At Arches Academy, teachers work closely with students to personalize learning. One way we customize is through crafting unique mini-courses that inspire students and nurture their intrinsic curiosity. These courses are created using the results from student interest surveys, and are taught by teachers, parent experts, or other specialists. Courses usually run for 4-6 weeks, with several courses being offered at once. Students choose between the different courses to shape their own learning experiences. Topics are as diverse as our students, ranging from mummies, rock band performance, weaving, and cooking, to survival skills, archery, explorations in science/technology/ engineering/math, skiing, architecture, and more.
Mini-courses are not just about inspiring student interests. They also become vehicles for expert teachers to integrate important and often difficult educational ideas into a student’s worldview. For example:
• Archery isn’t just learning a sport, it also tells a story about potential and kinetic energy, aerodynamics, and an age of chivalry and myths.
• Spies and Codes is more than hide-and-go-seek and cipher games; it also connects to the mathematics of cryptography, the chemistry of invisible ink, and a rich history, dating before the ancient Greeks.
In an Arches mini-course, students enjoy topics of particular interest to them, while also gaining additional knowledge in core subjects like math, science, history, and literature. This follows the Gifted and Talented model of education that Arches Academy uses for every student, not just a few who “test in.” This means that all students are encouraged to follow their passions and pursue projects that excite them. These projects are often team endeavors and are always nurtured by the coaching and guidance of a capable teacher.
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