Study Groups

Voyagers Coop Days typically consist of about 4 hours of small-group activities for Coop Day members -- what we call Study Groups -- and 2 hours of unstructured time. During the unstructured time, we share a meal, chat, make plans for the Coop Day, and play. Study groups are planned collectively by the families attending that Coop Day. Most study groups are led by members of that Coop Day, though families sometimes decide to bring in an outside instructor. Participation in Study Groups is based on interest and ability, not age. 

Study groups change each term. Each term we plan a new set of Study Groups, based on the interests of the members of the Coop Day. While the initial planning process takes place during the prior term, adjustments to the schedule may be made through the beginning of the term, depending on demand.

The study groups planned for Spring 2018 are:

Tuesday

Theatre & Dance Exploration: Over twelve weeks, students will be introduced to basic theater and dance terminology and be exposed to different genres of theater and dance.  There will also be performance opportunities through skits, choreography and singing.

World Geography: Take a trip around the globe and gain an introduction to world geography, exploring different cultures and gaining a better understanding of the world around us.  

Engineering Exploration: Gain an understanding of basic engineering principles through weekly building challenges.  

Drawing: Gain skills in figure drawing and more in this one hour hands-on course.

Mythology Prep: Prepare for the 2018 National Mythology Exam.  Learn all that you need to know in Greek mythology along with basic study and test taking skills to take the exam.  

Crafting: Learn how to complete several crafts including jewelry making and more in the one hour hands-on course.

Norse Mythology: Our primary focus will be the content of D'Aulaires Norse Mythology, but we may also cover Norse Folktales if there is interest.  

Wednesday

Yoga Tales/Fitness: We will continue to learn more poses ( asanas ), types of yoga, mindfulness and lifestyles of a yogi. Class will conclude with a short story related to that days class.Also: obstacle courses, sport activities and fun games.

Current Events: This will be a discussion based study group. We will discuss current events of interest to members of the group. This could involve topics like politics, science, environment, important world events, human rights, and more. Format will probably vary - we'll look at videos, articles online, hard copies, etc. We will also learn about fake news and how to recognize it and tell whether a news source is reliable.

Crafting Mythological Creatures: Alicorns, Griffins and Wisps - oh my! Explore mythological creatures from around the world throughout history. Learn their cultural origins, special powers and how their stories carry on today. Each week will study a new group of creatures and craft our own versions in various mediums.

Math Playful Fun: This study group will be play based and focus on various beginner aspects of math, geared to the level of the group.  Includes number concepts, place value, addition, subtraction, patterns, geometry, money, estimation, fractions, multiplication, division, measurement, statistics - we'll learn a little bit of everything!  

Music Theory 101: This study group is an introduction to the basics and beginning fundamentals of music theory.  This is ideal for the student that has always "played by ear" but doesn't yet have any formal training. This study group will include note recognition,  note and rest duration, basic time signature, and whole and half steps.  We will correlate notes with piano keys (pictorially) as reference. 

Latin 2 continued: This group will be the 2nd half of High School Latin 2.  We’ll be starting at approximately chapter 38 in Ecce Romani. Participants will be prepared to sit for the National Latin Exam Level 2 in March. 

Super Fun Science: Volcanos and geysers and glowing water, Oh my!  We’ll be doing some fun experiments together to learn a variety of neat science topics including but not limited to learning about atoms and molecules, density, exothermic reactions, and forms of energy and more.  Come join the fun!

Destination Imagination: Continuation of fall semester.

Psychology: In this study group we will introduce students to basic psychology. Topics covered will include the history of psychology; famous psychologists and their discoveries; brain structure/function; sensation and perception; sleep and dreaming; memory; personality and self; stress, health and coping; prejudice and stereotyping; learning; nature versus nurture. 

DnD: Dungeons and dragons is a tabletop fantasy role-playing game that takes place in medieval times. You will create a character, go on quests with other player characters, battle monsters, solve problems, gain experiences to level up, become more powerful and have a good time.

Philosophy and World Religions: In this study group we will learn about world religions, major figures, holidays, geography, beliefs and the roles that they played in history, literature and current events.   We will also learn about philosophy by using modules created at Mt. Holyoke College.  The main categories are; asthetics, epistemology, ethics, existentialism, logic, metaphysics, multicultarism, language, the mind, religion and society.  

Volunteer Club: Have you ever felt like you wanted to make a difference , but, did not know where to start ? Join other like minded people as we put our hearts and minds together and put wishing into doing ! Community service project ideas, awareness of issues, brainstorming, planning and doing are what this group is all about.

World War 1: Starting with the spark that started the war, we will discuss cause and effect, technological advances in war, including artillary, airwar, tanks, chemicalwarfare. This class may get a bit graphic, as we plan on discussing the Armenian Genocide, large scale casualties and civilian targeting. Closing with the Treaty of Versailles, there will be an end of study group project  to be determined.

Art and Artists: A brief study of famous artists and their techniques/materials and then we will try our hand at creating something in the same style. Mostly painting, some mixed media possible. 

Hull House: Living Democracy in the Progressive Era: This Problem-Based Learning curriculum focuses on the Progressive Era of American history through a specific problem faced by the Board of Directors of the Hull House in Chicago.

Jane Addams, Hull House co-founder, has lobbied for labor reform, and as a result, a prominent Chicagoan has threatened to withdraw financial support. Hull House had been planning to start programs to improve health, advocate for better working conditions, provide educational programs, support better juvenile justice, and improve housing. Now there is funding available for only one of these projects.

As members of the Board of Directors, the students must decide which project to fund. As they consider their options, they learn about the living and working conditions of America’s immigrant poor during the Progressive Era through the study of primary resources, letters, cartoons, and newspaper articles. Using guided discussions and graphic organizers, they synthesize this information as they compare the consequences of a variety of social ills. In doing, so they uncover underlying issues and prejudices and discover the inequities of the time.

American Sign Language: This is a continuation of a study group from the fall.  Beginning American Sign Language class will focus on fingerspelling, beginning communication signs, vocabulary building, sentence structure, discussion of the Deaf community, and discussion of how ASL is uniquely different than English. ⅓ of the time will be on games. ⅓ of the time will be on review and practice. ⅓ of the time will be on learning new information. 15-30 min of homework practice will be given weekly.

Geography: The plan is to spend 1/2 the time on world geography, 1/2 on US, though adjustments can be made based on interest. We’ll mainly focus on physical geography—boundaries, major cities and capitals, large or important waterways, and ecological features. There might be some kind of project, but it can be worked on in class time, with minimal homework.

Thursday

Swim or Gym Time at the Y: Swim group would meet at the YMCA for 45-50 mins for free swim and lap swimming or you may use any of the Y's facilities available during that time. 

Art for Wellness: In this study group students will use art as a tool for self-awareness, self-expression, learning and personal growth. Students will explore mindfulness, meditation, and other techniques for mental and emotional well-being through a variety of projects which might include Zentangle, mandalas, mazes, and journaling. The environment will be supportive and safe, allowing students to confront issues of anxiety, fear, conflict and depression as well as celebrate diversity, community, aspirations, and friendship. 

Star Ship Artemis: Come in with a computer and play Star Ship Artemis, a simulator which is similar to Star Trek and makes you feel like you are on the bridge of a star ship.  We will be role-playing as weapons, helm etc.

Study Hall: You'll get a chance to work on whatever you need to for your MCC or other classes. Various Voyagers parents will be on hand to provide help as needed, in an  atmosphere conducive to focus.

Ultimate Frisbee: Come play ultimate Frisbee! Ultimate is a soccer-like sport using a frisbee. We play casually, no experience is necessary, although being willing to learn how to throw and catch a frisbee is a plus!

Walk, Talk, Photograph!: We will get out for a 30 minute walk from Voyagers, take some photos with phones,  and then talk about images. A variety of photography books will be available. Expectations:  One photo per week with a particular theme explored such as strong lines, curves, colors, faces, nature, industrial structures, architecture  or food. The power of cropping photos will be discussed. The power of visual images will be discussed. What do you see in your everyday world?

A Little Light Physics 2: A continuation of the previous term's investigation into light. In this study group we'll be exploring developments of the 1800s through mid-1900s (such as the understanding of polarization, measurements of light's speed, unification of light's spectrum into the realm of the rest of electromagnetic radiation, investigation of fluorescence and bio-luminescence, and the beginnings of quantum physics). 

This group will have a bit of out-of-class reading and some homework, and you'll get the most out of the study group if you do that in addition to the in-class work. Basic algebra and a familiarity with the basics of geometry (angle measures, parallel lines, triangles, circles, parabolas, ellipses and the like) are assumed. It is helpful if you've had some exposure to the trigonometric sine function. Other needed math will be taught as part of the study group. 

There will be experimentation and demonstrations, and you'll get more time to play with Caryn's optical toys (kaleidoscopes, lenses, prisms, infrared and ultraviolet sensitive items, lasers, glow-in-the dark and fluorescent items, etc)!

DnD: A role playing game of combat, lore, and humor! We'll make our "character sheets" to choose what characters we'll play together, and play them out in Dungeons and Dragons version 5. Rolling dice to decide who can see the enemy, picking up story elements to attain your next mission, and seeing who can drink the most mead in a tavern. The possibilities are (almost) endless!

Intro to Cosplay: Heard about "cosplay" from a friend and want to make sure they're not crazy? Have ten Marvel costumes in your closet and want to try something new? Intro to cosplay is for anyone who wants to create! We'll work together figuring out what characters to make, our budgets, and how we want to make them. With duct tape and a supportive room of fandom dwellers on our side, we should each have a costume to call our own by the end of the semester.

Mix it up!: We will mix up cookies, bread, and snacks, that you can take home to bake! 

Theater/Drama Group: Join us to put on a one act play! We will be a small cast (minimum 4 people). This study group will cover the basics of putting on a production including character development, staging, basic set/costume design, a few drama games, general acting tips, and tons of fun. Rebecca, Sylvia, and Telynia will be co-directing this production and it will be largely based upon the interest of the participants.

Current Events: We will begin by discussing bias, spin, "fake news", media literacy, and what is "newsworthy". Each week we will discuss a variety of current state, national, and international events and issues. Topics will include American politics, major conflicts around the globe, international politics, the economy, social justice, and other subjects that arise and are of interest to the group. Many topics require maturity. 

Learn Notetaking with TED Talks: Learn to take notes while watching fascinating TED Talks. We'll discuss different methods for taking notes so that you can find your favorite. We'll choose which TED Talks to watch, and have time both to discuss the notes you took and the talk itself. Notetaking is a crucial skill for college success --  this study group will be a relatively painless way to learn how to do it!

Money, Money, Money: Hey! I'm supposed to be getting $10/hour? How come my check is for $287.46? You need HOW MUCH?!? to retire? Can I really save a million dollars?!? I found a great apartment and awesome roommates! Can I afford it? What should I know about my roommates? They seem nice and that's enough, right? Taxes? Everyone is talking about what they are doing with their refund, how do I get mine? What do you mean my account is overdrawn? I still have checks!

These topics and many more will be covered as we touch on all the ways money affects the lives of responsible (and irresponsible) adults. We will talk about earning, saving, spending and investing $$$$. Budgets, borrowing, credit reports, taxes, retirement accounts, charitable giving, etc. Job applications to rental agreements we'll talk about the $$. We'll work with real world numbers for several different life stages and economic classes.

Open Discussion Group for Controversial Topics: An open ended conversation for teen members who want to talk openly and honestly about Feminism, gender, sexuality, politics and other pertinent issues.  The participants will decide what we talk about.  It's a time for tea and talking.

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