2014/2015 Explorers, Visionaries and Solutionaries Course Descriptions:

Explorers Science
Explorers Science takes an introductory look into Biology, Botany, and Earth Science subject areas to give students a holistic understanding of the interconnectedness of life on planet Earth. This course combines story-telling, nature observation, hands-on activities, experimentation, and journaling to allow students to connect with the material. Together we will explore electricity, weather, insects, tree and plant life, their medicinal properties, metals, plant and animal-based materials, their multi-cultural uses throughout history, early technologies and various scientific tools.

Explorers Literature and History
Explorers Literature and History block will continue a study of North America’s indigenous people, the Native Americans, and move into the early settlers including the Vikings (Norse) up until European colonization. Students will explore Native American and Norse mythology and culture in order to better understand the geography and culture of the world immediately around us. We will also study a diverse range of multi-cultural figures, female and male, who made significant impacts on early America. This course gives students a foundation for understanding their national roots and prepares them for future years of learning about various cultures and people groups and their influences on civilization. Reading, writing, and basic research skills will be emphasized in this course.

Explorers Math
Explorers Math is a comprehensive journey into the world of numbers, creating a strong foundation of number sense and mathematical concepts using real-world, nature-based contexts. Throughout this course we will dive into the four operations, place value, estimating, decimals, metric and standard measurement, basic geometric shapes, fractions, as well as mental math. We also introduce abstract topics such as dimensions, mobius strips, magic squares, and logic problems. These concepts will be explored through hands-on experiences, partner and group discussions, crafts, nature walks, story-telling, the arts, as well as through the research of ancient discoveries, historical events, and cultural contributions. Explorers Math will strengthen students’ confidence, no matter what level, while cultivating an appreciation for our mathematical world. Required Materials: Fall Journal

Wuji Exploration
In Chinese spiritual practice, Wuji is the oneness from which all “things” in creation emerge. In this course we will explore our CHI, or energy, which makes up all that exists, from the stillness of breath and the intentional use of muscles, to the feeling of the wind brushing by us and the involvement of nature in our everyday life. Weekly journal keeping will be mandatory for this course. Required Materials: Fall Journal

Visionaries/Solutionaries History
Students will explore the early days in the development of western civilization with an in depth study of the rise and fall of early civilizations including Mesopotamia, Greece and Rome. The course will conclude with a study of the history of major world religions and their influence on society. Students will also explore current events on a once a week basis throughout the year. There will be a minimum of three projects during the year.
Required Materials: Fall Journal

Visionaries/Solutionaries Literature
Students will explore different genres and socially relevant themes through stories including The Epic of Gilgamesh, Fahrenheit 451 and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian. Students will decide as a class the final book of the year based on their collective interests. Students will be required to keep a detailed response journal for each book.
Required Materials: Fall Journal

Introduction to French
In this beginning level French course, our Explorers, Visionaries and Solutionaries will enter into the francophone world. Using language as a guide, together we will explore the art, stories, and cultures of people who speak French around the world. Required Materials: Fall Journal

Visionaries/Solutionaries Math
Students will engage in critical examination of the world using basic algebra, proportions, and geometry in the real world and increasing their number sense. Students will study the qualities of numbers that exist all around them and in nature, such as oneness, the whole, duality, and the trinity. They will learn about the origins of our number system while gaining a sense of respect for the various cultures who have contributed to our mathematical understanding. Topics covered include but are not limited to expressions, inequalities, exponents, ratios, proportions, special numbers, percent, spatial thinking, probability, polynomials, dimension, volume, polygons, degrees and angles, types of triangles/special triangles. Through hands-on activities, data collection and sampling, nature walk observations, and student-lead discussions, students will gain confidence in their number sense foundations necessary for more complex mathematical concepts. Required Materials: Fall Journal

Visionaries/Solutionaries Science
The Visionaries and Solutionaries Science course will rotate through four week blocks of Botany and Human and Animal Anatomy. In our Botany block, students will establish a basic scientific understanding of plants; how they are related, how they are different, and what connects them to each other. They will discover plant taxonomy, anatomy, reproduction, and the decomposition process, while working with their own plants throughout all four seasons in our permaculture garden and indoor aquaponic system. This course will involve class discussion and various team projects including diagramming and charting as well as collecting, identifying, classifying, pressing and dissecting various local and native plants and seeds.

Our Human and Animal Anatomy block will review all of the body systems, while utilizing comparative anatomy to understand the similarities and differences between humans and animals. This block includes various interactive team projects, labs, documentaries, and hands-on work with animals as part of our Animal Husbandry course at Auerfarm in Bloomfield on Fridays. Required Materials: Fall Journal

This course provides a combination of student-led discussion, discourse, and community investment opportunities around the themes of EcoDemocracy and EcoJustice. Students will examine and critique their various economic and political cultures, ideas, and systems that take different stances on the relationships between humans, plants, animals, and their shared environment. The course objective is for students to inclusively and regeneratively design an alternative societal model with best-practice indicators for potentiating democratic, social, economic and ecologically just communities. Combining Political Studies, Philosophy and Reasoning and Social and Environmental Justice, students will gain important interpersonal and community building skills that will benefit their futures as effective, resilient, and creative community members, and life-long collaborative learners. Required Materials: Fall Journal

Sustainable Farming at Auerfarm
Coming soon!

Wilderness at Auerfarm
This experiential and self-directed course allows students the space to develop their connection with our natural world in the wilderness on Auerfarm’s 120 acre property in Bloomfield. Students will participate in various activities including wandering, observing, quiet reflection, story-telling, questioning and tracking, mapping and journaling, and survival living. Through their intentional time spent in the wilderness, students will become more confident, skilled, and connected wilderness scouts.

Animal Husbandry at Auerfarm
This course covers basic animal husbandry skills with a variety of farm animals at Auerfarm like chickens, rabbits, goats, and alpacas. Children are able connect with and care for the farm animals by observing, interacting, and tending to their needs. This course in collaboration with our Sustainable Farming courses emphasizes an understanding of the inter-connectedness between humans, animals, and the landscape.

Lifefoods Food Prep at Auerfarm
Lifefoods Food Prep focuses on food as an integral part of our lives. The course outlines the history, evolution, and adaptation of foods from around the globe to right in our own backyard, while taking a hands-on approach with preparing our own meals and studying traditional techniques and original recipes. Students also explore how to choose wisely in the supermarket and take charge of their own diets. Students are challenged to recognize that their decisions have effects far greater than their own surroundings and to identify the consequences of poor nutrition on the community as a whole. Every class has an open ended, professionally directed discussion surrounding theories of sustainability, food science, and food philosophy. Required Materials: Fall Journal

*The Sustainable Farm School makes every reasonable effort to use only certified organic, non-gmo, humane, fair trade, and  local (when available) whole foods in our food preparation courses. We believe that voting with our dollars to support ethical, sustainable, organic, and local farmers and companies is the most practical way to contribute to healthy food systems in our country.

Permaculture Pathways
This introductory permaculture course will explore living systems, a regenerative worldview, and solutions-based thinking. Students will survey a range of literature, topics, and current events related to the long-term health of the Earth, its communities, and our individual role’s within these systems. Students will apply their learning to the design and application of a number of sustainability-oriented projects including the design of their very own edible permaculture landscape design at our location in Hartford. Required Materials: Fall Journal

Independent Work
Students will use these periods to work on individual and group projects as well as a partner research project on a topic of their choice. Each student will receive weekly mentorship as they create, develop, and execute their research. This period will continue through all three terms of the school year and will culminate with students giving a Ted Talk style presentation on their topic. Required Materials: Fall Journal

This workshop style course gives students a chance to learn directly from some of Hartford’s local artists and musicians in our 30 North Arbor Street building and next-door at 56 Arbor, the Real Art Ways building. We will learn about pottery making, screen printing, print making, watercolors, drawing, music making, and more! Required Materials: Fall Journal



Past Courses

  • Activism and Writing with a Purpose
  • American Civics
  • Ancient History
  • Art in Time
  • Art History
  • Art of Problem Solving
  • Backyard Organic Gardening
  • Behind the Tiara: A Critical History of Fairy Tales
  • Capoeira
  • Creative Writing
  • Critical Thinking and Moral Reasoning
  • Early Connecticut and American History
  • Eco-wear Jewelry
  • Eco Studies
  • English Grammar
  • Fairy Tale Grammar
  • Geography
  • Geometry of the Natural World
  • Global Studies
  • Greek Mythology
  • Herbology
  • Holistic Nutrition
  • Human and Animal Anatomy
  • Language Arts
  • Lifefoods Food Prep
  • Literary Arts
  • Math for a Sustainable World
  • Music Theory
  • Native American Culture and Handwork
  • Norse Mythology
  • Pattern and Texture in Sustainable Art
  • Poetry
  • Political Philosophy
  • Radical Home Economics
  • Science, Nature, and Sustainability
  • Social Justice & Contemporary Oppression
  • Sustainable Farm Economics
  • Sustainable Living through the Art of Mathematics
  • The Body as an Instrument
  • Trashion Fashion
  • Trickster Myths & Other-World Fantasies
  • Walking in Joy
  • Watercolor Painting
  • World History