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Course Descriptions - Upper School

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Upper School English is a heavily literature based program based on the premise that avid readers become lifelong readers and stronger writers than they might have been had they not been exposed to various voices of a certain caliber. Students are divided into 5 levels: seventh graders, regular and advanced eighth and ninth graders, regular level tenth, eleventh, and twelfth graders, and Advanced Placement.

Each level has a tailor-made syllabus of appropriately challenging titles. Classic titles are accompanied by popular adolescent fiction for all levels except Advanced Placement who, per the College Board, have a prescribed college level reading list suitable to their skill level.

Writing assignments, projects, and tests as well as discussion and live readings provide a variety of tools for measurement of student achievement. Writing will focus on the expression of insights, the use of quoted material in MLA format to prove assertions, and the development of style without compromising clarity.

Basic grammar concepts are drilled and reinforced, both in the editing of one's writing and with appropriate handouts.

A great deal of emphasis is placed on the recognition of literary elements and devices and analysis of author's purpose. It is the main objective of all classes that students mature as readers, writers, and thinkers. Curriculum is constructed in a stepping stone pattern of progressive stages. The ultimate goal is to create not simply literate graduates, but literary ones ready to move on to a university.


Physical Science

This is a laboratory science course intended for students in grade 7, or students in grade 8 who have not had a comparable science course. This course stresses basic skills that will be needed in later science courses, such as observing, inferring, measuring, graphing, dimensional analysis, the relationship between mathematics and reality, an understanding of uncertainty and significant figures, thinking critically about the subject at hand, and writing laboratory reports. Basic physical concepts such as mass, length, area, volume, density, velocity, acceleration, force, work, and power are also touched upon.

Human Biology

This course is designed to be a high school level laboratory science course designed for students in grades 8-9. Human Biology will focus on the structure and function of the human body as well as human evolution and human ecology. Homeostasis will be the theme maintained through interactions at all levels. To succeed in this course, students must develop a fairly extensive technical vocabulary and retain large volumes of detailed information. They must relate the information learned in each chapter to earlier chapters, and understand how these specific details affect the overall functioning of the body. Human Biology students must develop their capacity for critical thinking, abstraction, and concept integration.


This is a high school level laboratory science class designed for students grades 10-12, with inclusion of those 9th grade students showing exceptional science prowess. Biology is an all-encompassing study of the science of life. The course emphasizes: biology as process, biotechnology, laboratory investigations, writing about biology, and intra science. Students focus on organizing information, thinking critically, practicing scientific methods, and representing, interpreting, and applying data.


This is an upper level laboratory course designed for students in grades 10-12. Throughout the course, students study the social implications of environmental science. For example, they examine the issue of resources, look at a variety of solutions, and see how they play out on a local, national and global scale. The goal of the course is not to tell students what to think but to provide them with the tools to drawn their own conclusions.


This is an upper level laboratory course designed for students in grades 11-12. Course prerequisites include: completion of Biology and at least 2 high school level math courses. Chemistry is an advanced Physical Science discipline focusing on the atom and its makeup, stoichiometrical and quantitative relationships between atoms and molecules, kinetic theory and gas laws. Students focus on organizing information, thinking critically, practicing scientific methods and representing, interpreting and applying data.

Anatomy & Physiology (taught in alternate years)

This is an upper level honors laboratory course designed for students in grades 11-12. Course prerequisites include: completion of Biology, and at least one other high school science course. Students study the structure and function of the human body. The theme of homeostasis is referenced throughout. To succeed in the course students must do more than develop a large technical vocabulary. They must be able to correlate the information they learn and use it to describe accurately and in detail overall body functions.


This is an upper level honors laboratory course. The prerequisites include Chemistry and all of Chemistry's prerequisites. The course focuses largely on an algebra-based look at Newtonian mechanics, including the study of motion, forces, the impulse-momentum mechanical view, the work-energy mechanical view and a study of oscillations. Electromagnetism, light and thermodynamics are also touched upon.

Social Studies

Foundations in Social Studies (7th & 8th grade class)

This course provides a broad overview of the social studies disciplines of history, politics, economics, and geography. Students will frequently discuss current events topics through the lens of these disciplines. The goal of the course is to provide a strong base of knowledge to prepare students for the rest of their Upper School s ocial studies coursework. 


In civics students will learn about the institutions and processes of government at the local, state, and national level, with a particular emphasis on the role of the citizen in a democratic society. Class discussion and debate as well as real-world campaign and advocacy work will provide students with hands-on experience in civic involvement.

U.S. History

This survey course in American history covers topics ranging from Southeastern Indian tribes before European colonization up through the present day. Most class reading consists of primary source documents that expose students to the voices of the people who have both driven and witnessed historical events. Students will learn that history is an active process of interpreting evidence and drawing conclusions, skills that will not only make them historians in their own right, but competent citizens as well.

World History

World History is a survey course that covers many of the major developments in the history of human civilization. Emphasis will be on the central ideas that have driven cultural change over time. Topics will include the beginnings of civilization, the philosophical and political contributions of the ancient Greeks and Romans, the emergence of monotheism, Eastern religions and philosophies, the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment, industrialization, colonization and imperialism, and major developments of the 20th century such as democratization and economic globalization. Primary source documents make up the majority of reading for the class, as students will approach history as a living process of interpretation rather than a static body of knowledge. Expository and argumentative writing will make up a significant portion of coursework.


Math is the most individualized of all the subjects taught at Camelot.

We begin by pretesting students (also known as diagnostic testing) to determine where mastery ends. When the instructor establishes the appropriate starting point for a student, the course material is covered using a mastery-based approach. Students progress through the material at an individualized pace and test after obtaining teacher approval. Students are required to score 80% or better to demonstrate mastery. If less than 80% is achieved, the student must retest before he/she can move on to new material.

Camelot has minimum school year pace requirements in all of its math.

General Math

Requires mastery of such foundational concepts as: fractions, decimals, measurement, number theory and equations, ratio and proportion, and percent. Provides an introduction to: geometry, consumer math, computing with rational numbers, probability and statistics, real numbers and the coordinate plane and similarity.
(General Math: 9 chapters).


Algebra continues the study of algebraic concepts including operations with real numbers and polynomials, relations and functions, creation and application of linear functions and relations, and an introduction to nonlinear functions. Prerequisites: demonstrated mastery of General Math and speed memory of all math fact tables.
(Algebra 1a: 15 chapters. Algebra 1b: 16 chapters).


Geometry continues students' study of geometric concepts building upon algebra topics. Students move from an inductive approach to deductive methods of proof in their study of geometric figures. Two and three dimentional reasoning skills are emphasized and students broaden their use of the coordinate plane to include transformations of geometric figures. Prerequisites: Successful completion of Algebra I.
Geometry: 14 chapters; Honors: 18 chapters).

Algebra II

Algebra II continues students' study of advanced algebraic concepts including functions, polynomials, rational expressions, complex numbers, systems of equations and inequalities, and matrices. Emphasis is placed on practical applications and modeling.
Prerequisites: Algebra I and Geometry (Algebra II: 9 chapters; Honors: 16 chapters).


Pre-Calculus provides students a complete study of trigonometry, as well as advanced algebra topics, analytic geometry, sequences and series, and data analysis. Applications and modeling are included throughout the course of study. Prerequisites: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II (Pre-Calculus: 7 chapters; Honors: 10 chapters).


Calculus develops the student's understanding of the concepts of calculus (functions, graphs, limits, derivatives and integrals) and provides experience with its methods and applications. The course encourages the geometric, numerical, analytical, and verbal expression of concepts, results and problems. Prerequisites: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Pre-Calculus (Calculus: 7 chapters; Honors: 10 chapters, and covers all material necessary for AP exam).


Statistics topics include: descriptive statistics, graphic presentation of data, probability and probability distributions, sampling and sampling distributions, hypothesis testing (large and small samples) analysis of variance and chi-square distributions. Prerequisites: Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Pre-Calculus.
(Statistics: 10 chapters; AP: will cover all material necessary for AP exam).

Foreign Language (Spanish)

Spanish 1

This is an introductory course that teaches listening, speaking, reading and some writing with a focus on building fluency. Students read a short novel and discuss each chapter in depth in Spanish and are exposed to aspects of Mexican culture and how it compares to their own. Students also gain fluency through improvising stories and retelling short stories that they read and hear in class.

Intermediate Spanish

This course assumes mastery of all vocabulary and concepts acquired in Spanish 1. While students continue developing fluency and building vocabulary through reading and storytelling, a strong emphasis is placed on mastering the grammar concepts that they were exposed to in Spanish 1. Students read a short novel and explore aspects of the culture of Costa Rica and discuss each chapter in depth in Spanish. This course provides students with the necessary skills to effectively express themselves and comprehend spoken Spanish at a high level.

Spanish Conversation

This class is conducted in Spanish and students gain depth of mastery of all of the grammatical concepts acquired in the previous levels while at the same time acquiring new ones through the four basic language skills. Students will learn to speak extemporaneously on a variety of contemporary topics and current events and acquire the necessary vocabulary to be able to do so.

Advanced Spanish

This is a fast-paced class taught entirely in Spanish that assumes mastery of all skills acquired in previous levels, most importantly the ability to express oneself verbally in the target language. Students are also exposed to any grammatical areas not acquired previously in their studies and then see these concepts in practice in the context of a full-length novel.

Physical Education

Starting from kindergarten, the main motivation behind teaching physical education is to promote lifelong enjoyment of physical activity in order to help improve or maintain a fitness level beneficial to ones health. The learning experiences from physical education also help to promote developmental needs. Students become independent, confident, self-controlled, resilient; develop positive social skills; learn to take leadership; accept responsibility for their own behavior; learn to cooperate with others; set and seek out personal goals; and, ultimately, improve their academic performance.

The units covered in physical education class will range from cooperative games, invasion games, target games, net/wall games, fielding games, and health education. Lower school physical education class will be focusing on basic motor skills and learning to work together to achieve a specific task. Middle school and upper school, primarily, will be working on skill development in addition to learning the history, rules, and tactics of each game/activity. Knowledge and skills will be assessed before and after each unit for middle and upper school students.