Click the course titles for a week-by-week dive into each Immersive.
Applied Chemistry: From baking a loaf of sourdough bread to creating flavored foams to preparing the perfect steak, the principles of chemistry are everywhere in the kitchen. In this immersive students step into a kitchen that is also a laboratory. Students get hands-on experience applying scientific techniques (spherification, infusion, separation using a centrifuge, flash freezing) to the creation of edible dishes. This is paired with discussion of the scientific phenomenon behind their creations: from exploring functional groups of organic molecules and their impact on the flavor of food, identifying the intermolecular forces involved in the creation of emulsions and infusions, marveling a the complex chemical reactions underlying baked bread and meats, utilizing thermodynamics to create temperature setting noodles, to investigating the role of solubility in preparing candy and chocolate. Prerequisites: Conceptual Physics 1 and Chemistry 1
Astronomy: This immersive course sees students living lives of professional astronomers while using the Tuolumne Skies Observatory in Groveland, CA. The course starts at Bay, learning the basics of how to run our research level observatory and then spends 6-8 nights running the observatory. Students learn the ins-and-outs of telescope operations skills, astronomical data collection, image processing techniques and data management skills. With our exclusive use of this observatory, students search for exoplanets and novel projects. Prerequisite: Conceptual Physics 1
Immersive Art Studio: What is it like to live the day-to-day life of an artist, working feverishly in their own studio, gradually assembling a body of artwork for a gallery exhibition? It can be exhausting, but it is undoubtedly rewarding to the soul. This immersive takes the course concept of an advanced studio course and radically authenticates its studio practice by re-orienting the classroom to an off-campus warehouse/studio, embracing the concept that effective and expansive creative space, accompanied by a student’s time-intensive inhabitation of the space, enables art to go to a deeper place. Each student enrolled in the course will have a dedicated “studio space”, or a wide array of walls of their own. The course will encourage the student's deepening of skills in all painting and drawing media, including oil paint. Rather than place emphasis on the “how-to”, this advanced studio course encourages students to dig deeply into one’s own art - experimenting, refining, assessing, reworking, and then fine-tuning - while working gradually towards a culminating exhibition. Prerequisite: Drawing 1B or Painting 1B.
Biotechnology: What is it like to work in a biotechnology research laboratory? How can the skills students have learned in Bay’s core science courses be applied to the “real world” of scientific research in a rigorous lab-based setting? Students in this course undertake a deep investigation into molecular biology and into the professional skills required to work in the technical field. Prerequisite: Chemistry 1
Buddhism: The essence of Buddhism is to awaken, to be free in the midst of this changing world. Buddhism has a long and rich history from ancient India to the Bay Area. Students study that history with an emphasis on how Buddhism has impacted the West, revolutionizing disciplines from neuroscience and psychology to education. This class is experiential; it offers teachings and skills that give students a chance to change the way they perceive themselves and their world—to see more clearly and be more authentic. Topics of study include Buddhist ethics, the Two Truths, the Eightfold Path, The Four Foundations of Mindfulness, and the profound teaching of Dependent Origination.
California Natural History: How have humans been influenced by the California landscape? How do humans, in turn, leave their mark on this landscape? This course blends humanities and science as students explore a selected California ecosystem in-depth, from indigenous interactions with the land to art and writing inspired by the natural environment, to current changes to the landscape wrought by California’s ever-expanding human population. Students are introduced to the science of ecology and methods of quantifying ecosystem services, with a goal of inspiring stewardship of California’s natural communities. The course is centered around a one-week field expedition to the selected ecosystem. Immersing themselves in the ecosystem of study gives students a unique opportunity to grapple with these challenges in depth.
Biology of Health & Wellness: How can we use current biological research to understand how to build a happy and healthy lifestyle? This immersive course introduces students to the biology of the human body, with a focus on how exercise, nutrition, sleep, and stress affect biological processes. This is investigated through readings in current journals and biology texts as well as extensive self-experimentation. Students research, test, and assess current understandings and practices in these four major components of a healthy lifestyle using the scientific method, building skills in the design of experiments, the collection and analysis of data, and the creation of mathematical models. As a final project, students create a report that utilizes their research and experimental results to describe best practices for themselves and Bay community members in terms of food choices, sleep patterns, activity requirements, and daily habits that optimize biological functioning.
Engineering 2: How does the world of engineering work? How do engineers solve complex problems using technology? This advanced course is focused on designing and fabricating working devices in order to better understand how the world of engineering works. Students extend their knowledge from previous engineering coursework; they continue their hands-on, project-based work, solving complex design challenges in order to apply their understanding of physics, materials science, and fabrication methodologies. In the course of these projects students gain production and machining skills that deepen their appreciation for and understanding of precision and tolerance, knowledge that will further prepare them for a future in engineering. Prerequisite: Engineering Design 1 or Design 1b.
Filmmaking: In this immersive, students learn the art of filmmaking. Course members go through the stages of pre-production, production, and editing. Students learn to shoot from a script on location, where they spend up to a week. During the shoot, actors have first-hand experience being on a set and acting in front of a camera, while crew members will learn what it is like to be on a film team. Students then edit the footage into a final, cohesive film back at The Bay School Mac lab. The course culminates with a viewing of the finished product at the Walt Disney Family Museum. Essential questions this immersive explores include: How does the three act structure help to tell stories in film? Why is film the best way to tell this story? What are the various aspects of the filmmaking pipeline? How can style, mood, and emotion be conveyed through filmmaking? Who is the intended audience of this film?
Hip-Hop: Culture, Politics, and Production: In order to be culturally literate, one must understand our society's musical forms of expression and how they help to tell the American Story. Though Hip-Hop is now a popular form of American music, it had its roots as a cultural form of expression designed to provide a sense of agency and existential freedom for marginalized people of color in the Bronx, in New Yor City. Students in this course examine how the music became an integral part of American identity by examining Hip-Hop through the historical and cultural lenses they have developed in previous Humanities courses. Throughout the term, students not only learn about the history and evolution of Hip-Hop music from its inception to the modern day, but also have multiple opportunities to explore the culture through rapping, DJ-ing, and dance as well as through the creation of graffiti and music. Prerequisite: Humanities 2
Mathematics of Democracy: In this interdisciplinary math and social studies immersive students explore voting and representation, the fundamental features of democratic government, through a mathematical lens. Students learn about the history of representational government as well as analyze current election and representation systems. The course examines a variety of voting and representation schemes that are currently in use or that have been proposed, and looks at how these methods influence election strategies and outcomes. In addition to democratic systems themselves, students learn how polls are conducted in order to understand voters and predict election outcomes in advance. Essential questions guiding our study include: What is the function of representation in a democracy? How can/should groups of people make decisions? How can an individual make an impact on policy?
Mathematics of Digital Animation: In this course, students explore the math behind digital animation and modeling. Using Pixar films as a starting point, students learn about various stages in the story development process, from storyboarding to fine-tuning digital animations. Students interact with these elements through digital tools such as Khan Academy's Pixar in a Box and Autodesk's Tinkercad. This course also includes hands-on activities, hearing from professionals in the industry, and local field trips. Essential questions guiding our study include: How can mathematics help us to model characteristics and phenomena we observe (or imagine)? How do we analyze and strategically set up the representations we use a computer to manipulate? How does the iterative design process relate to both our work in mathematics and the creation of a digitally animated film?
Modern American Family - Inspection & Introspection: This course examines different family structures and dynamics through American visual art, literature, television, film, and music. Students explore how gender roles have changed throughout history and have been socially constructed. Exposure to the different interpretations of family encourages students to understand their own family makeup and their place in it. Class sessions include field trips, visiting artists, making art, looking at art, writing, reflecting, analyzing and decoding readings, and identifying the different constructs that exist in a household. Essential questions guiding the course of study include: What is family? How have artists, writers, film-makers, and musicians explored family dynamics in their work? How do various representations of family structures/dynamics help us understand our own definition of family and our role in it?