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Experiential Academics

J-Term

J-Term (January Term) is an innovative ten-day program that provides students with the opportunity to dedicate themselves to a particular course or project. It offers something of interest for everyone and is an excellent way for students to pursue personal passions and explore intellectual and academic curiosities.

There are three options for J-Term: In-depth and fascinating on-campus courses, organized trips, or participation in an internship.

  • In 2019 On-Campus offerings vary from the arts, to mathematics, to engineering, to organic chemistry to name a few areas.
  • The 2019 trips include genetics research at The Jackson Lab in Bar Harbor and the Bigelow Lab for Ocean Sciences in Boothbay Harbor.
  • Internships provide yet another option for students. Participants are paired with mentors in a job-shadow environment. This allows these students to delve into the areas of their own choosing from diverse fields such as medical, research, engineering, education, law etc. Thus one of the strongest features of J-Term is that it allows students the opportunity to customize and shape their experience.

MSSM J-Term

MSSM J-Term Offerings 2019

** Registration for J-Term classes will begin after September Break **

Off-Campus Options

Internships - (Mrs. Rhodes)

During the two-week J-Term period, participating students are paired up with mentors in a job shadow environment which allows these students to delve into the fields of their own choosing. Not only does this provide invaluable experience in at least one area of potential interest, it also identifies the student as having a passion for learning that goes beyond the classroom.

The MSSM is pleased to offer suggestions and assistance in pinning down arrangements, but students and their families are responsible for the bulk of the logistics, including locating an internship site, a mentor sponsor, transportation, and lodging.

Inclusive Dates: Monday, January 7 through Friday, January 18, 2019 (Alternative dates may be available upon request.)

It is expected that students will participate in their internships from 9:00 am through 3:30 pm each weekday with a break for lunch. However, it is understood that some internships may require flexibility regarding these hours. In this case, students will be required to have their approximate hours approved by Mrs. Rhodes prior to the start of J-Term. Students interested in completing additional hours are more than welcome to do so. This could include starting before 9:00 or ending after 3:30 each day, adding extra hours on the weekend in between the two weeks of J-Term, or beginning the internship anytime after the end of the fall semester and prior to the official start of J-Term. While spending as much time as possible on site is extremely beneficial and strongly encouraged, it is important to maintain the integrity of the official hours of 9:00 am through 3:30 pm each weekday.

Prerequisites: An exploratory spirit. Minimum sophomore standing.
Limit: None

Genetics & Marine Science Research (Dr. Eustis-Grandy)

Spend J-Term working on projects at two of Maine’s premier research facilities: The Jackson Lab in Bar Harbor and the Bigelow Lab for Ocean Sciences in Boothbay Harbor. The first week of J-Term will be spent at the Jackson Lab working on a project on human personalized medicine. The second week will be spent at Bigelow, using some of the biotechnology techniques learned at JAX to work on a project related to seasonal changes in microbial communities in the Gulf of Maine.

Prerequisites: at least sophomore standing; previous Biology class, or currently enrolled in Biological Processes or Anatomy & Physiology. Students currently taking Genetics will find some repetition of what they have learned in class - talk with Dr. E-G before selecting this J-Term choice.

Costs: actual cost will depend upon the number of students, but class needs at least 8-10 students to run. With 10 students cost would be approximately $900 per student. Fee will cover food and lodging for the two week J-Term period, transportation from Bar Harbor to Boothbay Harbor, and lab supplies. A deposit of $200 is needed by Nov. 1. Parents will need to get students to Bar Harbor at the start of J-Term, and pick them up in Boothbay Harbor at the end of J-Term.

Capacity: 8-12 students

On-Campus Options

Introduction to Architecture (Ms. Hong)

Look up - what do you see? Are you in a classroom? A dining hall? Perhaps you are outside. What is the nearest building you see? Buildings and cities are everywhere around us. But they can be easily unnoticed and blended in to our everyday lives. Architecture is a diverse and complex discipline that involves art and science to plan, design and construct physical forms that provide us a place to dwell, work, play and even store things. This course will explore questions such as, What shapes the design of buildings? How do they function? How are they built? Why are they important to us? We will utilize our spatial thinking to find shapes, patterns and spatial relationships, and create a scale model of a building. Patience and attention to detail are skills required for this class.

Capacity: 10 students.

From Fantasy to Futurology (Dr. Pechenick)

From The Martian Chronicles to The Martian, from Star Wars to Star Trek, many visions have existed and do exist for what the far reaches hold, what could be out there, what likely is, and what might be accomplished in time--provided we humans survive long enough to do so. In F3, we will explore the spectrum of speculation from outright fantasy to science fiction of varying rigor to the future possibilities expressly allowed by current physical knowledge. We will explore topics ranging from whether or not we are alone in the universe to absurdly large (and absurdly small) engineering projects to what life might actually be like for an individual in a future civilization. Some physics knowledge recommended. New concepts will be taught as needed. Bring your own lightsabers.

Capacity: 12 students.

Supercalifragilistic Guided Independent Project (Mr. Desneiges)

Do you have a topic of special interest you’d like to explore further? Have you always wanted to create a documentary, a podcast, a video game or a webpage dedicated to something you’d love to explore in the areas of math, science or the humanities, but your schedule during the academic year does not allow you to do so because of limited course offerings and time restraints? This J Term is for you!

Students will use this two week course as an occasion to research, explore and create in an area of his or her choice in a fun and safe environment. There will be thinking outside of the box required. Students will submit a project proposal prior to the start of class for approval. You might want to explore an art project, compose music, write a collection of short stories, create resources for a math classroom, explore a fascinating aspect of history or science. Following a plan that you put together in your proposal, you will use the two weeks to work on your topic and create a product that can be shared with our community. See the syllabus for more details. (*Your topic must be something that you cannot achieve in one of the other J-Term courses, and one that you have not fully explored in another course.)

Prerequisites: Students will be required to submit a proposal of their projects/materials request to be approved by Monsieur Desneiges (See Mr. Desneiges for the form)

Capacity: Up to 12 Supercalifragilistic Students

Verse Versus Verse (Mr. Scott)

So you have an idea, something fun or interesting, crazy or poignant or powerful. Maybe right now it is unformed, a nebulous thing in your mind wanting to be born. What would it look like on the page arranged in a creative form? What would it sound like throbbing in the air arranged to fit a beat and a bass line?

Various art forms bring into view a different part of the same idea. In “Verse Versus Verse,” each student will get to explore their own idea by watching it take shape on the page (poetry), and then they will explore it again as it is reincarnated as a song or a rap.

Prerequisites: Any students who like to play with words and/or like to play with music or rhythm; any students who have a spirit of exploration.

Capacity: Up to 14 students.

Crash Course in Medieval England (Mr. McCartney)

For the past 1500 years, people have wondered about what life was like in Medieval England! For the past 3 years, Mr. McCartney has taught it! Now is your chance to get the full experience in just two weeks! You’ll get the chance to learn about life in the past but, more importantly, experience it. You’ll learn about castles … and build one! Listen to medieval music and craft a hurdy-gurdy! View illuminated manuscripts and try calligraphy Study medieval cuisine and prepare it! Choose your own adventures as you explore the medieval landscape! This hands-on approach to history will include some reading and film-watching but also a great deal of work making, trying, exploring and even tasting! Hopefully joined by guest lecturers, this course will be a fun introduction to the medieval period and to project-based learning

Prerequisites: An interest in the period and a desire to learn more (students from previous medieval history classes are welcome to join and help to teach!). Students must also be able to tolerate Mr. McCartney’s long-winded and circumlocutious answers to seemingly simple questions. The class may require some (fun and light [I swear]) pre-reading.

Capacity: 12 students

A Domesticated Idea: Cooking the Victorian Recipe (Dr. Brigman)

A Domesticated Idea: Cooking the Victorian Recipe is part cooking class, part literary study in the food writings of British Victorian (primarily, women) writers. Here’s why: until recently, critics have devalued the Victorian cookbook as an object of literary inquiry, regularly dismissing it as “Victoriana”—cultural, anthropological histories detailing bland culinary traditions. A Domesticated Idea: Cooking the Victorian Recipe seeks to provide students with a framework by which they can explore the Victorian cookbook as a literary text appropriated by writers responding to and advocating for cultural, educational, and artistic reform during the mid-to-late nineteenth century. Looking specifically at how women used recipes to discuss food preparation, dining, and household management, we will explore the ways British women writers participated in a collaborative tradition, borrowing and sharing knowledge, imagining communities, and generating large bodies of women’s work.

Why and how mid-century writers composed, shared, and stylized their food writings coalesced into a complicated relationship. In this project, students will focus on one particular manifestation of that relationship, the generative effects of cookbook recipes. This effect explains why women pursued, shared, and composed recipes, appropriating the medium for their own purposes. Because recipes are an instructional form of prose that creates something the reader may eat and regard as delicious (especially if made correctly), it is the recipe’s very nature to engender readers as creators. This is not to say that a recipe or a cookbook are living things, but that the testing and eating from a recipe’s instructions are a living process. In it, a life cycle exists that separates the recipe from other forms of prose. After the initial stages of reading, testing, eating, sharing, and improving upon a recipe, writers respond to new contexts and “reasons-to-be”: they share again, revise again, and continue this cycle. All recipes exist, essentially, in a complex system of collaboration. By inviting us to read and eat, they also invite us to alter.

Prerequisites: Students should have an interest in the Victorian period and a desire to learn how to cook from some of the time period’s most important (yet unsung) British women writers. Students must also be able to participate in the theoretical discussion of a unique style of English prose (the Victorian woman’s recipe) and produce final real, cooked dishes, using pre-supplied recipes from the Victorian period. The class will require some short readings and much eating.

Capacity: 10 students

Science Fiction in Film and Literature -To boldly go where no student has gone before (Mrs. Berube)

Why is science fiction so popular? In this course we will explore the science fiction genre. As we delve into this genre, we will examine the concept of the futuristic theme, the quest for eternal youth, the Tarzan syndrome, time travel, and how an optimistic or pessimistic influence reveals itself in a story. We will watch famous works such as ET, Star Trek, Jurassic Park, War of the Worlds and others. We will also read short stories which may include “The Mortal Immortal” by Mary Shelley, “The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, “The Star” by H.G. Wells and “The Stolen Bacillus” also by Wells.

After every movie or story, we will discuss the effectiveness of each piece. Students will discuss the story/movie and analyze the literary elements as well as the science fiction elements. Once we have learned the specific criteria that are required to make an effective sci-fi story, students will collaborate and write a short science fiction story to share with the class.

Prerequisite: A love for the world beyond.

Capacity: 12

Learning to Love Winter in Limestone (Mr. Tasker/Mr. Smith)

MSSM’s location in northeastern Aroostook county allows us a tremendous opportunity to worship the cold! Depending upon snow and weather conditions, we’ll learn about cold weather physiology and adaptation, snow-based transport like snowshoeing and Nordic skiing, cold weather shelter construction, nutrition in the cold- and more! Highlights last year included the building of snow “Quinzee”, the 2018 Duct-Tape Derby, building huge Snow Penguins in front of the dorm, skiing over to our “clubhouse” at Trafton Lake, traveling out to the wonderful trails at Aroostook Wildlife Refuge, and discovering how much fun can be had outside in a Limestone January.

Prerequisites: a willingness to be bold in the cold; a sense of adventure.

Capacity: 12

Stop Motion Animation (Dr. Hamlin)

Modeling clay, paper cutouts, legos, and action figures… all the best parts of kindergarten except the naps. In this J-Term we'll be learning about different stop motion techniques and using those techniques to create our own short films. We'll be viewing examples of this craft, analysing methods used by the artists who created the films, and then applying what we've learned. We will design and build sets and characters, and gradually bring those characters to life frame-by-frame.

Prerequisites: None, although please keep in mind that we'll spend quite a bit of time: moving something a tiny bit, taking a picture, moving something a tiny bit, taking a picture, moving something a tiny bit, taking a picture...

Capacity: 10

A Painless Introduction to Algebraic Topology (Dr. Rhodes)

This short, yet intensive course is intended to give the participant an introduction to the art of forming connections between superficially distinct topics in mathematics. This January we will focus on the subject of Algebraic Topology, which is essentially the study of shapes and their holes, and methods of algebratizing those shapes in an effort to broaden techniques for their study. Phew! That was a mouthful! But don’t panic, this transition will be both painless and cursory. As high school students you will primarily have the task of becoming familiar with the following list of mathematical notions over the next ten days.

In no particular order, we will discuss, Complex Integration and Cauchy’s Integral Formula, winding numbers, Point ­Set Topology and homeomorphisms, Paths. Groups; injections, surjections, bijections and presentations, Homotopy, Co­Homology of Simplicial Complexes, Mobius, Klein, graphs, knots, the Seven Bridges of Königsberg, orientable vs. non­orientable manifolds, triangulation, projective planes, The Word Problem.

In the afternoons, we will straight up be playing Find The Fool, inviting participants from other J Term classes. It’s Game Theory after all!

Prerequisites: Simultaneously less than none and more than can be reasonably expected. In other words, you need only one brain, and the courage to use it.

Capacity: 144

Weight Training and Fitness Programming (Sullivan)

Trying to figure out how to train in the gym to improve your sport, or just trying to get in better shape? Weight training and fitness is a course designed for those who would like to be active every day during the J-term. The course is open to all athletic levels and will be tailored to those levels. The course is designed to offer the participant a way to complete a realistic fitness goal in two weeks, learn about various types of weight-lifting, running and walking as well as introducing non traditional athletic skills. The class will be active in directed training during the mornings, break for lunch and then there will be opportunity for group sport, inside and or outdoors.

Prerequisite: none

Capacity: 10

Space, Time, and Stuff: conceptual modern physics (Barrans)

Nothing can travel faster than light. Matter is made of waves, and light sometimes acts like particles. Time slows down the faster you move. E = mc2. Antimatter might be matter moving backward in time. We don’t know what most of the universe is made of.

What is the origin of such outlandish statements, and what do they really mean? We’ll explore three ways that physics was remade in the past century: special relativity, quantum mechanics, and the standard model of particles and forces. We’ll see how these not-so-crazy ideas came about, and why we think they’re accurate. We’ll look at some resulting philosophical paradoxes, and their possible resolutions.

Prerequisites: none. Preference given to students not enrolled in Fields and Spacetime.

Capacity: 16 Students

Organic Chemistry (Mr. Dougan)

This course is an experimentally based introduction to organic chemistry. A one hour lecture will be followed by an experiment involving synthesis or isolation of a compound. This is a very hands-on J-term requiring at least a B average in the first semester of honors chemistry or an overall average of a B for students that have completed a year of honors chemistry. Techniques that will be explored include: thin layer and gas chromatography, use of a separatory funnel, fractional distillation, refluxing and microscale synthesis. Lab reports are required as well as a PowerPoint presentation. This is an excellent course for students with an interest in medical careers, chemical engineering and chemistry.

Capacity: 10 students

United States Senate Simulation (Melega)

This two-week long course will introduce students to the United States Senate as an institution. Students will gain an understanding of the Senate’s history and traditions while also learning how the upper chamber of the United States Congress works today. In this course, students will take on the roles of current public officials and senators in an effort to gain a better appreciation for the complicated set of political relationships and impediments that make governing the United States in 2019 so difficult. Since this class runs as a simulation, students must be prepared to maintain fidelity to the roles they are assigned. Failure to do this will not only affect one’s grade, but it will lessen everyone else’s experience in the class. Special attention to political reform topics will be given priority in this class.

Prerequisite: None; Students who have taken U.S. Government and/or Debate Madness have priority.

Minimum: 15*

Maximum: None

*In the event this course does not meet its sign up minimum threshold, the class will revert to Debate Madness: Current Issues and Rhetoric (for first-time enrollees) and Advanced Debate (for students who have previously taken Debate Madness).

*Debate Madness: Current Issues and Rhetoric (Melega)

As a national and global community, we face an ever increasing number of decisions to be made on controversial topics. More often than not, these issues have two sides (if not more) with individuals passionately arguing for both. In this course, students will become well versed in a variety of the more pressing issues of our time. Once students have acquired a content mastery, they will charge up their intellectual batteries for battle on the debate floor. The task will be to convince their peers of their position, but simple facts will not be enough. Students must be ready to perform and use a variety of debate tactics and devices to not only win the debate, but to win it with style. Student input on debate topics will be welcomed and encouraged. In addition to debate, students should also be prepared to participate in a mock trial and/or a mock legislative session.

Prerequisite: none

Maximum: no limit on number of students

Special Notes: Students who have taken previous debate classes during prior J-Terms are welcome to sign up again under the course name “Advanced Debate.” Students in this position will have some added responsibilities to help make the class go smoothly. Our exploration of issue topics varies from year to year.

Snow Sculptures (Dr. Gårdestig)

Come test your snow sculpture building skills! We will explore different building techniques and work on challenging load bearing creations (such as bridges, arches, etc.). The sky’s the limit!

Prerequisites: None

Minimum: 8

Maximum: none

Special Note #1: Since most of our time will be spent outdoors building and experimenting in the snow, North Maine appropriate winter gear is required.

Special Note #2: In case there is no abundance of snow, this offering will be converted to Physics in Movies.

Physics in Movies (Dr. Gårdestig)

Lights, camera, PHYSICS! Let’s explore some great movies and discuss how the art of physics was used or how certain scenes defy science. Movie buffs and physics aficionados equally welcome. Prepare to learn some physics and have a great time!

Prerequisites: none, but a general interest in movies and/or physics would certainly be helpful!

Minimum: 8

Special Note: in case of low interest this offering will be converted to Traditional Swedish Outdoor Games.

Traditional Swedish Outdoor Games (Dr. Gårdestig)

Channel your inner Viking and learn about ancient Swedish games! You will learn the basics of Kubb and Brännboll (literally translated: burn ball). We will start in the maker space and make our own kubb sets and brännboll bats.

Prerequisites: a playful spirit

Minimum: 5

Maximum: none

Past J-Term Offerings

MSSM J-Term Offerings 2018

Maine School of Science and Mathematics

J-Term 2018 Course Descriptions

Off Campus Options

Internships - Rhodes (Millie)

During the two-week J-Term period, participating students are paired up with mentors in a job shadow environment which allows these students to delve into the fields of their own choosing. Not only does this provide invaluable experience in at least one area of potential interest, it also identifies the student as having a passion for learning that goes beyond the classroom.

The MSSM is pleased to offer suggestions and assistance in pinning down arrangements, but students and their families are responsible for the bulk of the logistics, including locating an internship site, a mentor sponsor, transportation, and lodging.

Inclusive Dates: Monday, January 8 through Friday, January 19, 2018 (Alternative dates may be available upon request.)

It is expected that students will participate in their internships from 9:00 am through 3:30 pm each weekday with a break for lunch. However, it is understood that some internships may require flexibility regarding these hours. In this case, students will be required to have their approximate hours approved by Mrs. Rhodes prior to the start of J-Term. Students interested in completing additional hours are more than welcome to do so. This could include starting before 9:00 or ending after 3:30 each day, adding extra hours on the weekend in between the two weeks of J-Term, or beginning the internship anytime after the end of the fall semester and prior to the official start of J-Term. While spending as much time as possible on site is extremely beneficial and strongly encouraged, it is important to maintain the integrity of the official hours of 9:00 am through 3:30 pm each weekday.

Prerequisites: An exploratory spirit. Minimum sophomore standing.
Limit: None

Genetics Research at the Jackson Lab (Eustis-Grandy)

Spend J-Term 2018 at the world-renowned genetics research facility, The Jackson Laboratory, located in Bar Harbor, Maine. If you’re interested in genetics, and would like the opportunity to play with some high-tech toys, then this is the J-Term for you. This highly hands-on class will focus on human personalized medicine and another topic still to be determined. Personalized medicine involves developing customized approaches to the treatment/prevention of disease, utilizing a thorough analysis of a person’s genome as a starting point.

Prerequisites: previous Biology class, or currently enrolled in Biological Processes or Anatomy & Physiology. Not recommended for students currently taking Genetics.
Costs: actual cost will depend upon the number of students, but class needs at least 8- 10 students to run. With 10 students cost would be approximately $800 per student. Fee will cover room and board at High Seas (the mansion the JAX summer students stay in) for the two week J-Term period, and lab supplies. A deposit of $200 is needed by Nov. 1.
Enrollment: need a minimum of 8 students to run the class, 10 preferred

Marine Research in the Bahamas (Hamlin & Brigman)

Spend J-Term 2018 at the Island School and Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI) on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas. CEI conducts research in the fields of tropical marine and terrestrial sciences, resource management, aquaculture, and sustainable design. Participants will work on a research project with CEI scientists and MSSM faculty, while also enjoying warm weather, beautiful scenery, and a variety of outdoor activities. Previous projects have included catching and tagging sea turtles, studying bonefish, collecting blood samples from sharks, and dissecting lionfish. In addition to the research aspect, students will have plenty of opportunities for snorkeling, biking, hanging out on the beach, and exploring the island. Jan 3-17 (Two weeks!) Visit www.ceibahamas.org for more information.

Prerequisites: none
Costs: actual cost will depend upon the number of students and airline prices. Estimated cost is $3400. A deposit of $1000 is needed by Oct 15th (I need to clear this date with CEI & Business office)
Enrollment: 8-12 students

On Campus Options

Science Fiction in Film and Literature (Berube)

Why is science fiction so popular? In this course we will explore the science fiction genre. As we delve into this genre, we will examine the concept of the futuristic theme, the quest for eternal youth, the Tarzan syndrome, time travel, and how an optimistic or pessimistic influence reveals itself in a story. We will watch famous works such as ET, Star Trek, Jurassic Park, War of the Worlds and others. We will also read short stories which may include “The Mortal Immortal” by Mary Shelley, “The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, “The Star” by H.G. Wells and “The Stolen Bacillus” also by Wells just to name a few.

After every movie or story, we will discuss the effectiveness of each piece. Students will discuss the story/movie and analyze the literary elements as well as the science fiction elements. Once we have learned the specific criteria that are required to make an effective sci-fi story, students will collaborate and write a short science fiction story to share with the class.

Prerequisite: A love for the world beyond.
Maximum: 12 students

Weight Training and Fitness Programming (Sullivan)

Trying to figure out how to train in the gym to improve your sport, or just trying to get in better shape? Weight training and fitness is a course designed for those who would like to be active every day during the J-term. The course is open to all athletic levels and will be tailored to those levels. The course is designed to offer the participant a way to complete a realistic fitness goal in two weeks, learn about various types of weight-lifting, running and walking as well as introducing nontraditional athletic skills. The class will be active in directed training during the mornings, break for lunch and then there will be opportunity for group sport, inside and or outdoors.

Prerequisite: none
Maximum: 10

Ateliers d’art et d’artisanat/ Arts and Crafts Workshops (Desneiges)

Français : On fait des projets artistiques amusants tout en français. On étudie les grands artistes, les mouvements artistiques, les techniques, la culture et l'histoire de l'art. En faisant un portfolio de nos oeuvres à travers nos deux semaines ensemble, nous nous préparons pour notre exposé communautaire ainsi que pour notre galérie d'art. Vous aurez le choix de travailler dans les petits groupes qui font plusieurs activités différentes.

Conditions préalables: Minimum de deux années de français complétées avec une note finale de B ou plus. Maximum de 16 étudiants.

English: We will be making fun and artistic creations conducted entirely in French. We will study some of the great masters, artistic movements, technique, culture and a bit of art history. In doing our work we create an artist’s portfolio made up of our artistic works over the course of our two week workshops which will culminate in a gallery exposition open to our school community. Students will work in small groups on a variety of different projects and themes.

Prerequisites: Minimum of two years of French completed with a grade of B or higher.
Maximum: 16 students.

Organic Chemistry (Dougan)

This course is an experimentally based introduction to organic chemistry. A one hour lecture will be followed by an experiment involving synthesis or isolation of a compound. This is a very hands-on J-term requiring at least a B average in the first semester of honors chemistry or an overall average of a B for students that have completed a year of honors chemistry. Techniques that will be explored include: thin layer and gas chromatography, use of a separatory funnel, fractional distillation, refluxing and microscale synthesis. Lab reports are required as well as a PowerPoint presentation. This is an excellent course for students with an interest in medical careers, chemical engineering and chemistry.

Prerequisite: at least a B average in the first semester of honors chemistry or an overall average of a B for students that have completed a year of honors chemistry.
Maximum: 10 students

Atmospheric Science (Barrans)

Why are most prominent wineries in France, California, Chile, Australia, and South Africa? Why is Maine colder than Vancouver? Is global warming real? How does a meteorologist make a weather forecast, and can we trust it? Will it snow tomorrow? Is predicting the course of a hurricane different than making a local forecast? In this brief course, you'll learn about important atmospheric variables, what they mean, and why they matter. You will access atmospheric data and interpret it, so that you can explain and predict the weather here and elsewhere. May include visits to the National Weather Service facility in Caribou.

Prerequisites: Sophomore standing or above.
Maximum: 12

Debate Madness: Current Issues and Rhetoric (Melega)

Course Overview:

As a national and global community, we face an ever increasing number of decisions to be made on controversial topics. More often than not, these issues have two sides (if not more) with individuals passionately arguing for both. In this course, students will become well versed in a variety of the more pressing issues of our time. Once students have acquired a content mastery, they will charge up their intellectual batteries for battle on the debate floor. The task will be to convince their peers of their position, but simple facts will not be enough. Students must be ready to perform and use a variety of debate tactics and devices to not only win the debate, but to win it with style. Student input on debate topics will be welcomed and encouraged. In addition to debate, students should also be prepared to participate in a mock trial and/or a mock legislative session.

Prerequisite: none
Maximum: no limit on number of students

Special Notes: Students who have taken previous debate classes during prior J-Terms are welcome to sign up again. Our exploration of issue topics varies from year to year.

Galois, Zariski and Somer (Mark Rhodes)

This mathematically intensive, and amusing(honest), January Term course is intended to give the participant an introduction to the art of forming connections between superficially distinct topics in mathematics. Specifically, this year I will introduce you to algebraic structures such as groups, rings and fields, while simultaneously exploring the beautiful connection between these algebraic objects and sets of points defined by systems of polynomial equations. In short, you will be introduced to Galois Theory(Evariste Galois) and Algebraic Geometry(Oscar Zariski). William Somer(Google is your friend) will certainly make several appearances in the afternoons! As high school students you will primarily have the task of becoming familiar with the following list of mathematical notions over the next ten days.

Prerequisites: The material does require some mathematical maturity. This roughly translates to Before Calculus as a co-requisite. If you are not sure if this course if for you, please come and talk to me.
Costs: One soul.
Enrollment: Yes, enrollment is required.

Old Timey Radio Presents: The War of the Worlds! (McCartney and Scott)

On Halloween in 1938, CBS Radio, in association with The Mercury Theatre on the Air, aired a live adaptation of H.G. Wells’ classic story The War of the Worlds, directed and starring Orson Welles… and it scared the heck out of the United States of America (supposedly)! In honor of the 80th anniversary of that seminal production, MSSM is going to take the original script and adapt it, ultimately producing, recording, and marketing our own version of the 1938 spectacular – which may take a variety of forms.

This is a wonderful opportunity for those of you who are yearning to spread your theatrical wings but may not relish the idea of either being onstage or memorizing lines! However, there is more to do than just speak into a microphone! Students will help in all aspects of production, from acting and sound-effects to research and direction. Finally, we will explore how this feature, which was condemned by the serious press of the day as disastrous fake news, compares to our current, troubling conception of “fake news.”

Prerequisites: All students will need to read the original (and short) War of the Worlds before J-Term begins. Apart from that, you should sign up for this class if you’re interested in any of all of aspects of this radio drama as mentioned above!
Maximum: 16

Introduction to Architecture (Hong)

Look up - what do you see? Are you in a classroom? A dining hall? Perhaps you are outside. What is the nearest building you see? Buildings and cities are everywhere around us. But they can be easily unnoticed and blended into our everyday lives. Architecture is a diverse and complex discipline that involves art and science to plan, design and construct physical forms that provide us a place to dwell, work, play and even store things. This course will explore questions such as, What shapes the design of buildings? How do they function? How are they built? Why are they important to us? We will utilize our spatial thinking to find shapes, patterns and spatial relationships, and create a scale model of a building. Patience and attention to detail are skills required for this class.

Learning to Love Winter in Limestone (Tasker/Smith)

MSSM’s location in northeastern Aroostook county allows us a tremendous opportunity to worship the cold! Depending upon snow and weather conditions, we’ll learn about cold weather physiology and adaptation, snow-based transport like snowshoeing and Nordic skiing, cold weather shelter construction, nutrition in the cold- and more! Highlights last year included the 2017 Duct-Tape Derby, building huge Snow Penguins in front of the dorm, skiing over to our “clubhouse” at Trafton Lake, traveling out to the wonderful trails at Aroostook Wildlife Refuge, and discovering how much fun can be had outside in a Limestone January.

Prerequisites: a willingness to be bold in the cold; a sense of adventure.
Maximum: 12

Harry Potter: The Science of and the Methods of Rationality (Pedersen - This course will be offered if and only if I do NOT go to Japan. )

This will be two weeks of exploring and examining the Harry Potter series via the books and movies specializing on the development of the characters, the methods of rationality and the science of Harry Potter. If this course runs, each student will need two books: Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality by Fliezer Yudkowsky and The Science of Harry Potter: How Magic Really works by Roger Highfield.

J Term in Japan

J-TERM IN JAPAN

Submitted by James Robertson, Residential Instructor

Our travels to Japan went quite smoothly and we ended up at our first hotel at the time we had scheduled to arrive. Our first day in Japan was spent at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka. While we were there we toured The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, rode a variety of rides, ate Japan’s version of park food, and just had a fun time. In the evening chaos struck in the form of gastrointestinal distress. Our plans immediately changed to accommodate the afflicted. Fortunately, our hosts at Hikone Higashi High School were fantastic accommodating hosts. Unfortunately, the ailments and perceived contagious levels of our students cancelled all but our first day in Hikone.

After a long three days recovering our health and sanity our group headed off to Tokyo. Upon arrival we stopped at a local hospital to confirm that we

were given a clean bill of health and ready to tackle the final third of our trip. (As a side note, if you ever find yourself in Japan and needing to go to the

ER, don’t hesitate to go. The tests we went through, while not cheap, were very affordable.) Upon confirmation that we were all in good health, we unpacked at the luxurious RIHGA Royal Hotel next to Waseda University. For dinner, we made our way to a conveyor belt sushi restaurant. You have to credit Japan for this really cool restaurant style where they essentially sit you at the buffet and run it by you for your convenience and you grab what you want from it.

The next morning, we awoke to a rare Tokyo snowstorm. We put on our tough faces and trekked to the train station where we hopped onto a bullet train northbound. This storm cancelled the hopper tour bus we planned to take, closed the restaurant where we were to have dinner, and slowed the bullet trains. In spite of this, we took the normal bus to the

Ōsaki Hachimangū shrine in Sendai where we were met with bitter cold and wet weather which was juxtaposed against ancient and grand scenery which created a foreboding and raw atmosphere that had a wild beauty to it. We then made our way to Koriyama, a medium sized city in Fukushima. We had the opportunity to go shopping, visit a large Japanese arcade, and feast at a “grill your own food” (Yakniku) restaurant. We made it back to Tokyo and thankfully the four inches of snow had melted.

On our final day we explored Tokyo in pristine weather. We were able to see the touristy old district of Asakusa, electronics and anime filled district of Akihabara, and dined on authentic ramen in the often overlooked district of Kanda. By now, we were traveling on the trains and subways like we were professionals, making connections and deftly maneuvering through crowds. It was such a disappointment that we had to pack and leave the next day after getting our feet wet. We did some last minute shopping then made our way to the airport where we bid farewell to Japan and began our long journey back to the states.


J Term in Dominican Republic

J-TERM ADVENTURE IN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Submitted by James Torruelas, Spanish Instructor

On January 11, 2016, five MSSM students and two chaperones, Spanish teacher James Torruellas and Louise Hamlin, R.N., gathered at Logan

International airport, in Boston, ready to embark on a most significant and memorable adventure-The Santo Domingo J-Term.

The event was a resounding success. Here are some of reasons why:

  • We were able to finally establish a working “sister school, partnership plan” wherein the Spanish department and the Spanish club at MSSM have an objective toward providing meaningful and practical service, not only by working with IPPC (Pilar Constanzo Polytechnic Institute), but also with the two community schools managed by the administration of IPPC- The Salesian Society, an order of the Catholic church;
  • All five students received 6 days of rich cultural and linguistic immersion by living with ordinary, Dominican families tied to IPPC;
  • Professional contacts were established with key IPPC faculty and administration that pave the way for future exchanges and academic interaction with MSSM;
  • Our MSSM students created lifelong friends with whom they will continue to share experiences and exchange cultural activities in the future.

All of this—round trip airfare from Boston to the Dominican Republic, 6 days, lodging, food, sites, ground transportation, IPPC school uniforms, 3 days in foreign school environment—for $1,295 per student.

For more photos of this wonderful experience, please visit MSSM’s Facebook page.