Curriculum and Courses


SVSM supplements high school and university courses, taking students beyond the traditional boundaries of high school science and mathematics. Students are instructed by university professors and master high school teachers working with professionals from other institutions, government, and industry. Students learn experimental design, laboratory skills, instrumentation, mathematical modeling, strategies in mathematical problem solving and exploratory data analysis. Moreover, students learn while they are engaged in specific scientific and mathematical activities of interest to them.


The following is a listing of possible SVSM course work. Each year the courses will vary.

Field Botany and Ecology - Dr. Michael Baranski

Abstracts of 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014 & 2015

This field-oriented course treats the identification, distribution and ecology of the more common plants and plant communities found throughout North Carolina, with emphasis on the vascular plants and natural communities found in the Piedmont, Inner Coastal Plain and Mountains. Students actively participate in field research investigations, develop research reports, and make final presentations. Field activities include the use of keys and field manuals, observation and study of representative communities, and sampling and analysis of populations and communities. Students will be expected to take notes and record data both in the classroom and in the field. Field work will include some work outside of the normal class schedule while on campus. Several all-day trips are planned to sites in the Charlotte area, as well as extended-stay trips to the northwest mountains of North Carolina and the Sandhills/Coastal Plain.

Mathematical Evolutions – Ms. Jennifer McCarthy | Co-Instructor - Andrew Platek and Jonathan Phillips.

    Abstracts of 2010, 2011, 2012 2013 & 2014

Mathematical Evolutions will be a survey course exploring the development of mathematics from Ancient Egypt to present day. The course will emphasize examination of topics in and beyond the high school curriculum with a special focus on proof and reasoning. This course is designed to develop high school students’ conceptual understanding of fundamental mathematical ideas as they have developed through history. Students will also have the opportunity to experiment with ancient methods of calculation and problem solving. The abacus and slide rule will be used in addition to modern technology such as Geometer’s Sketchpad. Prerequisite: Students should have completed Algebra II.

Practical Applications of Advanced Mathematics - Ms. Amy Goodrum

  Abstracts of 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 ,2014 & 2015

This course is designed to provide students with the opportunity to experience hands-on applications of advanced mathematics using teamwork skills. Topics in geometry and trigonometry are among the mathematical concepts that will be applied to land surveying, NASCAR racing, and decision-making skills. Hands-on activities, mini-projects, and related field trips are planned throughout the four-week course. Prerequisites: Geometry and Algebra II.

Quantitative Methods in Rocks and Minerals - Mr. Steve Teeter

  Abstracts of 2010, 2011,2012,2013,2014 & 2015

This field-based course involves the collection of rocks and minerals and examination of the various analytical techniques of geologists. Identification techniques will range from hand specimens to SEM and X-ray. Field trips will be taken to the piedmont, coastal plains and mountains in order to study first hand the varied geology of the Appalachian region, examining the ancient environments of the Appalachian mountains as compared with the modern environments in progress today in the coastal plain. Topics will include: Minerals, Sedimentary rocks, Coastal Plain and Triassic Basic field trip, Igneous Rocks, Piedmont field trip, Metamorphic Rocks, Mountain field trip, Petrography (cut rocks), X-ray diffraction, SEM, AA, Differential Thermal Analysis, data gathering, and analysis. Students will also develop and present individual research projects and maintain a detailed field book and a photo journal. Prerequisite: None.

Topics in Biology - Mr. Joshua Cannon

     Abstracts of 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014 & 2015

Students investigate a wide range of biological topics in the laboratory intensive course. Students are immersed in an inquiry-based experience that enriches their understanding and appreciation for biology. Laboratory experiments are conducted daily allowing students to investigate topics in areas that include the following: biotechnology, bacteriology, virology, genetics, genetic engineering, animal behavior, animal physiology, evolution, ecology, and bioethics. It is highly recommended that students taking this course have a basic understanding of principle concepts in both chemistry and biology.

A Real World View of Applied Math and Statistics - Dr. John Taylor & Ms. Desiré Taylor

Abstracts of 2010, 2011, 2012 2013 ,2014 &2015

The goal of this course is to show the prevalence of mathematics in our everyday lives. The first half of the course will be devoted to several mathematical subject areas mainly using statistics. An overview of statistics will be taught so that your understanding of these subject areas will be understood. Topics will include naturally occurring patterns in nature, as well as our attraction to individuals and structures that epitomize particular patterns and ratios. We will explore areas in business, science, medicine, forensics, and many others. Further, we will use mathematics to describe how efficiency and order are achieved in business and government. The class will also cover graph theory as it pertains to data and looking for patterns, as well as algorithms for determining efficient models. Topics will be modified depending upon the interest of the students in the class. Throughout the class, we will center on data collection and analysis through the use of probes and programs connected with TI-84 calculators. Students will collect and analyze their own data which will set up the student for working on their paper. The second half of the class will center on data collection and analysis so students may do a write-up on their paper/project. (Data collection will depend upon available resources.)  Prerequisite: None.

Ventures in Optical Engineering - Dr. Kasra Daneshvar

   Abstracts of 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013

The course is intended for high school students who are interested in science and advanced technology. These students would most likely want to pursue degrees in the fields of Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, or Biological Sciences at the college level. The course is a combination of lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on laboratory projects. Daily lectures cover topics in modern optical engineering and its applications in other fields of study. Classroom demonstrations are frequent and support the daily lectures. Afternoon laboratory experiments are conducted in a senior lab in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department. These experiments are related to basic electronics, communication electronics, optical fiber communication, and optical signal processing. Microelectronic clean room experiments allow the students to familiarize themselves with microelectronic fabrication and devices. Prerequisite: None.