1st Quarter Student Review

Posted by Holden School on 12/5/2013 2:10:00 PM

Overview by John

A quick wrap-up of our first quarter:

Math: Algebra II joined Pre-Calculus investigating the Unit Circle of Trigonometry, up to proving Pythagorean identities. Pre-Calculus went on to get deep into all the identities, half-angle, double-angle, sum of angles, and into problem solving with these tools. At the quarter’s end the paths cross again for solving systems of equations in three variables.

Algebra I has been covering foundational topics, and is now employing slope-intercept form of linear equations to solve systems of equations with two variables.

Science: Chemistry has covered foundational concepts for the Science of Chemistry, Matter and Energy, Atoms and Moles, and the Periodic Table. Coming up next: Ions and Ionic Compounds and Covalent Compounds.

Grade 8 Science began with force and momentum, and is currently conducting a systematic survey of grade 6-8 science standards, passing on learning to the grade 6 science class.

United States History has been examining our foundational documents in depth. The Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, Constitution (with the Bill of Rights and amendments XI-XXVII, and several Federalist Papers have all been the subject of our close reading and study. Each student chose an applicable topic to defend as constitutional or otherwise. These wide-ranging topics include: Warrant-less wiretapping, FISA, and the NSA; Pentagon Papers Publication; Obamacare and the Government Shutdown; and Presidential War-Making.

English language arts students have given close readings to poems, prose fiction, and literary non-fiction, producing essays on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter”, and Robert Frost’s “Out, Out.” Looking in depth into Environmental Non-Fiction has included a range of writers including Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edward Albee, John Muir, and Wendell Berry.

Music Theory class finds students writing short major-key motifs including every degree of the scale.

Physical Education has hiked, run, hung, climbed, kicked, dribbled, shot, and engaged in the practice of Qigong.


School for me is a very simple thing with layered complexity.. It can be bad, or it can be good with every possible degree of varying in between with specification in day, time, class, or weather. Holden Village High School is a very different experience from my school last year. Last year, it looked, felt and worked like a prison. You moved from one section of the school to the next in an orderly and non-disruptive fashion, made it to the next class, listened to a lecture (took notes), received an assignment and moved on to the next “class.” This system of memorization of information within a 55 minute class period often without any form of discussion made school a stressful and upsetting place for me.

HVHS is a far superior educational experience. I spend the day discussing my work, and doing assignments no more than a “Hey John?” away from help. I have electives I would never have dreamed of at my old school, such as Mechanics, in which I help the village mechanic with whatever mechanic duties need being done, as well as my current project of taking apart and repairing a Chevy 318 V8 engine, a spare from one of the Bombardiers. (A French-Canadian company) There really is no comparing Holden High to anything, it is a very singular experience that I’m glad to have the opportunity to have, and I believe I will be glad of it for many, many years to come.


My chosen electives are Music Theory, and Art portfolio. I chose these subjects because I derive enjoyment from both of them. I believe that the arts are just important to exercise than the maths and sciences. Therefor I took the liberty of selecting two classes that often use the creative mind. I have studied the piano for many years, and I find that a large amount of my daily rhythm and happiness comes from music that I create, and that others have before me. I chose art because it is, in my belief, the most creative subject. Many of my strange, yet almost logical, plans for my future studies and careers are greatly influenced by those two subjects.


This year for my electives I have chosen to take an electricity/electronics class and a German class. I the electricity class I have learned about ohms’ law, current, and resisters, among other things. Also I have learned several equations that I can use to find the volts, amps, ohms, or watts. Another thing that I have learned about is circuits and the different kinds of circuits, and how to calculate the resistance of a circuit with multiple resistors. I’m taking my German class online through Rosetta stone. This is my second year of German and I think it is a fun language to learn. I have been learning greetings and introductions and am almost done with that section and will soon move on to the work and school section.


This year for my own enlightenment I have been studying the stars. My knowledge of astronomy was very little before I started learning this year so I decided to expand my knowledge. To demonstrate what I have learned this quarter I have designed a system for locating most of the constellations visible around Holden.

It is based on a map of the night sky that I pieced together from drawings that I made from the pages of an astronomy book. Getting the proportions right took quite some time and a whole lot of editing and repositioning, But I finally have a way to visually explain my system for navigating the Holden night sky.