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MS/SEC: Writing 13; Psychology, Lit 13; TOK

MS/SEC: Writing 13; Psychology, Lit 13; TOK

Action-packed stories! Brain mysteries! Spooky moods! How do we know what we know?

Writing-13 students engage in NaNoWriMo — (Inter)National Novel Writing Month — setting goals, authoring stories, pursuing threads and prizes: A wide range of topics, from missions aboard an aircraft carrier, navigating familial losses, battling literal and figurative demons These 13-year-old budding novelists take the “bull by the horns” and produce works of fiction that stun, move, strike hilarity and horror by turns. With gratitude to fellow teacher Ms. Lisa Clipp for inspiring and encouraging, students rise to the challenge of penning (typing) thousands upon thousands of words, meeting and exceeding personal goals, and sharing the products of their imaginations with each other and the wider community. Ask an author near you to tell you about their work of gripping fiction.

Literature-13 students encounter classic stories and writers, including “The Monkey’s Paw” and Ray Bradbury, as they parse out how setting affects mood. They use the insights they gain through comprehending and analyzing texts in their own writing and find out firsthand how literature is the original form of entertainment—before and after the advent of movies and the internet!

Psychology students open the “can of worms” that serves as our brains. With mysterious personages who forget nothing or retain no new memories; who never forget a face, or never recognize a face. With differing goals and emphases, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Psychology students enter the mysterious — and vital — world of cognitive psychology. Paying attention, making decisions, solving problems, using language, encoding and accessing memories, turning sensations into perceptions, and everyday thinking: this all adds up to cognition. Landmark studies and experiments; stunning examples of human abilities and deficits; the enticing suggestion that long-term memories literally have no known limit — if only we can “trick” ourselves into encoding them! These and more engaging topics hold our attention as we solve problems, use memory, perceive insights, and think our way through this fascinating subject!

Secondary III IB Theory of Knowledge (TOK) students grapple with, “How do we know what we know in politics?” Information, misinformation, disinformation; cultural heritage and upbringing; ideals, persuasions, values, and biases. Students return continually to claims and counterclaims, and fashion statements of their own, covering: “This I know . . . ”; “This I think . . . ”; “This I believe . . . ” With the International Baccalaureate guidance that two individuals can hold different, even opposing views and still both be “right,” the topic raises profound and real-world considerations for this cohort of young global citizens.

Meanwhile, Secondary IV TOK students consider, “How do we know what we know — in Mathematics?” Gamely taking on the tasks of deriving formulas for the area of a circle and the Quadratic Formula; demonstrating understanding of the Fundamental Theorems of Arithmetic, Algebra, and Calculus; tracing out elegance in classic propositions of Euclidean geometry; these inquiring minds show that they want to know and open themselves to the sometimes head-swimming topics of infinity, number theory, complex operations, and philosophical considerations. It is not an easy journey, but the views from the numerical and analytical mountain peaks prove stunning.

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