Courses

The Pensos, Inc. Curriculum is specially designed to facilitate interdisciplinary learning while providing students opportunities to discover their talents. Each course offers unique insight into a field and area of study that a student could choose to pursue in high school, college, and beyond. The courses require no previous knowledge or expertise and will be engaging for all. Each course will focus on the big pictures of the field, focusing on stories and innovations over dates and mathematical equations.

Specific course descriptions are listed below. You will be able to select your top choices on the application. Courses will run based on interest, so if a field stands out to you, make sure to sign up soon!

Ancient Civilizations

Students will learn about ancient civilizations and cultures, and how their ideas and history shaped our world today. The students will immerse themselves in the past, debating as members of the Roman Senate and making scientific discoveries like the philosophers of old.

For their final project, students will build an ancient device or artifact, such as Archimedes’ screw or an ancient water clock, and produce a short video explaining what they made. During the final class, each video will be introduced and played for the cohort. Parents and family members are encouraged to join!

Alien Worlds

Students will explore the galaxy, examining the origins of planets and questioning what we know about the early universe. Daily experiments will drive the students to build physical models and explore how software is used to answer some of the hardest galactic questions. For their final project, students will have the choice to construct a physical, scientifically accurate model of a rocket, telescope, or other space-related technology, or students will use skills they have developed in Python to complete a guided research project using real data compiled from decades of space observation.

For the final day of class, students will present their construction or their findings to the rest of the class as well as any interested parents or family members who wish to join!

This course may include optional guest lectures from leading professors and graduate students who will discuss their ongoing planetary research and be available to answer students’ questions.

Entrepreneurship

Students will develop an in-depth understanding of how startups progress from a vague idea into a profitable company. They will spend the first week working in groups on a mock startup and undertake product development and customer discovery, learning and applying new techniques. Throughout the second week, they will develop their own startup idea and grow it from a concept into a model of a fully functioning business, experiencing the rewards and challenges of starting a business as they progress.

The final class will be a mock shark tank experience where each group will pitch their idea to a panel of special guests and successful real-world entrepreneurs. Parents and family members are welcome and encouraged to join!

This course may include optional guest lectures from current entrepreneurs and startup founders who will be available to answer students’ questions.

Songwriting And Lyricism

Students will examine the relationship between poetry and song by observing how they influence each other. They will be encouraged to bring their favorite music to class discussion throughout the course where we will define what exactly makes a song from any genre poetic.

By learning about rhymes and poetic qualities, we will analyze a slew of figurative and poetic language. Students will explore different songwriting styles such as ballads and sonnets and compare musical meter to a poetic rhythm.

By the end of the course, students will present their own song or rap to the class. The ability to read music or play an instrument is not a requirement for this course.

Codebreaking

Students will investigate fundamental methods of cryptography used at important moments in history. They will develop critical thinking and problem solving techniques to crack complex logic puzzles and real-world codes. For their final project, students will write their own code or puzzle that will be tested and solved by other students in the cohort. The final class will encourage parents and family members to solve the student-made puzzles in an exciting, dramatic conclusion!

Over the course of the program there will be two opportunities to attend a virtual escape room experience to apply the skills students learned in a fun challenge activity.

Game Theory

How do people make decisions? How do businesses negotiate deals? Why do nations go to war? Students will learn the psychological and mathematical foundation upon which all economic and political interactions are built and will apply analytical thinking to everyday economic interactions and problems. Throughout the course, students will engage in simulated games to determine optimal outcomes and will cooperate to form a small but functioning economy.

For their final project, each student will create a video or a short podcast about a specific real-world application or occurrence of a topic covered in the course. On the final day, students will take over and run their own simulated game for parents and family members who are encouraged to join!