Seminars at CCA Enhance Learning

Doug Poskitt, Head of Upper School
In addition to the breadth and challenge of Cape Cod Academy’s upper school curriculum for grades 9-12, we offer students the opportunity to choose from a wide array of seminars that meet for about an hour each week. Seminars are mini-courses that students choose each trimester in addition to the regular course load. During their upper school years, students will have chosen from scores of seminar offerings taught by CCA’s own faculty and staff. Seminars either reach beyond traditional academic disciplines or dive deep into a particular topic, thereby complementing what students are learning in their other classes.
During the fall trimester, students selected seminars that examined in detail our local ecosystem, the politics and ethics of what we eat, plus how to speak Russian (among other options). The Chair of the Science Department offered a seminar entitled "Darwin's Naturalists", which looked closely at some of Darwin's major ideas by reading short excerpts from his most famous work, On The Origin of Species, before heading out in the field to practice being naturalists. Our humanities teachers teamed up to offer a "Food Fight" seminar that explored current political, social, economic, and ethical issues related to food, such as the hunger and obesity epidemics, slow vs. fast food, local vs. industrial food, organic vs. GMOs/pesticides, food safety and human health issues, government regulation vs. free market principles, and the environmental impact of food. In addition, one of our world language teachers worked with a group of upper school students as they learned the Russian alphabet and simple phrases to allow them to communicate in Russian. As her students can appreciate, learning about other cultures and languages is a great way to expand your knowledge and better understand the world around you.
Looking ahead to this winter's seminar topics, a wide range of offerings should include something for everyone. Don't be surprised if you see upper school students making short videos about being a student at CCA or writing articles for the school's website. One mathematics teacher’s "Games of Chance" seminar will use games and activities to introduce the concept of probability. The probability of an event is a measure of the likelihood that the event will occur. Students in this seminar may apply their new-found knowledge in many different fields. Also, CCA's new Chair of the Math Department will offer a seminar entitled “Theories of Personality." Have you ever wondered to what extent your behavior is influenced by your environment, early childhood, thought processes, or biology? This course will explore a variety of personality theories, along with their history and applications.
Given these fascinating seminar options (plus the many others), students have the opportunity to enhance their classroom learning and dive deeper into a topic that truly interests them. After all, the power of interest drives learning.
Cape Cod Academy is one of the only independent, co-educational, college preparatory schools serving students from kindergarten to grade 12 on Cape Cod.