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5th-6th Grade Courses

Please click on the links below for more information about 5th-6th grade courses offered at the Hong Kong site:




Mathematics Course Descriptions

Inductive and Deductive Reasoning

Reasoning, logic, and critical-thinking skills are the building blocks of intellectual inquiry. This course focuses on developing these skills through problem solving, puzzles, and exposure to a wide range of topics in mathematics. Students learn to distinguish between inductive and deductive reasoning and examine the roles played by each in mathematics.

What is the next term of the sequence 1, 5, 12, 22, 35? How do these numbers relate to triangular and square numbers? The students’ introduction to inductive reasoning begins with a search for patterns in data and creating recursive and explicit formulas to describe those patterns. Students master material by considering puzzles, algebraic and geometric concepts, patterns, and real-world questions that can be answered using inductive reasoning.

As they move on to topics in deductive reasoning, students learn to use a system of logic to draw conclusions from statements that are accepted as true. Students encounter a variety of classic problem types as they explore symbolic logic, truth tables, syllogisms, Venn diagrams, knights and knaves problems, and Euler circuits. Emphasis is placed on the importance of proving conclusions using valid arguments.

Sample texts: Materials compiled by the instructor; a supplemental text such as The Number Devil, Enzensberger.

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Introduction to Robotics

In the field of robotics, computer science and engineering come together to create machines that can perform a variety of tasks from manufacturing microchips to exploring Mars.

In this course, students develop familiarity with computer science concepts. For example, they explore topics such as algorithms, sequential control flow, and Boolean operators. Students also survey basic principles of physics and mechanical engineering, such as simple machines and locomotion, and basic principles of electrical engineering, such as circuits and sensor feedback. Using LEGO® robotics equipment, they work together to construct, program, and test their robots in a modern programming environment.

With each project, students design, build, and program robots to complete a complex task, and reinforce a new concept. These projects demonstrate the basic computer science and engineering principles that underlie everything from the space shuttle to the average home toaster. Students gain a foundation in computer programming and engineering that will become increasingly important in the highly technical twenty-first century.

Sample text: Materials compiled by the instructor.

Lab Fee: $100 (This fee is greater than for other courses due to higher material and equipment costs.)

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Science Course Descriptions

Science and Engineering

How do simple machines work? How can a concrete boat float? How do you build the strongest bridge with the lightest building materials? Physics, the science of matter and its motion, helps answer these questions and more. In this course, students explore basic physics and engineering concepts such as principles of mechanics; electricity and magnetism; waves and optics; and thermodynamics. They learn through hands-on activities and projects reinforced by lectures, class discussions, and practice exercises.

Students might participate in a catapult design challenge to learn about projectile motion or take part in an egg-drop container contest to investigate impulse. To study potential and kinetic energy, they might design and build roller coasters, and they could learn about current and voltage by using a lemon to light a bulb. Students carefully analyze data they collect and write reports about the projects.

Students learn how to ask scientific questions, hypothesize, and experiment in order to interpret physical phenomena. By the end of the course, students acquire an understanding of major concepts in physics and an enhanced ability to work in groups and individually to solve problems in the physical sciences.

Note: Students in this class should have a strong background in pre-algebra or have completed CTY’s Inductive and Deductive Reasoning or Data and Chance.

Sample texts: The Cartoon Guide to Physics, Gonick; The Art of Construction, Salvadori.

Lab Fee: $85

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Writing Course Descriptions

Writing and Imagination

Writing is an act of imagination; it builds from the raw materials of life and language. Students in this course read, write, and discuss a variety of genres including poems, short stories, and essays. They are encouraged to approach writing as a craft and to discover the processes and techniques that writers in all genres share. For example, students learn strategies for generating ideas, and they explore the concept and techniques of point of view.

This course brings together students and instructors who, as experienced writers themselves, serve as mentors to guide students through the process of creative writing. During writing workshops, both the instructor and peers offer detailed criticism geared toward revision. Through this process of writing, critiquing, and revising, students develop confidence in their own writing and creative powers.

Sample texts: Materials compiled by the instructor; a supplemental text such as The House on Mango Street, Cisneros, or Past Perfect, Present Tense: New and Collected Stories, Peck.

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