NextTerm 2024 Courses
MISSION AND COURSE REGISTRATION
For three weeks each May, Hun Upper School students in grades 9 to 11 participate in a ground-breaking immersion learning experience designed to offer deep exploration of real-world topics. NextTerm mini-mester courses are required, for-credit, project-based, courses that fall outside the constraints of traditional disciplines. They are team-taught, informed by a variety of environments and real-world practitioners, and utilize resources both on and off campus. Student teams then produce a culminating project that is shared with professional advisors, parents, and faculty during NeXpo, the NextTerm project
NextTerm 9 allows students to discover what makes New Jersey unique and what events have helped shape the Jersey consciousness, economy, and spirit of innovation. Students will choose from a variety of interdisciplinary options focused on specific themes, participate in both overnight and day trips, visit areas around the state, and explore the history, science, politics, and art of our diverse and inspiring home. Course options for 9th grade will be made available soon; class assignments will be announced after Thanksgiving Break.
NextTerm for Grades 10 and 11 offers a menu of twenty distinctive courses from which to choose. These courses are all interdisciplinary in nature, team-taught, and include travel options from local to international. Courses that involve travel, while subsidized by tuition, carry and additional fee. Financial aid is available for families who qualify. All NextTerm courses are graded, for-credit classes that will appear on student transcripts.
Students must indicate multiple course choices including local options. We will make every effort to accommodate student preferences as we try to build varied class rosters to enhance the student experience. The 9th grade experience and all local courses are offered to students at no charge. Courses that involve travel, while subsidized by tuition, carry an additional fee. All NextTerm courses are graded, for-credit classes that will appear on student transcripts.
Financial aid is available for families who qualify. Once course placement has been completed, information regarding the financial aid application process will be shared.
“Innovative learning practices that smear the boundary between “school” and “world” are increasingly a hallmark of deeper learning in the 21st century. They create scaffolds around which students learn critical content within the context of personal relevance and interest that generate intrinsic motivation, deeper understanding, and longer retention.”
— PAM GROSSMAN, Dean of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania
Day trips only; No additional cost to families
Superheroes: A Story of Society
Essential Question: How do superheroes represent different groups of people in society?
What will students do in this course? Students will spend time diving into the world of superheroes (classic and new) in order to develop an understanding of why they were created and who those superheroes represent. The class will visit appropriate sites (NY Museum of Comics, comic book stores), watch movies, read, and discuss comic books, their characters, and their specific storylines. you will eventually focus on one hero and create a project describing the group or groups in society this hero represents.
What will students learn in this course? Students will investigate the history of how the creation of superheroes was directly tied to representations of different groups in society. They will learn how to analyze emblematic works of literature and film, including graphic novels and comics, that are inspired by this cultural background. The final project will involve presenting findings on a hero of choice.
Curricular Focus: English • History • Art
Art and Advocacy: Creativity and Social Transformation
Essential Question: How can art provoke conversation and engagement around contemporary social issues? How can creativity contribute to community building, coexistence, and nonviolent social change?
What will students do in this course? Students will understand the role art and artists can play as leaders instigating positive change by both studying and making art that raises awareness of important issues. All levels of artistic ability are welcome! Through mindfulness practices like yoga and meditation, students will cultivate their creativity, empathy, and social consciousness. Discussion, hands-on learning, and art-making will empower students to become more engaged, compassionate, and proactive members of their communities, contributing to a more just and equitable world.
What will students learn in this course? What is one thing you would change about the world? Students will learn how to create things to help make that happen. Art can shift public perceptions, spread information, and inspire dialogue on important social issues. It can also provide a powerful means of expression, an outlet for individuals’ responses to the world around them. Artists employ a wide range of media – including graffiti, collage, sculpture, graphic design, and poetry – to bring public awareness to local and global challenges, inequity, and injustice.
Curricular Focus: Arts • English • History
The 3 B’s: The Biology, Business, and Beauty of BEES
Essential Question: How is the honey bee unique, how has it connected with human culture, and how can it teach us about the importance of pollinators?
What will students do in this course? Students will visit local bee farms and have an opportunity to work directly with bees, inspecting the hives and assessing the health of the bees. They will spend several days speaking with professional apiarists about the ins and outs of beekeeping and harvesting early-season honey from the bee hive frames, and will bottle the filtered fresh honey. To further their knowledge, students will research the overall need for pollinators and tools to help conserve them globally as well as locally.
What will students learn in this course? Students will learn why bee numbers are decreasing yearly and why there is a strong need for humans to join the revolution of saving pollinators. There is a long-standing history of using bees as symbols in cultures from around the world. Students will also learn about rational explanations of bee behavior and how to differentiate between native bees and other pollinators. Additionally, students will learn about the economic challenges of beekeeping as agricultural investments and the impacts of pesticides and fertilizers on the longevity of the hives. By the end of this course, students will be equipped to spread the word about the role of this unique insect, which helps locally grown fruits, vegetables, and flowers exist, and in many ways, is why beekeeping has grown in popularity over the years.
Curricular Focus: Biology • Conservation • Business
Engineered designs: creating cities of tomorrow
Essential Question: How do engineering, art, technology, architecture, sustainability, and social dynamics guide us in creating vibrant, equitable, and sustainable cities for the future?
What will students do in this course? Using neighboring cities like Trenton, Philadelphia, and NYC as models, students will study how these urban areas were formed and how they continue to evolve, or devolve, in the face of climate change, increased populations, changing communities, and more. By studying and consulting designers, engineers, scholars, and experts in their fields, students will investigate the planning, organization, and implementation of things often takes for granted, such as roads, sewers, parks, waterfronts, housing complexes, traffic flow, and even parking.
What will students learn in this course? When planning cities for the future, designers face obstacles such as preserving culture, identity, and heritage while becoming more innovative. Students will hone their skills in design, debate, and demonstration through projects centered on our central themes of innovation, preservation, development, and sustainability. Students will also navigate and develop opinions between opposing and educated viewpoints on topics like public policy, zoning, and environmental conservation.
Curricular Focus: Architecture • Economics • Public Policy • Math
The Fear Factors: The Science and math behind exhilarating attractions
Essential Questions: How do thrill experiences blend math, science, engineering, and psychology to deliver exhilarating sensations and spine-tingling experiences while remaining safe and enjoyable?
What will students do in this course? Students will deconstruct how thrill attractions and fear experiences are designed by riding roller coasters, working through a horror-themed escape room, watching horror films, completing a high ropes course, and conducting several sensory deprivation experiences. They will speak with behind-the-scenes experts in the field of fear and zoom with the author of our course text to enhance their understanding and begin designing their NextPo project.
What will students learn in this course? Students will learn that math, science, and engineering unite with neurobiology and psychology to create the attractions that evoke thrill and fear. Students will learn how to calculate trajectories, analyze forces, and optimize structures in order to act optimally and safely on the mind and body to generate a thrilling experience. Ultimately, students will learn how fear acts within ourselves, how to confront our relationships with fear, and how to engineer and design thrilling experiences that evoke safe and pleasurable fear experiences.
Curricular Focus: STEAM • Design • Psychology • Sociology • Anthropology
Beats, Rhymes, and Society: How Hip-Hop Changed the World
Essential Questions: How does hip-hop, as a cultural phenomenon and artistic expression, intersect with history and creativity? How can understanding these intersections contribute to a deeper appreciation of its impact on society and culture?
What will students do in this course? Students will find their rhythm and groove along with this 50-year-old performance tradition! Students will be both in the classroom and out in the world, exploring the ins and outs of hip-hop. Students will meet with industry professionals and watch artists perform nearby, as well as visit museums, studios, and other sites of interest. They'll bring it all together by finding our own creative expressions through poetry, dance, and sound.
What will students learn in this course? Hip-hop is an influential part of our society, and the goal is to better understand how it developed and how it impacts us through historical and cultural lenses. Students will study the music along with its sonic and lyrical meanings; performances as visuals and how they generate relationships; hip-hop culture, including fashion, language, and social dynamics. Through the study of these topics, students will learn how to evaluate cultural events through lenses like race, gender, sexuality, and politics, and become better, more thoughtful critics of art and music.
Curricular Focus: Music/ Musicology • History • Art/ Performance • Sociology
Paws, Hooves, and Healing: Exploring Animal-Assisted Service and Therapy
Essential Question: What is the science behind the therapeutic benefits of animal-human interaction, and how do humans work with animals to prepare for this work?
What will students do in this course? Students will be fully engaged, from start to finish, in the creation of a proposal for the integration of a therapeutic animal program at an independent school like Hun. To achieve this goal, they will visit specialized centers that train service and therapy animals, along with organizations and individuals who employ them. Tasks will include observing the components that make an interaction 'therapeutic,' participating in the necessary training for both animals and humans, and applying specific skills such as research and data collection, observation and analysis, and hands-on training. Students will engage in discussions regarding the practices and policies observed, with a focus on identifying strengths and areas for improvement, while considering the specific needs of the school and the resources available.
What will students learn in this course? Students will acquire knowledge of therapeutic practices and the benefits associated with working animals, ranging from horses to dogs. They will gain insight into local, national, and global policies and best practices related to the utilization of therapy and service animals. Through collaboration with local training programs and organizations that employ these animals, students will gain an understanding of how these interactions can have a positive impact on human well-being.
Curricular Focus: Health & Wellness • Psychology & Biology • Ethics & Policy
Note: You should not have a fear of or allergy to animals.
America's Pastime in the Garden State
Essential Question: How can an examination of New Jersey's baseball history and current day industry enhance our understanding of varying aspects of the game and its unique place in the collective American psyche?
What will students do in this course? Students will visit some of New Jersey’s known and unknown historical sites related to baseball, meet prominent New Jersey baseball figures past and present, and attend one or more minor league games! Students will read baseball literature, become a baseball historian, interview baseball industry professionals, historical figures, and current players. Students will explore the evolving philosophies and practices in baseball coaching - from the intuitive, experience-driven coaches of the past to today’s analytics-driven models.
What will students learn in this course? Students will practice and grow skills in critical reading and literary analysis, primary source historical research, and interpersonal and dialogue skills through interviews with baseball figures. They will understand how modern math and science support baseball performance. Along the way, students will develop camaraderie with their fellow baseball scholars to (hopefully) deepen their understanding and love of the game.
Curricular Focus: Sports Science • Math • Humanities • Entrepreneurship
Redesigning Fashion: The Aesthetics Of The Future
Essential Question: How will A.I. and environmental changes affect fashion?
What will students do in this course? Fashion has been a pivotal means of self-expression for centuries. From clothing to body posture, fashion contributes to the way in which humans present themselves, appear to others and interact with each other. As students examine how fashion contributed to shaping the aesthetics of society by promoting specific trends (think of Gucci’s recent “love parade” on Hollywood Blvd, which heavily emphasized the juxtaposition of bright colors to represent inclusive love), students will reflect on and imagine the future of fashion: How do ethical questions such as the impact of A.I. on human craftsmanship and production methods affect and will affect the fashion business? How can we stop fashion from polluting our world and, instead, be inspired by our different ecosystems to produce wholly sustainable designs?
What will students learn in this course? Students will learn how the aesthetics of fashion reflect major scientific, social and environmental changes.
Curricular Focus: Design • History • Business • STEM (with a focus on ecological benefits including the use of sustainable materials ethical production processes, and fair trade)
Local Courses with Short Overnight
Mostly day trips, with one to two nights of travel; Minimal cost to families
Gone Fishin’ - Exploring Inlets, Lakes, and Coastal Waters
Essential Question: How do we investigate and protect some of the region’s most valuable resources? How do ecological systems, environmental sustainability, cultural heritage, and effective angling techniques intersect to define the fishing experience and shape our responsibility for preserving aquatic resources in this region? How does fishing impact the environment, culture, and the way we fish sustainably in our region?
What will students do in this course? Students will experience the thrill of the catch and release: The emotional, physical, and psychological commitment to the process. They will investigate fisheries in the region from a business perspective, including historical ideas and threats to the future of the industry. And students will understand the role of organisms in the ecosystem from a holistic and biological point of view.
What will students learn in this course? Students will learn about local wetland ecosystems and the wildlife that thrive amongst them. Students will understand what can be done to conserve these precious environments and resources, as well as what is putting them at risk. They will also learn the skill, immersive connection to the land, and self-fulfillment that comes from fishing.
Curricular Focus: Ecology • Biology • Business • Conservation
Locations: The Hun School, Cape May, Shark River, Musconetcong River
Space Race: To Infinity and Beyond!
Essential Question: What events and factors influenced early space travel? How has innovation changed the path of space exploration and where will it lead?
What will students do in this course? Students will travel back in time to complete a Challenger Space Mission at the Buehler Space Center and see the world beyond our atmosphere at the largest planetarium in America. They will then physically travel to Maryland and Washington, DC to visit NASA facilities and meet the nation’s largest organization of scientists, engineers, and technologists who build spacecraft, instruments, and new technology to study Earth, the Sun, our solar system, and the universe. Students will explore the future of space travel, which has become a commercial business, by speaking with leaders from some of the top private companies in the world. They will return to Hun with the knowledge needed to imagine the future of life beyond Earth.
What will students learn in this course? Students will learn the history of human exploration, the historic moments of the first space travel, and the first commercial space flight. They will learn about cutting-edge technology, from the design of spacesuits to the complexities of command and control systems. They will discuss sustainable living in space, delving into the difficulties of eating, sleeping, and living on passenger vessels traveling through space. While considering the potential benefits and risks of current exploration, they will design and construct the scientific and engineering challenges of space travel. They will explore the line between science and science fiction, and the business of interplanetary travel.
Curricular Focus: Astronomy • Technology • Business • History
Locations: The Hun School, Maryland, Washington, DC
Bittersweet Sustainability: Our Love of Chocolate
Essential Question: How has the sweet history of chocolate shaped our world and influenced our diets, economies, cultures, and ecosystems?
What will students do in this course? The adventure begins with a virtual visit to a tropical chocolate farm to learn about the growth and harvesting of cacao beans, speak with farmers over zoom, and try the cacao fruit. The classroom transforms into a chocolate laboratory, where students will conduct taste testing sessions, learning to identify nuances in flavors and textures. Students will visit local chocolate shops, gaining insights into the intricacies of chocolate business and marketing, and how these sweet confections find their way to consumers. There will be an overnight trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania, where students will tour the iconic Hershey Factory.
What will students learn in this course? Students will gain a deep understanding of the historical origins of chocolate, its implications in ethical issues pertaining to sustainable environments and communities, and its evolution over time. They will explore the economics of the chocolate industry, from cacao farming and production to marketing and consumer demand, and will develop an appreciation for the cultural diversity associated with chocolate while understanding its role in traditions and celebrations worldwide.
Curricular Focus: Science • Global History • Ethics
Locations: The Hun School, Hershey, Pa.
Quilted Community: The Patterns of Amish Culture
Essential Question: What can the time-honored Amish community teach us about reconnecting with ourselves, each other, and the world beyond technology? How do history, culture, religion, agriculture, and community values shape the Amish society? What can we learn from their unique lifestyle to cultivate a deeper understanding of intentional living and diverse cultural perspectives?
What will students do in this course? Students will take a journey back in time on a horse-drawn buggy and discover a world closer to the earth, the gifts of nature, the joy of making things with your hands, and the pleasure of eating good food prepared with love by friends and family. Students will make memories as they quilt, find treasures as they dig up archeological secrets from the past, and gain new perspectives as they share in Amish traditions that challenge our fast-paced lives. Talk to Amish teens about Rumspringa, find out how communities raise a barn, try a hand at fraktur art, witness woodworking and forget about technology as you celebrate a culture that has withstood the test of time.
What will students learn in this course? This course will have students explore the Pennsylvania Dutch Amish and Mennonite communities. They will observe, learn about, and discuss the structure of Amish family life and community, storytelling in quilting, PA Dutch crafts, culinary traditions, and safeguarded use of technology. Students will reflect on how these elements contribute to living an intentional lifestyle that can lead to adjustments in our own lives.
Curricular Focus: Religion • Anthropology • History • Agriculture • Technology • Nutrition
Locations: The Hun School, Lancaster, Pa.
NextTerm Domestic Travel
Five to six nights of travel within the United States; Additional cost to families
Into the Open Spaces: America’s National Park Experience
Essential Question: How and why are National Parks essential to the American experience and what role do we play in their stewardship and legacy?
What will students do in this course? Using America’s National Parks as their classroom, students will immerse themselves in the outdoor education experience, serve the Parks in a meaningful way, and develop a better appreciation for the legacy and future stewardship of these national treasures. Students will travel to Utah, Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado; visit ancient ruins; hike to mountain meadows, waterfalls, and canyons; measure scientific activity at geysers; study endangered wolves; and live together in a rustic lodge on the edge of a river. Ultimately, the visit to Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Arches, Mesa Verde, and Canyonlands National Parks will help inspire a sense of responsibility for our collective ownership of these protected lands.
What will students learn in this course? Students will come to understand how history, literature, conservation biology and ecology, climate science and geology, economics, and Native American culture come together as an essential part of the human experience to inspire and sustain us because, as naturalist John Muir once observed, “...when one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world...” Students will practice collaborative and creative critical thinking skills as we design a National Park Visitor Center exhibit that shares the science, history, and outdoor experience of these special places.
Participants must have an overall moderate fitness level, willingness to reside in rustic accommodations and communal living spaces with no air conditioning, and an interest in and ability to participate in long hikes.
Curricular Focus: History • Outdoor Education • Conservation Biology and Ecology
Locations: The Hun School and National Parks
Transcend & Transform: a Way of Life
Essential Question: How did Henry David Thoreau and the transcendental movement transform America, our understanding of the natural world, and our place in it? And how can we train our minds to make intentional contact with the world around us?
What will students do during this course? Students will follow in the literary footsteps of Henry David Thoreau on a trip to the Maine woods, where Thoreau discovered the depths of untouched wilderness. They will kayak in lakes, walk forest paths, hike mountains, search for moose, and attempt to recreate the experiences that inspired Thoreau to write some of the most transformative and important literature of the 19th century. You will end your journey in historical Concord, Massachusetts, where we will explore Walden Pond, visit the original site of his cabin, and tour homes from the mid-19th century.
What will students learn in this course? Students will spend time reading Thoreau’s works, journaling, listening to the sounds of nature, and attuning yourself to the rhythms of the natural world. By disconnecting with the technological world through intentional outdoor experiences, students will put Thoreau’s words into practice and learn to live deliberately, in contact with the natural world.
Participants must have an overall moderate fitness level, willingness to reside in rustic accommodations, an ability to withstand limited access to personal devices, and an interest in and ability to participate in long hikes.
Curricular Focus: Natural history • Literature • History • Outdoor education
Locations: The Hun School and Maine
Savannah’s Outer Banks
Essential Question: How does the interplay of geography, history, and culture shape the identities of communities and people, as exemplified by urban life in Savannah and the unique Gullah-Geechee culture found on the islands off the coast of Georgia?
What will students do in this course? Students will explore the historical events that have shaped Savannah Georgia, and the Gullah-Geechee culture. They will also explore the ways in which coastal life has shaped daily life and students will visit Tybee Island, explore historic and haunted buildings, and visit Sapelo Island, all while eating authentic southern cuisine
What will students learn in this course? While attending tours, listening to speakers, and exploring conservation projects, students will learn about the history of Savannah and its nearby islands and the people who inhabit them. Gain a deeper understanding of historical awareness and the ways urban Savannah and the Gullah-Geechee community preserve history.
Curricular Focus: History • Culture • Conservationism • Land Rights
Locations: The Hun School, Savannah and Sapelo Island, Ga.
Behind the Credits: Business and Technology in Film
Essential Question: How does business and technology drive the creative process in the film industry?
What will students do in this course? Students will dive into the heart of the film industry in Los Angeles. Students will visit studio lots, filming locations, and the Academy of Motion Pictures Museum. Students will meet with writers, directors, editors, and cinematographers and learn from industry experts what it takes to capture an audience, tell a story, and bring an idea to the screen. Students will explore the latest technological advances in the film industry and their impact on the creative process and bottom line. Students will work with artists to learn about the impact of social movements and ethical issues on the film industry. Students will create story pitches, business plans, and marketing concepts throughout the course.
What will students learn in this course? Students will learn the film industry's history and technology's impact on how stories are told and made. They will explore the streaming industry and how it has impacted the business of filmmaking and will learn how to create business plans and proposals, create marketing materials, and how to pitch story ideas. They will gain insight from the perspectives of local artists about current issues in the industry, from the recent actors’ and writers’ strikes to ongoing conversations about representation and equity both on and off the screen. Students will gain an understanding of the business, social, and technological factors that impact what films get made and what stories are told.
Curricular Focus: Filmmaking • Technology • Business • History • Ethics • Marketing
Locations: The Hun School and Los Angeles, California
NextTerm International Travel
Five to seven nights of international travel; Additional cost to families. Please note: A visa may be required for students who do not hold a U.S. passport. Students should begin the visa process as soon as placement is finalized.
Collective Action: Protecting Leatherbacks in Costa Rica
Essential Question: How can we play an active role in securing the health of our ecosystem and protecting our wildlife? What aspects of Costa Rica’s conservation programs can be applied or adapted here in New Jersey?
What will students do in this course? Students will travel to the Timbarina Biological Reserve, a 345-hectare tropical forest reserve that protects biodiversity through education, research, and ecotourism, where they will have a day hike to observe the area's flora and fauna, conduct field investigations and independent research work, and participate in a night hike to observe nocturnal frogs and rich insect life. Then, they will continue to the Pacuare Reserve, a small and remote quasi-island on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, where they will participate in a nightly turtle census to collect data on nesting Leatherback seaturtles. Censuses are approximately four hours in length, with shifts starting at 8:00 pm, 10:00 pm, and 12:00 am. Finally, they will celebrate your hard work with river rafting on the Pacuare River with qualified guides through beautiful Costa Rican scenery.
What will students learn in this course? Students will study biodiversity in one of the most biodiverse places in the world. They will learn about current efforts to protect the Leatherback Sea Turtle, and examine the intersection of these efforts with socio-economic realities of the local human population. They will learn about the effects that climate change and erosion have on these efforts, and how communities can come together to solve overwhelming challenges.
Curricular Focus: Marine Science • Ecology • Socioeconomics • Conservation
Locations: The Hun School and Costa Rica; Spanish language proficiency not required
The Nordic Approach to Living Well: The Pursuit of Gender Equity
Essential Question: How does the pursuit of gender equity produce outcomes that shape the quality of life in Scandinavia and beyond?
What will students do in this course? Northern European countries have often been labeled as some of the “happiest countries in the world.” Scandinavia ranks particularly high as a region that promotes and supports the welfare of women. Students will explore, examine, and study the role gender plays in producing outcomes and policies that shape the quality of life in Scandinavia. Students will compare our findings to the US and other parts of the world.
What will students learn in this course? Students will learn what it’s like to live in a system of government very different to the U.S., and what those political differences actually mean for people’s day to day life. They will be challenged to think critically about social issues like gender equity and diversity, and will assess your own definition of values like happiness, justice, and equity. Ultimately they will gain a more in-depth understanding of multiple approaches to sustaining those values through both small-scale action and systemic change.
Curricular Focus: Gender Studies • Social Justice • Humanities
Locations: The Hun School and Scandinavia
When the Torch Goes Out: Unraveling the Barcelona Olympic Legacy
Essential Question: When the Olympics closing ceremony ends and the international community departs, what are the lasting economic, social and cultural impacts on the host city? What intentional urban planning and design choices can be made to ensure a positive local and global legacy?
What will students do in this course? Students will investigate the Olympic bidding system, analyzing factors that attract selection and influence the execution of the Games. They will visit key Olympic sites in Barcelona, such as the Olympic Stadium and Barceloneta, engaging with areas developed for hosting the Games. Interactions with experts at local museums and universities will provide historical insights into the Games. They will also explore Barcelona's rich cultural heritage, including iconic landmarks like Sagrada Familia and Park Guell, and gain an understanding of the city's modernist art, architecture, and unique local culture.
What will students learn in this course? Students will learn about the complexities of hosting the Olympics and the potential to showcase a city's character and attract investment and tourism. Barcelona's successful transformation after the Olympics through strategic urban enhancements and cultural displays serves as a notable example. Exploring the city provides insights into the symbiotic relationship between creative urban design and culture, fostering vibrant, sustainable, accessible, and resilient communities, and offering an opportunity to immerse in Spanish and Catalan culture.
Curricular Focus: Urban Design • Cultural Heritage • Sustainability
Locations: The Hun School, Spain; Spanish language proficiency not required