, challenges, and enduring legacy of the Shakers. We will examine the various stereotypes, myths and misconceptions about Shakerism as we build up a nuanced picture of the realities of what it meant to be a Shaker. The course will rely heavily on the abundant resources for studying the Shakers available here on our campus and within our region. There will be extensive fieldwork, research, and hands-on learning, culminating in the creation of presentations, artifacts and resources to be shared with the community at and beyond Darrow. The Shakers were ahead of their time in so many ways - in their commitment to equality, pacifism and social justice, in their embrace of technology, innovation and entrepreneurship, in their mindful approach to design and craft, and in the values and beliefs they lived out every day. In this course, students will have the opportunity to go back and meet the Shakers as they were, in their own time and place.

Open to all seniors, and to juniors with permission of the Department Chair.

United States History is a yearlong, in-depth study of the nation’s history built around a close examination of three central episodes of American history through the interpretive lens of the broadly-defined concept of "revolution." These three episodes are the American Revolution (eighteenth century), the Civil War and Reconstruction (nineteenth century), and the Civil Rights Movement (twentieth century). We will approach our investigation of these transformative periods as historians, exploring relevant primary source material, comparing perspectives, analyzing factors such as bias, causation and correlation, undertaking collaborative projects, and conducting original historical research, all with the goal of building up a nuanced, balanced and authentic understanding of why and how these pivotal changes occurred, and what they meant at that time and now for the evolution of the American nation and society.

Required course