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Upper School Curriculum

  • Advanced (ADV)
  • Interdisciplinary Studies
ADV Sustainability
Grades: 10, 11, 12
PREREQ: Completion of Introduction to Sustainability, Environmental Science, Biodiversity in Action, or Climate Change & Global Inequality (GOA)

How can we identify actions that will truly improve sustainability? Why are communities of color disproportionately affected by climate change? Can student research propel institutional change? In this inquiry-based course, students expand their foundational knowledge of key aspects of climate change, environmental justice and biodiversity loss. They research and write a scholarly report on a topic of their choice. Each student then leads a class seminar on their topic. Students build a toolkit of positive actions by analyzing cases of academic institutions that have improved their sustainability. Ways to document and measure success are examined, as are drivers such as activism, leadership, communication, education and investment. Each student writes a short, documented description of at least five tools that have been successfully employed in academic settings. All these descriptions are combined and organized into a resource for the whole class to use in developing final projects that help Durham Academy advance toward its sustainability goals. Working in small groups, students follow the Design Thinking protocol and begin to function as practitioners in this emerging field. They learn about interview techniques and use them to seek a range of perspectives. They then design a prototype, seek feedback, refine their product and implement it to the extent possible within the semester.

  • Grade 10
  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12