Courses

Sky Islands’ Academic Program:

All students take teacher-taught courses in math, science, social studies, language arts, and electives.  Our classes are aligned with Common Core and AZ State standards, are integrated across the program, and feature environmental and community-based projects.  

In the 2013-14 school year, the projects at our new location will include getting a school garden planted, restoring the courtyard and water harvesting, developing an aquaponics system, creating a multi-media book that describes the history of CEDO on the Sea of Cortez, staging a play, and starting a Student Conservation Corps group.

Science Courses:

  • Plant Biology 1— cells and cell theory, plant cell biology and genetics, chemical and physiological processes of living systems, ethnobotany and the relationships between people and plants in Sonoran Desert region.
  • Plant Biology 2— food biology, health, nutrition, and metabolism in humans as they relate to global food production, current agricultural practices and farming methods worldwide.
  • Earth Science 1— structure, forces, and cycles of the Earth, biogeochemical cycles, oceans, weather and climate/change, plate tectonics, pollution, risk and human health.
  • Earth Science 2— physical and chemical properties of Earth materials, geology, gem and mineral formation, the periodic table and the nature of chemical reactions.
  • Ecobiology 1— biodiversity and complexity of life forms and biologic ecosystems, includes history and nature of science; in-depth look at our regional ecosystem, including the geology, ecology, history and culture, and conservation of the Sonoran Desert region from Tucson to the Sea of Cortez.
  • Ecobiology 2— animal ecology/interdependence, in-depth study of the animal world, including evolutionary theory, classification and taxonomy, biologic adaptations, and biotic interactions.
  • Water in the Southwest—human history of water use and current issues in water use in the southwest, water conservation and sustainable use, habitat assessments of riparian areas, watersheds and aquifers, aquatic and riparian ecosystem studies, aquaponics.
  • Astrobiology 1— study of Earth and space science, origin and evolution of the Earth and solar systems, stars and galaxies, physical laws of motion and energy.
  • Astrobiology 2— nature of scientific inquiry, planetary geology and geologic timescales, changes to the biosphere in geologic time.

Math Courses:

  • Geometry— shape, figure and dimension; topics covered include logic, reasoning, and proof, measurement, polygon and figure analysis, trigonometry and 2 and 3 dimensional Cartesian graphing. This class, in conjunction with algebra 1, provides a comprehensive preparation for the HS AIMS math test.
  • Algebra 1—linear equations, inequalities, functions and systems, polynomial creation and manipulation, quadratic and exponential equations and functions, probability and statistics. This class, in conjunction with geometry, provides a comprehensive preparation for the HS AIMS math test.
  • Algebra 2/Algebra 2 Honors— exponential and logarithmic functions, linear equations, functions, inequalities and systems, quadratic and higher degree functions, complex numbers, conic sections, trigonometry and intermediate probability.
  • Trigonometry—wave equations, curvature, spheres, and elliptic geometry; basis of surveying, astrononomy, and navigation.

Social Studies Courses:

  • U.S. History/ Arizona History trace the growth of the United States as a nation by studying the economic, social, technological, and political turning points; focus directly on the events leading up to and forming the 20th century; identify the forces that led to Arizona statehood; develop historical research skills, particularly points of view and perspective.
  • World History/ Geography study the world in transition, comparing and contrasting the development of empires and nation-states; identify core ideas and theories and their impact on historical change; focus directly on the forces leading up to and forming the 20th century; examine environmental issues from a global view and develop historical research skills; interpret the world, regions, and places in spatial terms.
  • Government/Civics describe the development of American democracy and the structures of forms of government; analyze Constitutional rights and responsibilities of citizenship; focus directly on the rise of political parties in the 20th century, and the factors that influence contemporary elections and policy-making, and global governance.
  • Economics—production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services; personal and global finance, trade policies, alternative monetary standards, economic recessions and depressions in history and the consequences for governments, health care, education, and finance.

Language Arts Courses:

  • Integrated Writing— provides a focus on learning to read closely, to pay better attention to word usage and sentence structure, and developing habits of concentration across a range of texts;  students will increase vocabulary and learn to cite and reference various texts.
  • Language Arts 9— Nature in literature: develop a strong foundation in core language arts skills by examining and creating the place of the natural world—the elements of water, air, earth, and fire—in mythology and storytelling
  • Language Arts 10—Imaginative fiction:  study of the use of imagination to create speculative environments—science fiction, fairy tales, future technologies, magical realism.
  • Language Arts 11—Literary drama:  performance-based speaking, plays and play-acting, stage craft, Shakespeare, and modern dramatic arts
  • Language Arts 12 Communications:  how media, technology, rhetorical (persuasive) techniques, and satire influence contemporary society and how we can use these tools to read critically and write effectively; practice real-world writing, editing, and speaking  skills; present polished works in a variety of formats.

Fine Arts Courses:

  • Graphic Artspainting and drawing, illustrations, posters and advertising; critical viewing skills to decode marketing and film.
  • Photographyhistory and technology of camerasfrom analog to digital, study of iconic pictures and photos,  ethics of taking pictures, learn basic photo skills and create photo essays.
  • Stage Productions‘stage’ means not only the theatrical stage, but any place where art is performed;  build stage sets and design costumes; study alternative theatrical techniques and practices—carnival, street theater, theater as protest, acting and storytelling.
  • Multi-Media Productionsdesigning, organizing and producing a book using multiple media to tell the story; the book for the 2013-14 school year will be The Story of CEDO

Elective Courses: 

  • Life by Design— get your life off autopilot; learn and apply knowledge and skills to make the best decisions and take responsibility for your actions.
  • Building with Earth— study the design and ecology of earth buildings; learn about principles of permaculture, create structures with strawbale and cob. 
  • Drafting and Design— draw plans for different models of structures and provide written structural notes using manual and Autocad methods.
  • Sociology— understand how society works, develop critical thinking skills and engage in social issues that affect our lives; create and take part in an action research project about a social issue. 
  • Spanish 1— learn Spanish grammar, vocabulary, and develop basic conversational ability using the Total Physical Response/ TPR method.
  • Spanish 2—advanced study of Spanish, including linguistic history and culture, develop competence as a second-language speaker.

Independent Studies:

  • Physical Education— with staff approval
  • World Languages— with staff approval [two semesters required]
  • Special topics— with staff approval