Upper School

Back to School Night

Thursday, September 23, 2021


Ms. Kookogey

Miss Kookogey will discuss John Keats’ poem “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” which she reads with her ninth graders every year at the beginning of Classical Literature. Focusing on Keats’ closing claim that “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,” she will talk about how the poet’s description of the relationship between a work of art and its spectator informs ACA students’ study of literature in the Upper School.

Ms. Hauprich

Ms. Hauprich will lead parents in a discussion which exactly mirrors how 7th graders discuss Fahrenheit 451 in her classThey will read a passage describing a dystopian school and have a discussion which builds to a big question: what is school for, anyway?  

History & Humanities

Mr. Bettencourt

Mr. Bettencourt will examine a fascinating event during World War One known as the Christmas Truce of 1914 where soldiers on the Western front agreed to a ceasefire in order to celebrate Christmas. He’ll talk about the events that led up to the Truce and what happened as a result of it. Finally, he’ll speak to the beauty of humanity even when faced with tremendous amounts of death and destruction, and how the message of the Christmas Truce can apply to our own lives. 

Dr. Farmer

Dr. Farmer will teach all interested parties about Empress Theodora, wife of the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian—a prostitute turned theologian turned empress turned savior of Constantinople. 

Dr. Kapelina-Thomas

Do we only behave well because we are afraid of getting caught? If we were shielded from the consequences of our actions, would we act differently? Dr. K-T will explore our natural moral inclinations using “The Ring of Gyges” – a thought experiment that appears in Plato’s Republic – as a stimulus. She’ll then explain Plato’s reasons for believing that living virtuously leads to happiness and a healthy soul.

Mrs. Stone

Mrs. Stone will explore the question of how nations come to terms with the atrocities of war using Abraham Lincoln’s brief but powerful “Gettysburg Address.” She will talk about how and why Lincoln used this precise historical moment to reorient and redirect the nation to its conception at a time of deep division, fear, and sorrow.

Mr. Stone

Mr. Stone will be teaching a lesson on the Outbreak of World War I. The lesson will discuss the long-term and short-term causes of the war. It will explore some of the primary ideologies leading to the war such as Nationalism, Imperialism, Social Darwinism, and Militarism. It will also look at some theories about the outbreak of the war.


Dr. Elrod

Come see what DNA looks like by helping Dr. Elrod isolate DNA from a strawberry. Learn how Genetic engineering and biotechnology are helping us to understand the function of genes, cellular processes, and the development of diseases. These advances will lead to better treatments of disease and further the understanding of life on earth.

Mr. Jerpe

The year is 1769, and this new science has been on a winning streak of late. Newton’s theories have begun to win wide acceptance, and the late Professor Halley’s comet, after a long absence, has come and gone, just like he predicted it would! But now, astronomers are claiming that Venus will soon pass over the face of the Sun, giving mankind a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compute our solar system’s true dimensions. Exciting news! But are these calculations correct? Will the British be able to set up the measurement in time? Or if they cannot, will the French beat them to it?

Mrs. Huff
Mrs. Huff will explain the amazing basics of classifying matter. Watch as a compound is chemically ripped apart into its constituent elements. Be a witness to a mixture being separated by mere physical properties. You will not want to miss this session, you may never look at matter the same again. 
Mrs. Younker

Ms. Younker will teach of a beautiful biological process called transcription. Even though DNA is the source of all information for organisms, its sidekick, mRNA, takes the lead role in mobilizing the cell towards action. Come for a demonstration that illuminates the mystery.


Mr. Clausen

Mr. Clausen will present some of the very real applications and properties of imaginary numbers. The number “i” can cause justifiable panic in students, but the inherent rhythm it contains has made it an essential tool for engineers, electricians, and physicists. Together we will examine the beauty of this strange number and learn to better explain the beauty and rhythm of the universe.

Mrs. Fuqua

Ms. Fuqua will discuss how to prove the Triangle-Angle Sum Theorem. She will walk through the steps of proving that the angles inside of a triangle add up to 180 degrees. Once we prove this theorem, see how it can be used to find missing angle measures in complex diagrams. 

Mr. Gwak

Correlation does not equal causation. Correlation is a measurement of the strength and direction of the relationship between two or more variables. Causation indicates a similar but different relationship between variables, namely that one variable produces an effect on another variable or causes it. Just because data correlate does not mean there’s a causal link between them: the variables could be influenced by a third, unknown variable or randomly happen to correlate.

How do we identify the cause-effect relationship? Let’s explore how we can show causation through a statistical study!

Mr. Thiel
Mr. Thiel will teach an algebra lesson that involves what some before him have called the Golden Rule of Algebra. He’ll demonstrate why and how inverse operations are used to isolate variables and the lesson will conclude with a group competition to see who can properly “balance the scale!”
Mrs. Wilson

A word problem is a beautiful pathway to tie together connections that exist in math concepts. Word problems engage a level of thinking that demonstrates progression towards mastery, while building important critical thinking skills. However, this required effort that helps to strengthen math skills is the very reason why many students both dislike and struggle with word problems. In the class, we will walk through the process of decoding a word problem and building a mathematical model to express and solve the problem. Having a clearly defined approach to word problems is the key to helping students build confidence in solving them.


Mr. Hawkins
In Mr. Hawkins’ session, we’ll take a look at a typical house of a wealthy Roman.  We’ll talk about Roman food and domestic life, while learning a few very useful vocabulary words. You never know when you’re going to have to ask directions to the bathroom in Latin!
Mrs. Holloway

Mrs. Holloway will be discussing language inflection, which governs the structure of Latin sentences. We will cover the difference between the structures of Latin and English, which is a syntactic language. This structural difference accounts for at least some of the challenge students face when acquiring Latin. She will then cover the case system, which is related to inflection.

Sra. Rigby

Mrs. Rigby will discuss how each noun in Spanish has a gender assignment and the rules to differentiate masculine from feminine nouns.  The second topic will be false cognates and how they can alter the target language by twisting the message that one wants to give, which can ultimately lead to misunderstandings.  The last topic will be about how one single verb (“to be”) in English turns into two different verbs in Spanish which differ according to their uses.

Dr. Roth

Dr. Roth will discuss various humorous anecdotes related by Cicero, explaining not only the humor but also the grammar necessary to translate the passages.

Fine Arts

Ms. Adams

Ms. Adams will explore the questions “What is art?“ and “How do we look at art?” We will
discuss all of the elements of art and the principles of design. Together we will look at a master
work of art and visually break it down so we are then able to get a deeper understanding of the
art piece and the artist behind the masterpiece.

Mr. Franklin

Can a piece of music help lead to independence? This is the overarching question that we ask as we listen to Finlandia composed by Jean Sibelius. In 1899 the Finnish people were holding a secret meeting hoping to gain support for seeking independence from Russia. Sibelius wanting to help the cause composed a tone poem titled, “The Melting of the Ice on the Ulea River.” Even in its name, the piece calls for an awakening of the Finnish people.

Mr. Henriques

Mr. Henriques will discuss the different ways of listening to music. Come experience a piece of music you may have never heard before and learn how to use some new listening strategies to help you appreciate all music with greater depth.