Upper School » Curriculum



At Quest to Learn, teachers design the curriculum as a series of missions, each of which has a narrative, a purpose. This methodology is inherently engaging to students and teachers, and aids in the development of critical thinking skills. Students solve a mission when they use the content and skills they have learned in order to design a solution to a particular problem. The missions are generated around challenges that exist in the real world, such as in 7th Grade Science, when students learn about sustainable energy sources in order to design a school with a low carbon footprint. In the process, students must  consider systems and how the world is interconnected, because real world problems cannot be solved via effort in only one particular content area.

Sample Science Class

Chemistry Regents – Upper School
Chemistry is changing every aspect of the landscape of the world today: how people live and work, how they communicate, and how they eat. In this laboratory-based course, students will explore the use of chemistry to solve real world problems.  Some topics investigated are the Fukushima nuclear disaster, how fruits and vegetables are preserved, and how pharmaceutical drugs are developed. This course, along with semester 2, is designed to prepare students for the Chemistry Regents exam in June.

Sample English Class

English Language Arts – 9th Grade
Self on the Stand
What is ‘the self’? This course explores various understandings of selfhood and the factors that impact its formation. Students will read two novels and a Shakespearean play, as well as a range of short stories and poems that get at the question of what makes one’s identity. Informed and inspired by their investigations, students will design and launch digital identity portfolios comprised of their own personal narratives, dramatic monologues, and argumentative essays.

Sample Social Studies Class

United States History & Government
Regents Course – Upper School
US History & Government traces the history of the United States through a thematic lens. While many history courses begin with events and issues located in some distant past, this course begins with you and the times in which you have lived. How can we study the past without having some conception of the present times in which we live? We will trace social, political, and economic themes throughout the year – sometimes in chronological order… sometimes not in chronological order. However, this does not discount the need to understand the past, rather understanding the past requires us to understand chronology… and more importantly, the context(s) in which people have lived. The United States History & Government Regents Exam will be taken at the end of this course.

Sample Math Class

Integrated Algebra
Math Regents Course – Upper School
In Integrated Algebra, students spend their first semester modeling the mathematics they learn through their very own business plans. The semester-long project culminates in a presentation to a professional judging board where students’ business proposals will be put to the test. Through researched evidence and descriptive data, students will be able to mathematically prove why their ideas are the best! Common Core Regents preparation will be integrated in classwork throughout the semester to ensure student achievement in June.