Department of Education

Essential Questions Courses and College Preparation

Courses focus on big questions that encourage students to create new knowledge, practice relevant skills, and take action.


How do the ways we choose to act impact the world?

A Snake Falls to Earth by Darci Little Badger follows two characters from different worlds: Oli, a cottonmouth snake from the Reflected World, and Nina, a Lipan Apache teen from our world. Oli and Nina learn that to save the people, animals, and languages they care about, they must work together, use social media, and find ways to combat climate change. We will also read creation myths, have discussions, and do a research project on endangered animals.


What are math games and how can we use games to learn math?

Many games have rules that are rooted in mathematics. This year, BSHS will explore math games that encourage play and rigorous learning of algebraic, geometric, and statistical concepts. We will play math games, discuss and examine their underlying mathematical concepts, and create our own!


What can science teach me about developing my body and mind so they are healthy and strong?

Our ancestors evolved in very different conditions than our present society. Just 10,000 years ago, humans did not always have access to food. The stress they felt daily was also different. In this class, we will explore how the adaptations our species evolved to survive are now contributing to disease in our new environment. For example, science has consistently shown that racism and inequity play a key role in the appearance of certain diseases in minoritized communities. How can health and racism be connected? Science has also begun exploring the health benefits of approaches long recognized by ancient traditions, like qi-gong and meditation. How might these approaches be working? This year, BSHS students will develop their ability to critically select and analyze health-related information to complete an independent project on a health topic of their choice.


How can we use our social media platforms, or those of our favorite influencers, to act as creative, responsible, and impactful storytellers? 

Students in social studies will explore the power of social media in both cultural and historical contexts. First, they will learn about “media influencers” from the past to examine how media has changed over time and identify the roles that we as individuals have played in influencing that change. Next, we question how social media platforms can serve as powerful tools for personal expression and social change through the art of storytelling. Students will critically analyze the impact of storytelling on society and understand the importance of responsible digital citizenship. By examining both historical and current social media, students will develop the skills and insights necessary to craft compelling stories that resonate with others and spark meaningful conversations. Students will create a story they could share on a social media platform and connect it to the histories that they learned in class!