## Falcon Scholars Curriculum [1]

Randolph-Macon Academy's Academic Department developed the following specialized curriculum for the Falcon Scholars based specifically on the needs of the Air Force Academy. The curriculum focuses on four key areas: Mathematics, Science, English, and SAT/ACT Prep.

## Mathematics

Successful Air Force Academy candidates need mastery of the foundation of mathematical principles to be successful. Progress toward this goal depends in part upon the successful integration of the new mathematics with the old to ensure that students acquire the fundamentals, while they are provided with an overview of the rapidly expanding frontiers in the field.

**Honors Algebra II/Trigonometry**

Honors Algebra II/Trigonometry reviews and expands basic algebraic concepts and skills covered in Algebra I and Geometry. Students learn a higher level of mathematical thinking and greater skill in working with numbers and algebraic expressions, equations, and inequalities. Among other topics, they study complex numbers, functions, linear systems, quadratic functions, radical equations, trigonometry, probability and linear programming. This is excellent preparation for excelling in the advanced mathematics courses such as pre-calculus and calculus.

**Honors Pre-Calculus**

This advanced course prepares students for calculus and higher level mathematics. Students are exposed to higher level functions, including circular functions (trigonometry), analytical geometry, sequence and series, polar coordinates, and conic sections. This challenging course prepares our most serious students for theoretical college calculus by challenging them to solve rigorous and complex problems with an in-depth knowledge of higher level functions.

## Science

Understanding and applying major scientific principles and the development of confidence in the use of scientific methods is essential for the successful Air Force Academy candidate. Classroom teaching stimulates an interest in research and investigation, and laboratory periods present opportunities for individual and group experimentation. Both inductive and deductive techniques are used to aid students in understanding principles and solving problems. All courses require extensive laboratory work.

**Advanced Placement Chemistry**

Students in this course extend the basic principles of general chemistry into a deeper understanding of the complexity of chemical processes found in stoichiometry, gas laws, chemical bonding, theorem chemistry, kinetics, and equilibrium. Concepts studied are strongly reinforced by laboratory experiments. The understanding of concepts and the ability to solve problems are emphasized. Advanced Placement Chemistry requires an application of algebraic principles to fully comprehend the chemical forces at work.

**Advanced Placement Physics**

This class presumes at least an introductory background in physics and is equivalent to an advanced, college level calculus-based mechanics class. Students examine the standard topics in a mechanics curriculum from the basic kinematics equations through gravitation and rotational dynamics in much greater depth and with the application of the tools of calculus. Class time will be split amongst a combination of lectures, interactive demonstrations, problem-solving sessions and group work, and laboratory experiments. Students are expected to spend a significant amount of time outside of class on the course material. The student must have completed math classes through pre-calculus and one year of high school physics (or have an equivalent background as approved by the instructor or Dean). In addition to this, the student must have either already completed or be currently enrolled in Advanced Placement Calculus.

## English

A solid foundation in reading and writing is the best preparation for success at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Reading and analyzing literature and rhetoric develops the student as thinker, writer, and speaker. Students develop mastery and voice in diverse writing missions. Rigorous vocabulary study with cumulative testing develops the language facility needed for reading, writing, and standardized testing. Students learn to develop a formal thesis in essays that focus on the themes and literary techniques of literature; they learn the Modern Language Association (MLA) style for writing research projects.

**Advanced Placement Literature and Composition **

In texts ranging from Dante and Shakespeare to Albee and Beckett, students learn to read and analyze the world’s most important writings. Students write analyses and interpretations based on application of the works’ textual details, literary elements, social and historical context, and themes. The course affords students the opportunity to read and write in a variety of forms—narrative, expository, creative, and argumentative. Students gain mastery in the process of drafting, revising, editing, and polishing a piece of work. In developing sophisticated reading and writing skills, students explore and describe how language works. They learn to observe and analyze the words, patterns, and structures that create subtle effects of language. The depth, breadth, and pace of readings and the writing assignments challenge students and prepare them to succeed in the Advanced Placement test given each spring.

## SAT/ACT Preparation

Fundamental test taking strategies, mathematical principles, reading approaches, and vocabulary development form the foundation for this course. To prepare the successful test taker, a multitude of approaches are used—computer research and testing, paper and pencil tests, vocabulary dissection, instruction on calculator use, and more. This thorough course reviews the current approaches to successfully scoring on the college entrance examinations. The course is designed to help students improve their SAT/ACT scores. Our track record is excellent and we are confident that Falcon Scholars will experience significant improvement.

*"Since coming to R-MA, I’ve grown as a more efficient person. I have also learned my strengths and weaknesses. These coupled together, I spent less time on things I am good at, and focused more on those I needed more work on, ultimately making me a stronger and more well-rounded individual. For example, I came to R-MA fairly strong in math, and weak in physics and chemistry. I was able to focus most if my time into the latter to improve myself in those science fields. I will definitely use these new skills later at the academy, especially with a much heavier workload."*

* Seth D'Allessandris, R-MA Falcon Scholar '17, USAFA '21*