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Welcome!

This site is a virtual extension of my classroom. Each class has its own page (accessible by clicking the links above) where you can find syllabi, weekly agendas, handouts, readings, and more. Feel free to explore; there's lots to see, including samples of student work and photo albums of past classes. Enjoy your visit—and, if you're a current student in my class, come often!

What does it mean to be human? Students in AP Seminar will explore this perennial question by looking at a wide range of perspectives that bridge the sciences and humanities. Although specific topics change from year to year, investigating what it means to be human in the 21st century encourages us to ask a core set of enduring questions: What characterizes basic human nature? What, if anything, separates human beings from plants, animals, and machines? What should be emphasized about our mental lives? What drives human behaviors like making art, falling in love, or going to war?

AP Seminar is a foundational course in the AP Capstone Program, and its successful completion is a prerequisite to become eligible for taking AP Research

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AP Research allows students to deeply explore an academic topic, problem, or issue of individual interest.Through this exploration, students design, plan, and conduct a year-long research based investigation to address a research question.

 

In the AP Research course, students further their skills acquired in the AP Seminar course by understanding research methodology; employing ethical research practices; and accessing, analyzing, and synthesizing information as they address a research question. The course culminates in an academic paper of 4000–5000 words (accompanied by a performance or exhibition of product where applicable) and a presentation with an oral defense.

This advanced, college-preparatory course surveys what has happened throughout the history of the United States. It is also an introduction to the way professional historians and others have written “the story of America.” In books, movies, classrooms, campaign speeches, museums, and more, people have told stories about the United States—stories complete with heroes, villains, and lessons to be learned. None of these stories give us the complete picture of what it means to be an American. “The story of America,” Harvard historian Jill Lepore reminds us, “isn’t carved in stone, or even inked on parchment; it is, instead, told, and fought over, again and again."

You don’t need to be a trained scientist to notice patterns in the way objects move through space: apples always fall towards the Earth’s surface; the moon always moves westward across the sky each night. But during the classical period in Greece and the Islamic Golden Age in the Arabian Peninsula, human beings began to formulate arguments about the causes of these patterns, and their rigorous observations and theories would later influence European astronomers and mathematicians during the scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries.  In the centuries since, physicists’ mathematical models of motion and energy have helped human beings design thrilling roller coasters, safer cars, Wi-Fi-enabled mobile phones, and telescopes that reveal the origins of the cosmos.

© 2015-2020 by Max Cecil.