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 - 2Cracking Codes: Patterns and Probability

Do you know the difference between a code and a cipher? Have you ever thought about creating your own secret code or cipher to send messages to your friends? If so, this is the course for you! You will investigate simple and complex codes, and follow code-making patterns to creating your own codes! Cracking codes and ciphers takes logical thinking, persistence, and a solid understanding of mathematical skills such as patterns and probability. Put your math skills to the test this summer- 6.4.17. 28.18.24. 8.21.4.6.14 23.11.8 6.12.19.11.8.21?

B02Period - 3The 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 a series of experiments to test your predictions about the reactions of substances.

B03Period - 1New Level! Rain Forests: Tropical Treasures

Does it always rain in the rain forest? What do you think? Did you know that the leaves of one rain forest tree can be 70 feet long, that hummingbirds fly like helicopters, and that the okapi has a 14-inch black tongue? In this fascinating introduction to tropical rain forests, come uncover their layers of life, learning about the dense vegetation, intense heat and humidity, and meet amazing creatures in the treetops, in the air, and in the undergrowth below. You’ll learn all about the animals, plants and people that live together in this complex ecosystem and discover why protecting rain forests is so important.

B04Period - 2New Level! Rocks, Minerals, and Crystals: Earth’s Treasures

Whether you like to collect rocks or just appreciate the beauty of a colorful gemstone, this class has something for you. You’ll learn to analyze and appreciate rocks and minerals by their characteristics, grow crystals, and explore geology topics that really interest you. Finally you’ll determine what makes gems and precious metals so valuable to humans.

B05Period - 3New Level! Recreational Geometry

Did you know that geometry is found all around us in both architecture and in the natural environment? This class will focus your attention on geometric patterns that make up much of the world. You’ll see how science, math, and art work together to make beautiful and strong structures. Observe, analyze, and draw the designs and patterns you see and then create an original geometric structure of your own, such as a treehouse, playground equipment, or a water park.

B06Period - 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.

Math, Science & Technology
P07Period - 2Building 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.

P08Period - 1New!Eureka! 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 into work yourself by creating your own invention!

P09Period - 3The Detective: Master of Mysteries

Do you like to solve mysteries? Then you might be interested in what detectives do to solve crime mysteries. Would you like to learn how to interview witnesses and question suspects? Have you ever pictured yourself testifying in a courtroom? If so, then join us for a study of the world of the police detective. Discover the roles detectives play when they go undercover or gain information from an informant. Find out how detectives collect and hold evidence for court testimony. Create a mystery for your peers to solve!

P10Period - 1New!Practical Math: Practically Everywhere

If you have 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 you time for the other exciting aspects of math.

P11Period - 3New Level! Zoology: Aardvark to Zebra

Do animals interest you? Do you like going to zoos? Then grab hold of this branch of biology called zoology. You will investigate the important interrelationships humans have with animals and explore important concepts such as similarities and differences among vertebrates and invertebrates. You will also have the chance to research a mammal, reptile, amphibian, fish, insect, mollusk, or worm that particularly fascinates you. If you are interested in conserving and protecting endangered species or learning how to take care of animals, then studying zoo science also may be your goal. This course will allow you to increase your understanding of the animal kingdom, expand your knowledge about the biological world and possibly help you consider a future career with animals.

P12Period - 2New Level! Under the Sea: Diving into Marine Science

Did you know there is a virtually unexplored ecosystem under the sea that is an exciting frontier for scientific exploration? Become the Jacques Cousteau of your generation by investigating the luminous inhabitants that thrive in the oceans’ depths, the latest technological advances in submersibles and underwater salvage, and the potential medical and nutritional applications of marine plants and animals. Take the plunge and dive into the field of maritime studies!

Humanities
E13Period - 3New!Writing 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. Be prepared!

Math, Science & Technology
E15Period - 2Anticipating 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 - 2New!Unlocking 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 - 3Planetary Science: Putting the ‘U’ in Universe

Planetary science seeks to explain the structures and motions of objects in our solar system. In this class, you’ll examine how our planet’s unique role in the solar system and how changes in the universe affect us. You will distinguish planets by their properties, sizes, and unique characteristics and study how physics, chemistry, and geology help them evolve. Want more to think about? Consider where we came from. What has happened to our planet over the past billions of years, and what will happen to it in the future? Design your own Mission to Mars, plan a planetary expedition, or design a new way to research the outer planets! Come pursue your questions about Earth and its relationship to the rest of the universe.

Multi-Disciplinary
E19Period - 1Spying: Secrets, Surveillance, and Science

Did you know that the newest satellite technology can look into your living room from thousands of miles away in space? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a spy and monitor this technology? Did you know that some of the gadgets from James Bond films really exist? Come discover how spies keep—and uncover— secrets. Get an inside look at the science behind spies’ tricks of the trade. Create an original spy gadget and persuade your peers of its usefulness.

E21Period - 1New!Aspiring Architects

Architecture has afforded humans with the opportunity throughout history to combine the functional needs of human safety, protection, and activity with beautiful forms of self-expression. Architecture of the present and future offers solutions to ecological and other challenges. In this course you will create an architectural solution to a problem that concerns you. In the process you will delve into architectural concepts, information about inventive projects such as Arcosanti and Victory City, the history of local architecture, and the contributions of such great innovators as Frank Lloyd Wright and Buckminster Fuller.

Humanities
J26Period - 2New!Immortal Fiction

Immortal characters play intriguing roles in fantasy fiction and are increasingly popular in current culture. Come explore and celebrate the enduring and important genre of fantasy literature and its immortal characters! In addition to examining elements of mythology and folklore in popular and contemporary works, as well as in traditional pieces, we will trace the influence of humankind’s fascination with immortality and eternal life through literature, film, and other media. Immerse yourself in the worlds created by your favorite fantasy authors and express your imaginative, creative self by writing about your own immortal character!

J27Period - 1New!Legally 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 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.

J29Period - 3Algebraic 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.

J30Period - 1Online Design: Untangling the Web

Have you ever wondered why some websites are so successful and others are not? Do you know the differences behind the scenes of blogs, Wikis, and photo hosting sites such as Flickr? Come to understand the history of the internet and the evolution of web design. Learn the ins and outs of designing and implementing a properly functioning website. Through this hands-on, project-based course you will be in charge of all aspects from website purpose, design, page layout, navigation and the intricate technology behind the page. Whether you are a novice or a veteran web designer this course has something for you! Materials Fee: $25

Math, Science & Technology
J32Period - 3New!Biomechanics of Living Creatures

Did you know the strongest animal on the planet is actually a two-inch sized beetle, proportionally speaking? Did you know that, in a scaled comparison of a domestic cat to a horse, both can jump equally as high? Biomechanics uses mathematics to study the biological systems of living creatures. In this course you will explore everything from surface-to-volume limitations of a single cell, to why a whale can remain underwater for extended periods of time. Understanding biomechanics will help introduce you to the exciting career of bioengineering.

Multi-Disciplinary
J36Period - 2NEW to Day Program! Future 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
AR23Period - 4NEW to Day Program! The Art of Making a Short Film

Did you know that Tim Burton got his start in short film production? Before Edward Scissorhands and Frankenweenie, Burton wrote and directed short films, such as The Island of Doctor Agor and Stalk of the Celery Monster. In fact, Burton still finds a creative outlet in directing and producing short films. A short film, whether animated or live action, is less than 40 minutes long, according to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Analyze the various features of short films and evaluate the entertainment value of short, compared to a feature length, films. Come learn the trade of award-winning directors like Martin Scorsese and Wes Anderson and film your own SIG short film. (Ages 9-12 only)

AR24Period - 4New!Gaming for Strategy and Fun

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.

AR25Period - 4New!Masterpiece Mimicry

Ever wonder how it feels to produce an iconic, genre-defining piece of visual art? Investigate the fascinating factors that blazed a path for the development of artistic masterpieces, practice and develop your visual art skills using a variety of techniques, and create works in the style of the masters. This course will help you express yourself in pencil, ink, watercolor, and three-dimensional materials while adding to your understanding of how the giants in the world of visual art employed these media. Develop your personal style at the same time and embark on your own journey to artistic mastery!

Fitness & Recreation
AR22Period - 4New!Theater Play

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)