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With the foundational concepts of Sustainable Earth, Sustainable Design, and Sustainable Community, South Kent strives to involve students as an integral part in every step of what we do at the CFI. This programming goes beyond individual projects and extends to understanding ethics and values through real-world experiences. See below for Center for Innovation course offerings.
Our regular course descriptions can be found HERE.
Sustainable Agriculture ALL FORMS
Students will be introduced to the principles, concepts, and methods of sustainable agriculture in New England. Through hands-on labor, students will learn to grow and tend a vegetable garden, raise and care for livestock, and how to prepare and preserve the harvest. Students will be responsible for tracking farm data, including labor inputs and production totals, to create a summary of farm productivity that can be archived and presented each term. Students will also engage in active discussions about the wider issues of sustainability, including food security, climate change, resource conservation, and self-reliance.
Maker Space (Mr. Mittag) ALL FORMS
This course is designed as an introduction to digital fabrication and the world of maker culture. Not only will students gain competence in computer aided design, but they will learn the basics of 3D printing and CNC. Soldering ,basic circuitry ,woodworking, mold making, metal casting, and coding will also be covered during this course. Upon completion, students will have the basic skills necessary to build working prototypes that can be used to solve real world problems.
Sustainable Trail Building and Design (Mr. Funk and Mr. Gennings) 3rd/4th FORMS
South Kent School is sitting on hundreds of acres of woods, meadows, and wetlands; most of this land is not easily accessible for those who wish to explore. In Sustainable Trail Building and Design, students will have an opportunity to immerse themselves in Mother Nature and help design and build trails which will allow members of our Hillside community to easily step into the environment. Students will all get the opportunity to be a “Crew Leader” for one class. Students will create a work plan, present it, implement it, and then receive peer and instructor feedback. In doing so, they will learn valuable skills related to using hand tools, designing and overcoming obstacles, sustainable human and environmental interaction, and developing leadership skills. Most importantly, students will leave the course with the satisfaction of completing a task and doing it well, thus embodying the heart of what it means to be a true South Kent Boy.
Open Source Software Development (Mr. Brennan) 3rd/4th FORMS
According to Code.org, by 2020 there will be 1,000,000 more coding jobs than students who understand code. Students enrolled in the OSSD course will learn the coding language Python. The OSSD course requires no previous coding experience, and is almost entirely self-paced. Additionally, OSSD students may build their very own computer called the Raspberry Pi. Finally, OSSD may also create a social site for high school students called HighSchoolPortfolio.com.
Sustainable Cooking (Mr. Darrin) ALL FORMS
Students in the CFI Cooking course will gain a better understanding of the food supply and it’s history in the United States. Students will explore local production of food versus other models and highlight the benefits of either choice, along with the drawbacks. Students will explore existing practices in large scale meat production facilities to get a better understanding of the issues we face as a country and globally. Finally, students in the CFI Cooking class will gain the basic skills to safely prepare food.
Near Space Launch (Mr. Berghold) 3rd/4th FORMS
The objective of this CFI class is to prepare, launch into Near Space, and retrieve a high-altitude weather balloon with an on-board flight computer and cameras. Students are responsible for building the payload frame, configuring the flight computer to record data (temperature, pressure, GPS data), recording video from two on-board GoPros, predicting the flight path, filing a NOTAM (Notice to AirMen) with the FAA to obtain approval for the flight, coordinating the successful recovery of the payload, and analyzing recorded flight data. The goal is to reach an altitude of 90,000 feet AND have a successful recovery of the airframe and collected data. Specific leadership roles include:
Flight Director (Operations) • Responsible for general oversight of the project.
Flight Director (Engineering) • Responsible for proper assembly of the frame, payload, parachute, balloon filling.
Flight Dynamics Officer • Responsible for flight schedule, launch site location, predicting flight path and recovery.
Instrumentation and Communications Officer • Responsible for for all on-board systems.
Robotics Competition (Mr. Berghold) 3rd/4th FORMS
Robotics Competition – Pairs of students will build several remote-controlled robots to compete against each other at the end of the Fall Term. This term’s competition is a simulated “Jail Break”. Robots must perform various tasks within a maze before exiting the maze, avoiding perilous obstacles and delivering a set of keys to their handcuffed partner. Following “Jail Break”, all robots will compete in a Sumo-style free-for-all (last robot remaining in the ring wins).
Taccolytes (Mr. Berghold) 5th/6th FORMS
Named after the Renaissance polymath whose work inspired Leonardo and many others, the South Kent Taccolytes have the opportunity to take part in several engineering and design projects including the following:
Preliminary development of a closed-system hydroponic or vertical farming unit.
Creation of a robot which is remotely-controlled by its human driver’s muscle activity.
The “hacking” of a Fisher-Price “Power Wheel” car to make it remote controlled.
Construction of an orbiting and linear camera mount for Hyperlapse photography.
Built Environment, Sustainable Development (Mr. Chavka) 5th/6th FORMS
The course is all about planning and building sustainable communities in the real world. Students will have a basic understanding of ecological concerns and apply these to creative solutions to the built environment. We will focus on the development of the North Campus and the main South Kent School campus as case studies. How do communities plan for sustainable development while understanding ecological principles and economic realities that include: basic ecology, population growth, air and water pollution, solid and hazardous waste, human health, energy, sustainable food systems, and environmental solutions. As a challenged-based course, our focus will be to design and build a tiny house that incorporates all of the environmental issues we cover in the class. We will attempt to accomplish this by working with planners/architects, designers, builders and building officials in the area.
Ceramic Arts (Mr. Brendan Moore) 5th/6th FORMS
This course is designed for students who have an interest in working with clay. Activities will provide a basic experience in making functional as well as sculptural pieces using a variety of techniques. This will include hand building using pinch pot, coil, slab, and wheel throwing methods. There will be an emphasis on the elements and principles of three-dimensional forms.
The Oral History of Kent (Mr. Pfeffer) 5th/6th FORMS
The town of Kent, in conjunction with South Kent School, possesses a rich history that deserves to be heard and preserved. In The Oral History of Kent class, students will conduct interviews with either longtime local residents of Kent or key alumni of South Kent School. Students in this class will gain valuable skills in interpersonal communication, writing, editing, designing and more. Students who enjoy socializing, networking and making connections, history, and language arts will benefit from this course. Through the oral history given by the interviewees, students will first have the privilege of learning about Kent’s past through first-person accounts; they will then transcribe and compile their interviews into a pamphlet to be made available for the South Kent community to read and enjoy. Students involved will be personally credited on the published work.
Mindfulness in Student Life (Mr. Beer) 5th/6th FORMS
Mindful self-inquiry is designed for students to investigate the concept and applications of mindfulness, and to investigate into the nature of their own mind and being. The intention for the course is for students to develop an understanding of mindfulness as a way of reducing stress in their lives as well enhance their educational achievement. The curriculum of this course includes: focused attention on breath and sensory experiences; awareness of thoughts and emotions; movement practices; caring and kindness practices; and ongoing critique of mindfulness for stress reduction in student life. Students learn the skills over time, and the intention is that, through sustained practice, mindful awareness becomes a positive way for students to enhance social and emotional learning, strengthen attention and concentration for academics and personal relationships, and foster a student’s overall well-being. Students will participate in a progression of classes to explore three primary mindfulness-based stress reduction meditation exercises: sitting meditation; body-scan; and yoga, which encourage non-judgemental observation and acceptance of bodily sensations, cognitions, and emotional states. The exercises will be useful for students in reframing certain approaches to their academic and social life. Furthermore, students’ experience in cultivating their personal practice will be enriched through weekly discussions and critiques with other students in the course.
Project Wild (Ms. Carreiro) 5th/6th FORMS
The curriculum will follow the environmental education program laid out by Project Wild and Growing Up Wild curriculum guides. Through these programs, the SKS students will learn about the environment, how to share this information with younger students, and then teach lessons to a class of children.
Forestry in the Watershed (Mr. Vylet) 5th/6th FORMS
Forestry in the Watershed will learn about available mapping systems that are layered with GPS applications. The students will use these to work to support the theme of Sustainable Earth through creation of healthy use of trail land and protection in the watershed. The watershed is the area of land that drains or sheds water into a specific receiving waterbody, such as a lake or a river. Watershed management is the term used to describe the scientific process of assessing the geography of a watershed and planning and implementing land use practices in forests and developed parcels and water management practices to keep that nonpoint source pollution from entering the water body. The boys will tackle projects include clearing invasives, maintaining the preserve near a beaver habitat, and building a bridge through part of the trail. This will protect and improve the quality of the water and natural resources in a comprehensive manner. It also encourages healthier habitats and stronger ecosystem growth.
Embedded Journalism (Mrs. Worthington) 5th/6th FORMS
In this course, students create multimedia packages, learning how to produce short documentary films (videos) through hands-on experience in projects related to ongoing stewardship and technology activities within the Center For Innovation program. Topics will showcase a variety of activities that students are involved in at SKS. Key skills in the course will include researching background issues, interviewing, story board composition, camera work, script/narrative writing, oral presentation, and video editing. Students will also learn to work as part of production teams attached groups working on any of the CFI projects in Stewardship or Technology classes running concurrently.
Ideas into Action - Practical Entrepreneurship (Mr. Farley) 5th/6th FORMS
This challenge-based learning course explores all aspects of entrepreneurship including generating ideas, analyzing economics, writing a business plan and generating funding. Working closely with the Center for Innovation (CFI) students will generate their own ideas or use existing ideas within the CFI. Through structured assignments, case studies and guest lectures, students will learn about the innovation process, the fundamentals of a business plan, and the methods getting funding, both traditional and nontraditional. The final goal of the course is a successful presentation to the board of Center for Innovation.
Historic Building Technologies (Dr. Struckus and Mr. Henderson) 5th/6th FORMS
Students investigate sustainable building trends to reduce energy consumption, resource consumption and waste production. Areas of investigation include building techniques, material usage and life cycle management. Known on campus as the “timber framing class”, this course is now in its fifth year. Students investigate sustainable building trends with a particular focus upon reducing energy consumption, using locally available building materials, and mastering building skills that have existed for thousands of years and yet remain the most efficient and enduring methods of construction. Consistent with the “Innovation” theme, students use and master tools and technologies that span hundreds of years of use and refinement. The course includes field trips to visit national leaders in the field, and culminates in the creation of usable structures or finished pieces of fine furniture.
Sustainable Communities and the Problem of Incarceration (Ms. Droessler) 5th/6th FORMS
“All emphasis in American prisons is on punishment, retribution, and disparagement, and almost none is on rehabilitation.” - Conrad Black. This course will challenge students to create solutions to the real world issue we have of prisoners being released from prison back into mainstream society with little to no rehabilitation programs. Students will investigate through research and firsthand experiences to learn what programs are in place in our own country, and a few other countries around the world. They will compare and contrast programs and statistics, deduce what works and what doesn’t work, and create their own rehabilitation system. The students will learn about our communities current system of retributive justice and delve into ideas such as restorative justice, educational programs, jobs programs, life skills for inmates, and more. This course follows the Center for Innovation’s focus on sustainable communities.
South Kent and Syracuse University - SUPA - A partnership for a sustainable future
(Mrs. Haverstock and Mr. Richardson)
Working closely with Syracuse Professors to offer curriculum developed through the University, South Kent School now incorporates college level courses into the Center for Innovation programming.
Chemistry and Earth System Science courses challenge students with demystifying program outputs solved during labs into a meaningful story about our earth’s history and potential future scenarios. Students brainstorm, research and collaborate using technology and applications to successfully solve lab problems. These labs require students to integrate their academic day of advanced math, earth system science and chemistry courses as they tackle the critical thinking necessary to step up to investigate what it means in the scientific community to be a sustainable earth.