CLASSES, TUTORIALS, ACTIVITIES

A lot happens during a day at BLC


BLC classes and one-on-one tutorials are offered on a variety of topics: Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday between 9 and 3. On Fridays we schedule trips and workshops. BLC is closed on Wednesday. The schedule is a reflection of the interests of current teen members and the interests and expertise of our staff, volunteers, interns, and work-study university students. In addition, we support teen members to lead classes for their peers. Rather than attempt to fulfill any particular curriculum, we ask our teachers to share the topics that excite them.

Everything we do at BLC, including our classes and one-on-one tutorials are optional and open to every member; most are scheduled for one hour per week, with the option to meet more often if needed or desired.

A Selection of Classes at BLC

Monday

with Thomas. This introductory class focuses on the practical and philosophical issues raised by the United States Constitution. Members will consider the relationships of the three federal branches of government, with emphasis on some of the powers and limitations of the executive, legislative and judicial bodies that arise from principles of separation of powers and national checks and balances.
with Tiffany.This class is designed as an introduction to the practice of yoga. The class is slower paced than an all-levels class, and focused on developing clear and safe alignment in foundational poses. Members learn, play, and maybe even break a sweat in a supportive environment. They don’t need to be able to touch your toes; they just have to be willing to try.
with Eileen.This hands-on class focuses on member-led discovery of the science of life. Topics include the cell, the molecular basis of heredity, biological evolution, interdependence of organisms, matter and energy, and organization in living systems and the behavior of organisms. Great emphasis is placed on thinking and working as scientists do.
with Eileen.This class introduces teens to the basics of photography in a digital context. Topics include manual control of the camera, working with natural versus artificial light, composition and design, analysis and critique, the history of photography, best printing practices, personal, commercial and fine art photography, and career opportunities in photography. (Photo editing digital photographs is a separate course at BLC.)
with Kate.This class will cover non-academic essays, poems, and short stories, as well as any other genre members may be interested in. Members are encouraged to write about topics they find engaging as they practice writing on the following themes: narration, definition, process analysis, cause and effect, and comparison/contrast. After members turn in each assignment, the teacher supplies detailed suggestions for revision. This feedback helps members learn how to improve their self-expression and self-editing skills.
with Paul. Beginning Woodworking is designed to teach members basic woodworking skills and knowledge in preparation for their advancement into the Intermediate Woodworking course. Emphasis is on hands-on training with supplementary discussions on woodworking theory and application. This beginner course utilizes hand tools only. Members complete group and individual projects designed to provide practical experience in construction theory and woodworking techniques.
with Paul. The concept is to spark interest and respect in the natural world around us. General concepts are introduced with the expectation that students will supplement class activities with private study. The topics covered include clouds and the water cycle, tree identification and basic biology, plant identification and foraging for edible wild foods. In particular, we spend time on identifying and discussing poison ivy. Students also learn about snakes, bears and other local fauna. We also study and discuss dried skulls and bones easily found in the woods.
In this mentored independent study, members will explore the structure and function of the nervous system and the neural foundations of behavior. Topics include cellular components of the nervous system; neuroanatomy; neurophysiology; chemical signaling and neuropharmacology; brain development; behavioral genetics; and the neurobiology of movement, perception, homeostasis, emotion, learning, memory, and cognition.

Tuesday

with Meghan. This year-long class covers basic topics in psychology such as research methods, biopsychology, development and learning, social-cultural factors, cognition, personality, motivation, psychological disorders, applications of psychology, careers in psychology.
with Eugene. This class takes a broad approach to beginning computer science, touching on themes such as programming, physical computing, HTML/CSS, and data. Members are encouraged to flex their creativity when coding for communication, problem solving, and entertainment. Members choose their own projects such as building their own websites, apps, games, etc.
with Alexis. This year-long class is an introduction to American History. It utilizes historically accurate films (both documentary and narrative) as well supplementary reading, slide presentations, lectures and discussions. Topics include pre-Columbian societies, the colonial era, the American Revolution, the Atlantic Slave Trade, the Civil War, westward expansion, industrialization, the progressive era, World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, the post-war era, the late 20th century, the digital revolution, 9/11 and the post-9/11 world.
with Paul. In BLC’s standard math classes, we endeavor to cover the basic concepts of math that would appear in standardized tests, without being limited by them. A list of topics is checked off by the members as they feel confident in them. Some members are beyond this and we pursue any area of interest to them, in particular, the elements of calculus. Sapphire’s choice of focus this term was geometry.
with Camille. Building upon last year’s drawing classes, this introduction to painting focuses on helping young artists hone their color perception and gain control over their materials. They begin with an in-depth look at traditional and contemporary color theory, as well as the science behind light and reflection. Next they learn how to accurately mix any color using a very basic palette. Finally, they complete a number of progressive exercises that allow them to see and faithfully recreate the colors around them.
with Ken. In this class, members increase their awareness of major issues of the day through in-depth reading, viewing, and discussion. The main focus of the class will be national-level issues and include factors such as economics, climate, civil rights, media coverage, etc. Members will look into the social and political impact of current events, as well as discuss their historical background.
An all-group meeting to check in with the community, talk about any shared concerns or significant matters and plan for upcoming events and activities. All members are encouraged to attend.

Thursday

with Paul. This informal seminar introduces members to the practice of bibliotherapy, by encouraging them to slow down, providing them with quiet space, offering them companions-in-reading, and engaging them in enjoyable and meaningful discussion of the novels they get to know and hopefully come to love.
with Shannon. Offered through Langhorne’s community bank, this workshop introduces teens to judicious handling of personal finances. Topics include types of financial institutions, types of personal accounts, uses and pitfalls of student credit cards, planning large purchases, protections against identity theft, paying for college, and more!
with Tamiko. Members will learn to communicate in basic Japanese and learn about the Japanese culture. Oral communication will be stressed through listening and speaking activities. Basic reading and writing skills will be introduced.
with Eileen. A lesson where members analyze historical evidence in order to form and test hypotheses about the Salem Witch hysteria. Inquiry lessons introduce members to the “doing” of history. Through using evidence to investigate historical questions, members are given the opportunity to see that history is not just a collection of facts, but rather a carefully constructed set of arguments. As members encounter new and in some cases contradictory evidence, they are asked to reconsider their initial views, learning that interpretations of the past can change based on the available historical evidence.
with Amy. This class engages members in the analysis and study of literature and its forms. Readings draw primarily from the Western tradition, from the epic of Gilgamesh to the poetry slam. Studies also touch upon diverse cultural contexts, including works by women, African Americans, other minorities, and non-Western writers. The course emphasizes discussion and student presentation of student analysis.
with Joel. Be More Awesomer is about taking action to improve your life, becoming the captain of your own ship and supporting others to do the same. We look at various tips, approaches and ways to look at life that many successful people use.
with Laura. This advanced study is designed to strengthen and further enhance the language skills developed in prior French language study. To enhance writing, speaking, reading and listening skills, students will: review grammar thoroughly; write letters, short stories and reports; practice pronunciation through listening and repetition; read short stories and poems; and listen to various authentic French materials. Emphasis is placed upon speaking in the French language.
with Daryle. This class will cover the selection and care of equipment; choosing a location; local regulations; basic food prep; menu planning; basic grilling techniques; accommodating special dietary needs; safety precautions and emergency strategies; ecological considerations.
with Amy. This class examines the history of rock, primarily as it unfolded in the United States and Britain, from the days before rock (pre-1955) to the end of the twentieth century. There will be an emphasis both on cultural context and on the music itself. We will also explore how developments in the music business and in technology helped shape the ways in which styles developed.
with Vicki. In archaeology, members discover the past through physical trace evidence that was buried or covered for decades, centuries or even millennia. Members may choose to focus on a specific time period or geographical location, such as Mediterranean archaeology or prehistoric archaeology. Topics include excavation methods, dating techniques, interpretation of historic artifacts, ancient technology, art history.

Friday – Trips and Workshops

Leah navigating her kayak down the canal

At BLC we believe that getting out into the world should be part a young person’s education. With that in mind, we schedule trips to various locations on Fridays, such as museums, tours of restaurants, businesses, and farms, local artisans, and hikes in local natural areas. BLC members interested to lead a trip work with their mentor to plan and communicate about the outing.

We also use Fridays for Workshops. We invite local community members to join us for an hour, a morning, or all day to engage us all in learning something new.

At BLC we work with each teen member as an individual, building on strengths to create a meaningful and positive experience while also preparing for each person’s next steps. Teen members work closely with their mentors to determine their own ideal schedule, creating a combination of group classes and one-on-one tutoring sessions.

The format of individual classes can vary significantly, depending on the vision of the leader as well as the input of the participants. Some classes will ask for and expect a considerable amount of work to happen outside of class time while others will be more limited. This is made clear in the class description and by the teacher and should be taken into consideration by the student deciding to join the group.

We encourage all BLC members to learn about and try as many classes as they can. Once a member decides to be a regular participant of a class, we expect commitment. There are no grades or punishments, but we expect class participants to communicate with the teacher regarding attendance and other issues and to fulfill any requirements such as readings, research, or other assignments.

Members may choose to participate in an early college program with their local community college or take on an internship, volunteer work, or paid work as part of their learning experience.

Want a More Flexible Approach?

Be in touch to discuss options:
215-512-0707
info@buckslearningcooperative.org

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Watercolor apples painted in Art class.

Hunting salamander larva in Nature class.