SIG at Sarah Lawrence: Courses

At the core of the SIG curriculum are the creative, fun and academically challenging courses that are unique to the program. SIG is committed to fostering the development of each student’s unique abilities, as well as providing opportunities to explore new interests. We encourage families to choose a course schedule, where choices are available, that includes areas of passion and strength, but also allows for the development of new talents. Courses encompass a wide range of humanities, math, science, arts, recreation, and multi-disciplinary areas.

Each student selects from the listing of courses to create a personal schedule. Students take three courses daily. Students should select a first choice and second choice course, for each class period (one, two and three). We ask that students choose alternative courses in case a selected class is at capacity or doesn’t run at one of the sites due to underenrollment for that course. We also encourage students to apply early to increase their chances of getting their first course choice.

Please Note: Not all courses will run at all campuses. We ask that students choose alternative courses, where available, in case a selected class is at capacity or is not offered due to under-enrollment. We also encourage students to apply early to increase their chances of getting their first choice course. Our final schedule of courses is reflective of the preferences of students enrolled at that campus. Students may transfer to another campus as long as there is space on the alternate campus.

Math, Science & Technology
B01Period - 3NEW!Rooting out Letters and Numbers

Thousands of years ago there were no numbers to represent "two", "three", or any other numbers other than "one". Fingers, rocks, sticks, and other items were used to represent such numbers. There was little need for number systems until people formed groups and started trading, which created a demand for money. Word and letter systems similarly developed from picture-based wall paintings and drawings, eventually turning into symbols to stand for sounds and letters. Come explore the beginnings of our current math and writing systems, discover how this information can help you in future learning, and invent a new system of your own.

B02Period - 2The Curious Chemist

Chemistry studies the way materials are put together and the way they act under certain conditions. Chemistry helps us explain the things that happen in nature. Chemists are scientists who use each of their five senses to explore and make sense of life. Experiment with water, acids, bases, and everyday household items to discover the chemical world in which we live. Design experiments to test your predictions about the reactions of substances.

B03Period - 1Simple Machines, Complex Designs

Did you know that shovels, wheelbarrows, hockey sticks, and wooden bats are all simple machines called levers? Simple machines make work easier by enabling us to decrease our mechanical effort to move objects. The six types of simple machines are often combined in complex machines. Come learn about the six types of simple machines and create original machine designs of your own.

B04Period - 3NEW!The Bare Necessi-Trees!

Did you know that the cocoa tree, the source of chocolate, is now on the endangered species list? And that trees produce about 30% of the oxygen on Earth? Trees are as important to human beings as food and water. They provide homes for animals, save money and energy by providing shade and wind protection, hold our soil in place, and provide many other benefits. Sadly, we are destroying trees faster than they can grow without our help. Come find out more about the fascinating field of forestry and discover what you can do to help now and in the future by digging into soil, water, air, recycling, and pollution projects.

B05Period - 2NEW!Digging Ancient Egypt

The ancient Egyptian civilization endured for more than 3,000 years, longer than any other in human history. We have learned a great deal about ancient Egypt due to the vast amount of amazing artifacts and structures their craftspeople and citizens created that have survived history, including hieroglyphic writing systems, wall paintings, and fantastic structures such as the Sphinx and Great Pyramids. In addition, the ancient Egyptians made incredible advancements in sciences, arts, medicine, and health. Come along with us on a fascinating exploration of this incredibly advanced civilization and see what you have in common with the ancient Egyptians.

B06Period - 1NEW!Curiosity Thrilled the Cat

Do you ask a lot of questions? Good! That means you are curious about things. Questioning the world around us can lead our minds to find interesting things, solve problems, and think deeply. Come hear stories about curious people who asked questions that led to important developments. Learn how you can strengthen your curious mind and uncover new and fascinating information in the world around you! What will you do with your new knowledge?

P07Period - 3NEW!Just Write

Do you love to read and write? To tell stories? To share with others what you think or what you are doing in letters, journals, newsletters, or emails? In this class you will get to experiment with different types of written expression to discover where your writing interests lie. In addition to factual writing, you might create imaginary worlds with fantastic settings and characters. You might write an amazing play, or script involving your favorite characters! You might also want to learn more about haikus and other forms of poetic expression. The limitless possibilities of expressing yourself through writing are at your fingertips in this class!

Math, Science & Technology
P08Period - 2Eureka! Inventive Minds at Work!

What would life be like if Ben Franklin hadn’t harnessed electricity using his famous kite and key experiment? How would your daily life change if the wheel had never been invented? In this course, we will take a look at how inventions shaped history. We will also investigate the inventing process- many famous inventors were scientists, but some were hobbyists that had a great idea and became inventors. You’ll have a chance to put the invention process to work yourself by creating your own invention!

P09Period - 1Practical Math: Practically Everywhere

If you ever sat in a math class and thought “I hope I get to use this math outside of school!” this course is for you! Much of math is computation and procedure, but in the real world there are numerous applications. Discover how math can be applied in our jobs and lives. In this course you will explore probabilities found in gaming, money operations found in finance, shapes and angles found in architecture, and more! You’ll become friends with graphs, numerical comparisons, and equations as you problem solve real-life applications. You will be engaged in much more than just calculations, so be sure to bring your calculator to save time for the other exciting aspects of math.

P10Period - 3Building Blocks of Engineering: The Way Things Work

Are you a budding engineer or just want to know how to fix things? Do you stay awake at night wondering how things work? Then this is the course for you! Increase your understanding of the world around you. Learn about the mechanics involved in the workings of everyday gadgets. Apply creativity and scientific principles to improve a current machine or invent a new one that solves a problem. Learn basic engineering principles and delve into the inner workings of vital machines.

P11Period - 2NEW!The Geography of Cartography

For centuries we have sought to map our world. Much has changed since Giovanni Domenico Cassini began the first accurate, countrywide topographical map of France in the mid-1700s, which took more than 100 years to complete. Today our map-enhanced awareness of the world around us is breathtakingly precise and accessible in comparison. Come explore the techniques and technology that drive contemporary cartography, including global positioning systems (GPS), satellites, and drones, and investigate what the future holds for tomorrow’s map-makers. What would you like to be the first to map?

P12Period - 1NEW!Zoos by You

How are zoos being designed in today’s world? Our emerging awareness of protecting animals and providing environments in which they will thrive provides a challenge for future zoologists. This course will employ information about zoology, endangered species, the environment, laws, math, and design as students tackle the problem of creating a new zoo that addresses specific scenarios (e.g. certain kinds of animals, petting zoos, zoos in open areas, zoos in urban areas, teaching zoos, entertaining zoos, and more).

E13Period - 2Writing the Future

People of almost all historic ages and cultures have attempted to predict the future. Today futurists range from predicting ecological catastrophes to envisioning utopian societies. By imagining, forecasting, and writing about future scenarios for our world, we can create important possibilities and take strategic, problem-solving action. In addition to refining your writing and verbal skills, this course will help you develop a future-thinking outlook for succeeding in complex and dynamically evolving circumstances, employing some of the tools that futurists use, such as trend analysis and mind mapping.

E14Period - 1NEW!Is Shakespeare To Be or Not To Be in Your Life?

Hamlet in The Lion King? MacBeth in Star Wars? Of course! The writings of Shakespeare are highly applicable to contemporary culture and its prevalent themes. From social media (All the World’s a Stage), to film, to modern-day theatre, this course explores comparisons in a manner befitting the bard; playfully, often funny, and a little mischievous! Come put your modern twist on a Shakespearean classic with stories, poetry, acting, or set design and interpret the meaning such classics may bring to your life.

Math, Science & Technology
E15Period - 3Anticipating Algebra

"When will I ever use algebra?" you may ask. Here’s one way. Introduce yourself to algebra by focusing on its real-world applications. In addition to tackling concepts of linear equations and factoring, you also may see how algebra can be fun by exploring games, tessellations, and probability.

E16Period - 1Unlocking the Genetic Code

Understanding the encryption on your genetic code will open your eyes to a whole new dimension of science: genetics. It was the unique genetic makeup of the infamous "swine flu" or H1N1 that enabled the virus to traverse animal species and thrive. Gain an understanding of DNA and the processes by which it codes living organisms. Study the structure of the double helix and investigate ways that scientists reengineer it. Consider the potential applications of this new field of research to your life and generation.

E17Period - 3NEW!Cosmic Colonization

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to explore space? To be an astronaut? Examine opportunities space exploration and colonization may provide, and the challenges we face in exploring them. Simulate a mission to other worlds alien to our biology, and address issues that face our current world with new, ground-breaking solutions equipped with scientific knowledge. In the process, discover what our planet’s capabilities are in terms of space exploration; imagine what promise other worlds might hold, and learn more about your unique role in the study of the cosmos.

E18Period - 2NEW!In the Balance

Do you ever wonder how bridges work? How tightrope-walkers and gymnasts perform amazing feats high above the ground? How motorcycles and other twowheel vehicles can travel at fantastic speeds and not fall over? The key is balance. Come explore ways that balance influences nature as well as the ways we act and move. Have fun playing games that involve balance! Learn about the crucial elements of counterweight, stability, resistance, pressure, gravity, and mass that influence things as vast as the universe and wilderness, and as personal as how to live a balanced life.

J22Period - 2NEW!Fan Fiction Fun

Are you a big fan of anime? Harry Potter? Frozen? Join the popular and engaging literary movement of fan fiction and produce your own original works of fiction including your favorite characters and settings. Simply explained, fan fiction is about characters or settings from an original work of fiction created by fans of that work rather than by its creator. Place yourself and other characters you create in the worlds of those you already enjoy, and take them to places and on adventures only you can imagine, and learn interesting things about yourself in the process!

J23Period - 1Legally Speaking

Interested in a career in law, or just want to possess a lawyer’s argumentation skills? Come explore some of the elements that make law such an exciting and rewarding profession and learn how to win debates. Through public speaking exercises and awareness of legal issues, you will develop persuasive argumentation skills crucial to success in future professions, both legal and otherwise. You will practice skills while enacting trials and assuming the role of judge, jury, prosecutor, defender, or witness. Living the courtroom drama will hone your organizational skills, develop speaking and questioning abilities, and deepen your understanding of concepts underlying our justice system. Best of all, you can begin to assess your personal aptitude for a potential law career.

Math, Science & Technology
J24Period - 2Algebraic Expressions

For students who have not yet taken Algebra I, let us introduce you to linear and quadratic equations, polynomials, rational functions, and graphing. Class highlights include factoring algebraic expressions and using algebra to solve word problems.

J28Period - 1NEW!The Physics of Kinetics

Come immerse yourself in the exciting world of kinetics! Kinetics is a branch of mechanics and materials engineering studying the energy of motion. Elements of kinetics are present when we make popcorn, play baseball, SCUBA dive, and in almost everything we do. Kinetics has a profound influence upon civil, chemical, construction, nuclear, aeronautical, agricultural, mechanical, bio-medical, and electrical engineering. Be at the forefront of new developments in this crucial and multi-faceted field. Learn how the understanding of kinetic energy helps us design and build automobiles and spacecraft, as well as roller coasters and mass transit systems. With kinetics, the possibilities are in motion!

J31Period - 3Taking Stock in Money MattersNEW TO DAY PROGRAMS!

Investing isn’t just for adults anymore. Young people live in an age when the world of finance is an integral part of everyone’s daily life. This class will introduce you to the world of investing so that you can make the most of your money, even as a young person. Topics will include savings and interest, income and expenses, and the basics of the stock market. You will invest imaginary money and determine your risk tolerance level in a stress-free way as you develop your financial acumen.

J32Period - 3Future City Design

Explore the challenges of the future! Take on the roles of chemical, mechanical, electrical, aeronautical, and civil engineers as you develop a vision for a future city. Construct a scale model city, showcasing your ideas for future architectural design, transportation, communication, recreation, environmental concerns, and the health and safety of your future citizens.

Visual & Performing Arts
AR34Period - 4Theater Play(Ages 5-8)

Come discover your dramatic side while making friends, improving your presentation skills and engaging your creativity at the same time in this fun-filled theater course. You'll discover the many-faceted components of theater through storytelling, acting, mask-making, costume play, mime, improvisation, and theater games. Bring characters to life on stage and let the entertainer within you emerge! (Ages 5-8 only)

AR35Period - 4NEW!A Flair for the Dramatic(Ages 9-12)

Do you have a flair for the dramatic? Do you enjoy performing in front of your friends and family? Then come join us and further develop your voice and performance techniques so you can wow them with your dramatic skills! Learn exercises which help prepare you for improvisation, and improve your ability to present theatrical work with skill. Develop and take part in a performance piece to be presented at the end of the session! (Ages 9-12 only)

AR36Period - 4NEW!Comics, Cartoons, and Caricatures(Ages 5-12) except Bryn Mawr College that is open to ages 6-8 only

In an increasingly visual culture, cartooning has grown into a highly respected art form. Do you have a favorite cartoon? What makes it fun for you? Let your imagination come out and play in this unique and energetic art class that explores drawing techniques specific to cartooning, caricatures, and comics! You will be inspired to express yourself through your own personal stories and creative characters.

Fitness & Recreation
AR37Period - 4Gaming for Strategy and Fun(Ages 5-12) except Bryn Mawr College that is open to ages 6-8 only

What’s your favorite game? Why? Here’s a place where you can think about what makes a game fun. Playing games is a great way to have fun while learning. In this class you’ll play all sorts of board, memory, word, and active games and then create your own games to teach new things or learn such things as teamwork. You’ll sample games from the past such as those from the Ancient Egyptians or Native Americans; bring in games from home, and create new games for the future.