Marlborough’s new interdisciplinary class, Decoding Food, explores the political, social, cultural, and economic aspects of food in diverse locations and contexts. The class’s teacher and course architect, Head of Special Projects and history and social sciences instructor Cathy Atwell offers the course to juniors and seniors interested in exploring the intricacies of food.
“The class consists of a lot discussion of text, guest speakers and field trips that help enrich the classroom’s hands-on approach and to provide insights relating to food,” Atwell said. “Students will prepare food, write about food, talk about food, eat food, visit places that produce food.”
Science instructor Khanichi Charles will teach about food from the public health perspective.
“The metabolic environment of human beings is remarkably complex. Hopefully, we will chip away at some of this complexity through my section of this course by advancing students’ awareness of how biology instructs our food preferences, eating habits and overall health,” Charles said.
Students who signed up for the class said they were interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the importance and relevance of food.
“Food is always just there, but I really wanted to know the science and the history and how events have been created due to food, and now it’s so interesting how something so simple could be so complex in other areas,” Anna Spearman ’16 said.
One of the books the class will discuss is The Sushi Economy, which discusses the business of sushi and its history. This book shows many economic perspectives regarding sushi, illustrating this course’s focus of diversity. Through this book, students gain a broader understanding how the artistry of sushi and economics are intertwined.
Decoding Food allows teachers and students to explore issues surrounding food production and prepares them for the real world by providing them hands-on experience and an understanding about the impact food has on the world.
“I’m really excited about the places in the course where the students can bring in their own personal family stories and experiences,” Atwell said.
Math instructor Darren Kessner’s new AP Computer Science class offers a more challenging continuation of the existing Intro to Programming course. After the success of the Intro to Programming course, students are able to expand their computer studies in the new AP class.
Kessner said that the AP course will focus on object oriented programming, using the Java language of code, a language designed to communicate instructions to the computer.
“[The course] is a more in-depth study of programming language, and we use the Java software because the AP test is done in Java,” he said.
Students who signed up for the course said they were interested in applying their skills in a more advanced platform.
“I’m very excited that this [AP Computer Science] class was made. Last year I took Intro to Programming, and I thought that was really fun, but I felt like I wanted something more advanced,” Kristen Cooney ’18 said.
In order to prepare for the AP Exam, AP Computer Science has the workload of a typical AP math class at Marlborough, with homework and assessments.
Kessner said he believes that AP Computer Science allows for increased freedom in creating more complex software.
“Computer science has a lot of interesting ideas, not only intellectual ideas. You can bring a lot of creativity. It’s a mix of thinking in terms of math as a language, but also in terms of creating something. One thing I like to stress in my class is, no matter what kind of programming, you can apply the skills to many different areas,” Kessner said.
Marlborough’s new P.E. elective, Introduction to Sports Medicine, taught by Marlborough’s athletic trainer Sonya Stromberg, offers students the opportunity to develop their awareness of health careers as well as specific preparation for physical therapy and sports medicine occupations.
According to Stromberg, sports medicine provides knowledge that is necessary for an active lifestyle and community
“I think it’s a fun class. It’s not just for people who want to go into careers in sports medicine, but we’re trying to create a more active community lifelong. So it’s really good information to know, whether it’s competitive or organized sports,” Stromberg said.
Students said they consider sports medicine a valuable field because it is important information for all athletes to have.
For students who want to venture into the world of medicine in college and professionally, the class offers a strong introductory platform.
“Not only does taking the class give me an introduction to what I want to study in college and a glance at (hopefully) my career later on; I think knowing the basics to injury care and prevention are important for me to know as an athlete,” Jamie Bang ’16 said.
According to Isabella Franco ’18, the class has reading for homework to prepare for upcoming meetings. During class, they watch PowerPoints and videos and take notes during classes. Students then practice what they’ve learned in the training room and ultimately will be tested on either a practical or written exam.
Currently, this course is a PE elective, but Stromberg said she hopes this program will expand and be incorporated as a science class.