The Virtual High School Expands Summer School Program with Three New Courses


The Virtual High School (VHS, Inc.), a non-profit empowering schools with the industry’s best online and blended learning programs, is offering three new summer courses. Registration for the new courses, one featuring hands-on chemistry experiments, one exploring classical methods of secret code writing and the third centered around designing a home solar power system, is currently open. Summer School courses are offered for credit recovery and enrichment in two four-week sessions starting in July and August, and one eight-week session in July.

Solar Energy Design (grades 9-12)

This four-week course provides students with an opportunity to explore how solar energy can reduce the carbon footprint, and investigate how photovoltaic solar panels work to generate electricity.  Students design a photovoltaic solar panel system for their own home or a residential building of their choice. 

Using a computer-aided design and simulation tool called Energy3D along with Google Earth, students construct a model of their chosen residence, design a solar panel array for their residence, and evaluate how the design meets the challenge of maximizing electrical output while minimizing cost and aesthetic impact.

Cryptography: The Math Behind Secret Messages (grades 6-12)

This four-week course will show students how to use mathematical concepts to read and write secret messages through the application of ciphers from classical cryptography such as the Caesar cipher, Vigenere cipher, Affine cipher, Jefferson Wheel cipher and the Playfair cipher. Course participants will also analyze and compare the security of various ciphers.

In addition to code writing, students will also explore the historical impact of these ciphers on society. Through these investigations, students will develop an understanding of the importance of code writing.

Chemistry (grades 9-12)

In this eight-week course, students will investigate topics such as chemical reactions, stoichiometry, atomic theory and states of matter using a variety of multimedia and textbook resources. Students will perform hands-on experiments and share their data and conclusions with classmates. The course will also include weekly discussions that connect classroom topics to the real world, ranging from the latest innovations to important issues currently affecting modern life, such as climate change.

By the end of the course students will be able to apply what they have learned to further study in the physical sciences, life sciences or engineering. Additionally, they will be able to apply their understanding of chemistry to a variety of career fields, including environmental careers, health careers and public policy.

“These new additions to our summer school catalog provide students with interesting and unique ways to explore STEM subjects,” said Kim Spangenberg, Associate Dean of STEM at VHS. “The days of teaching STEM subjects by having students memorize facts and solve boring problem sets have passed. By connecting complex math and science concepts to the real world, we can show students how truly interesting and relevant STEM subjects are, while planting the seeds for future career considerations.”

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