SVGS Month in Review: September, 2015 – ACADEMICS

*We will begin a “Month in Review” series to highlight academics, student experiences, community events and happenings at SVGS. 


Advanced Calculus:Multivariable – Students focused on vectors and geometry of space and learned to use a tool Maple, a computer algebra system, to visulaize and explore vectors in space.  We plunged into the concept of a tangent plane to a 3D surface. To see all the recent topics in Advanced Calculus, visit the SVGS Moodle server ( and click “Login as guest”. Find Advanced Calculus in the  list of courses, and visit our webpage.

adv calc

Advanced Technology – Students explored the various tools and applications of Photoshop.  Students completed a portfolio and wrote tutorials for various Photoshop tools.

adv tech tutorial


AP Calclulus BC – Students began the year with a study of limits and continuity.  They explored the tangent line problem which led into a unit on differential calculus. They applied differentiation techniques to a wide variety of functions represented analytically, graphically, and numerically.  Most recently, those techniques were used to analyze physical situations where multiple parameters (such as height and radius of water in a tank or pressure and volume of a gas in a piston) were changing simultaneously.

ap calc

AP Chemistry- Students completed a stoichiometry review and was introduced to using Net Ionic Equations to describe precipitation reactions. Balancing reaction equations using Oxidation and Reduction was also practiced.

AP Computer Science – Students learned about hardware, software and logical operators.


AP Environmental Science – Students learned about ecosystems and how they are sampled.  They discussed evolution and endangered species and invasive species and saw them at the Frontier Culture Museum.  They learned about national public lands and walked through National Parks, National Forests, and Wildernesses.

Picture at Frontier Culture Museum of invasive Ailanthus (picture by Chris Puzio).


AP Statistics – Students focused on displaying and describing data.


 Calclulus (DE) –Dual enrollment calculus students have a new motto, first expressed by a student asked if she was ready to give a presentation on the product rule, quotient rule, and tangent lines: “I was BORN ready!” To see all the recent topics in DE Calculus, visit the SVGS Moodle server ( and click “Login as guest”. Find SVGS Calculus in the list of courses, and visit our webpage. See an example of student lab below.


Computer Networking and Security –  Students worked to understand the basics   of the OSI 7 layer model for networking and command line tools needed to administer Linux operating systems, and simple attacks that are used against them.

Environmental Chemistry –  Students studied nuclear chemistry used in nuclear power, nuclear medicine and radiometric dating.

Engineering I – Students have been working on structured problem-solving using the engineering design process.  Students learned to make engineering estimates and to analyze products from a design perspective.  More recently they have been working with problem-solving techniques such as Duncker Diagrams and decision matrices and each project group has chosen a specific problem for which to develop an optimal solution.  At the same time, they have been working on orthographic sketching which will be used to communicate design ideas and they have just begun translating their sketching skills  to computer-aided design.

Engineering II (DE UVA)  – Design teams began to explore their problem space and the human factors and values that play a role in the engineering design process. Students are also gaining insight about product life cycles from reading Cradle to Cradle.

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Geospatial Information Systems – Students in GIS have learned about selecting by atttributes and location in their maps and they have mapped farms at the Frontier Culture Museum and at SVGS.  They recently finished planning trips to interesting locations and they are beginning to learn about geoprocessing.

GIS map of 1740 American Farm at Frontier Culture Museum courtesy of Kyle Vanhoy and Collin Yurish.

Molecular Biology – Students studied biological principles and big ideas, chemistry and biochemistry, included labs—molbio lab techniques; methods for separating biomolecules; detecting biomolecules in foods.  Students created 3D models to illustrate important structural and functional characteristics of biomolecules.

Modern Physics – By conducting measurement of speed of light, students were convinced light does travel and it travels in a constant speed. We learned how this fundamental fact leads to warping of our space and time.

Physics – Students learned how to write a formal lab report and explored motion in one and two dimensions and projectile motion.

projectile motionr video trackerr

Precalculus – Students learned/reviewed basic trigonometry and vectors, and studied how they are applied to physics quantities such as displacement, velocity, force and work.

Research: Life Science – Students learned about research principles and types of research, reviewed of descriptive statistics and error analysis, introduction to inferential statistics and t-test, designing experiments and defending conclusions and interpretation of results and labs—basic life science lab techniques; assaying proteins spectrophotometrically; exploring factors affecting fermentation by yeast.


Research: Physical Science – Students explored our curiosity and interest in physics, chemistry and mathematics. We studied some major topics in modern technologies and researched some of our common issues in everyday life.



Humanitites I – Students have studied language acquisition/development in Humanities I and have been inspired by our analysis of academic essays written by Langer, Pei, Baldwin, Chomsky, and Bryson and class discussions.  As an outgrowth of a look at how language constantly evolves, students considered the occurance of code switching in language-dominated contexts as it applies to multilingual and social circumstances.  Students were to locate appropriate examples of code switching in digital media (blogs, web sites, youtube or vimeo) then personalize the phenomenon by applying the concept to their own lives and listing circumstances in which they themselves code switch.  Please click here to set an example of student work and thinking about these concepts.

hum i

Humanities II – Students have examined gender relationships in Anglo-Saxon/Medieval literature (Beowulf, the lais of Marie de France, and selections from Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales).  Having explored their individual and creative takes on these issues in essays, students then prepared informal presentations to share with peers.  Students gave an overview of their thesis and literary analysis then shared contemporary connections to their essay-specific topics:  they gathered observations about gender issues from digital media (blogs, web sites, youtube, Facebook posts, and other social media).  Presentations ended with the students’ take-away, their assessment on how gender relationships can both reflect and reject traditional and nontraditional values.  Click here to see an example of student work and thinking about gender relationships.

hum IIi



Acting I – The Studio I class is exploring imagination and physicality and will apply what they’ve been studying to their newly-selected monologues.

Intro to Theatre – The juniors just concluded their study of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. They are performing a snippet from the play using Shakespearean cue scrolls (which they made themselves), and then we’ll be moving onto the bloody tragedy Macbeth.

Juniors Midsummerr

Acting II – Our actors  have been  using Michael Shurtleff’s Audition as a guide (a common college text often referred to as the Bible for working actors) to delve more deeply into character creation and scene/monologue analysis. They have practiced using the Audition Guideposts in class study scenes and are about to start longer undirected scene studies.

Theory & Criticism –The seniors are examining examples of Early Modern drama. They just finished Christopher Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus and are now diving into what is possibly the world’s most famous play, Hamlet.

Theater Craft & Skills: The seniors have been studying audition preparation with guest artists Mary Evans Lott and Kathy Lafon, honing both monologues and songs in anticipation of upcoming college audition. The juniors have been developing their improvisation skills with professional actor David Webster.

Juniors Monologuesr


Studio Art I – Students have been designing works emphasizing line and ways to use line effectively to create interest. They have been encouraged to push their ideas beyond the obvious solutions to more imaginative results.

Studio Art II- Students have been investigating their own personal styles by studying the work of two contrasting artists and creating pieces inspired by the one with which they identify most. 3-D students created sculpture and 2-D and Drawing students created large-scale paintings for this project.

Craft and Skills I – Students have been taking a session in stained glass taught by Lisa Morrison. They created a small project to learn basic skills and techniques and are now working on larger designs for their final projects.

Craft and Skills II – Students have been taking a session in sculptural painting with Brecken Geiman. They have created small sculptures inspired by the artist, Louise Nevelson, and larger sculptures inspired by the artist, Marisol.

Art History – Students have been studying ideas of beauty according to both western and non-western societies and how important context is in understanding artwork from different times and cultures. Through this process, they developed their aesthetic criteria and acte as art critics for an online exhibition.

Studio Art I, II and AP Studio Art – See students work in progress below.


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Visual Art Crafts & Skills I, II – See student work with guest artists in specific areas of stained glass and fashion design.

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