Aquaponics, jewelry boxes, and animation–cool Conant opportunities

Whether you’re in between electives, have no idea what classes Conant offers, or just put down some random class in your schedule for next year and need some inspiration, here’s a list of some interesting classes Conant offers. These selected courses were chosen for their hands on projects and curriculum. You can also review the District 211 Curriculum Guide to see a bunch of other options. 

AP Psychology 

AP Psychology is an intro to college psychology, and it aims to help students learn more about human behavior. Students get to study the complex mind of human beings, and what drives our behavior. 

“We learn a lot about ourselves in this course. Students coming into this course already seem to know a lot about psychology, but this class helps students see it. It’s all very relatable,” AP Psychology teacher Jennifer Stearns said.

This course is available for juniors and seniors; however, future sophomores can put it on their lists for the future. Some unique topics that AP Psychology covers are the history of psychology, memory, sleep, motivation and emotion, intelligence, personality, and mental illness and therapy. Second semester, students get to choose and research a topic of their choice and present it at our school’s Psychology Fair. Students not only learn more psychological facts, but they also gain life skills from learning about human nature.

Rhetoric of Cinema

Rhetoric of Cinema is an English elective and takes a look at movies as pieces of literature. Students in this course analyze movies and the techniques that directors use, just as they would analyze elements in a novel or short story. 

“I think the most important thing that students should take away is to recognize how easy it is for video to manipulate us,” said Zak Zerby, English teacher. 

This is a one-semester course available for juniors and seniors, and it’s a great choice for students who are passionate about movies and who are interested in learning more about the process of movies. Students learn that while watching movies is fun and light-hearted, there is always something that can be interpreted if you look closely. 

Mobile App Development

Mobile App Development is the capstone course version of AP Computer Science. Students in this course learn about the process of making applications, and they even design their own games or softwares.

“Mobile App Development is designed for students to have a lot of free reign while designing apps. I think the most important thing students should take away from this course is the idea of what it’s really like to create applications,” said Richard Cortez, Mobile App Development teacher.

This course is available to juniors and seniors, and it is a full year course. However, freshman and sophomores can always take computer science classes to learn the basics of application development and design. It is a great choice for students who are interested in computer science.

Bioengineering

Bioengineering is a course that explores a wide range of topics all relating to environmental sustainability. The three major topics that are discussed by the bioengineering course are how to improve access to clean water, food security, and renewable fuels. 

“Students in this course can genetically modify DNA or yeast, and they design aquaponic systems. Students design, build, and test a water cycling and filtration system that supports both fish and plants. The plants filter the water for the fish, and the waste from the tank feeds the plants,” said Bioengineering teacher Shayna Adelman. 

Students acquire the skills needed to be a resource scientist or an engineer, and they learn things like how to research and come up with designs. Not only do they learn the skills needed to be a scientist or engineer, but the course also dives into how those careers can use math and science for societal good. This course is part of the PLTW track so if bioengineering isn’t your thing, their are many other PLTW courses.

Woodworking

Woodworking is a full year course of building projects out of wood. Students spend the majority of their time working with machinery and their hands. Students get to choose their own projects during the second semester of the course, and some choose to build cool things like chess sets, jewelry boxes, axe handles, and tools. 

“My personal favorite project is building Co2 cars.  Students make their own cars out of pine that we race using Co2 cartridges, and they go really fast. It is a lot of fun, mostly because my cars are undefeated,” said Woodworking teacher, Joseph Tullo. 

Students also acquire skills that can take them far in their future, and many consider careers in the field. This course is offered to sophomores, juniors, and seniors, but freshmen interested in taking it eventually can start off with Manufacturing technology. it is a great choice for those who have an interest in hands-on projects.

Video Animations

Video Animations works with technological effects as well as the basics of 2-D, hand-drawn animations. Students explore technological animations using a program that helps them replicate the special effects they see in movies. This course sets the groundwork for skills needed for what professional video and animation/motion graphic artists do. 

“We also look at some directors and discuss their styles and common traits in their films and how we can apply them to our own films,” says Video Animations teacher Justin Bickus. 

Students learn the basics of animation, which can be used in other classes, and they learn that knowing simple filming, editing, and animating tricks can enhance things to make them look cool and professional.

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