Overview of Content-Centered Curriculum for Collegetown Prep

At Collegetown Prep we believe that language acquisition is not the sole purpose of instruction but the medium or the way of learning new content. Our program is designed to emulate the college environment, where students have the autonomy to choose coursework that best suits their interests. As such, offered coursework for each session will be determined by student interest prior to arrival. Course descriptions are provided below

America’s Heritage of Immigration (CTP 101) 

Brief Description

In this course students will gain an understanding of the history and impact of immigration in the United States over the centuries and today.

Guiding Questions

  •     Why is it often said that America is a "nation of immigrants"?  
  •     What happened to the indigenous people of the United States when immigrants arrived? 
  •     How does contemporary immigration in the United States differ from immigration 100 or 200 years ago?

Experiential Learning Activities

  •     Visit the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County at the Hjemkomst Center. 
  •     Visit Bonanzaville at the Cass County Historical Society.
  •     Take a tour of the Lutheran Social Services' Center for New Americans. 
  •     Connect with Native Americans and learn about how this history of immigration has affected their lives even still today.
  •     Listen to a panel discussion of refugees living in the Fargo-Moorhead area. 
  •     Volunteer in the refugee community garden in West Fargo.

Classroom Activities

  •     Interview people on the Concordia campus about their ancestry. 
  •     Research the namesakes of key buildings on campus, to learn their importance to the Norwegian community and Concordia College (i.e. Grose, Knutson, Yvilsaker). 
  •     Write a short skit describing the interplay of two major events of 1862: the passageof the Homestead Act and the Dakota War. 

 

Food and Agriculture in American Society (CTP 102)

Brief Description

In this course, students will learn about different approaches to food production and learn to understand how these different approaches impact society and daily life.

Guiding Questions

  • Why are rates for obesity higher in the United States than in other countries?
  • What factors contribute to this epidemic of obesity?
  • Where does your food come from? How is it made, and why is it made that way?

Experiential Learning Activities (examples)

  •     Go on a "Supermarket Scavenger Hunt." 
  •     Explore an organic farm. 
  •     Visit a food science laboratory at North Dakota State University. 
  •     Tour a corporate dairy farm.
  •     Visit the American Crystal sugar beet processing plant. 

Classroom Activities

  •     Deconstruct the persuasive techniques and logical fallacies used in fast food advertisements.  
  •     Compare trends in agriculture and food production in the United States and students' home countries. 
  •     Debate the merits of a vegetarian and/or vegan lifestyle.

 

Traveling Across Borders and My Comfort Zone (CTP 103; required for all)

Brief Description

This course will prepare students for their time in the U.S. and will provide them with the opportunity to understand travel as a means of temporarily changing lifestyle  As students take this leap into a new living and learning environment, we want to ensure that they have the best opportunity possible to engage with and understand the culture in which they will be immersed.

Overview of Topics

Cultural norms, culture shock and coping strategies, navigation, definition of community and how to form community in a new environment, communities with tourist based economy, understanding diversity, etc.

Guiding Questions

  • What is the difference between site seeing and traveling?
  • How does living in a new environment impact learning?
  • How can culture shock influence my experience in the U.S.? 
  • How can I best prepare myself for reverse culture shock?

Experiential Learning Activities

  • Field trips to encourage students to utilize the skills they learn in class.
  • Role plays
  • Simulations

Classroom Activities

  • Travel novels/creative writing or journaling
  • TED Talks 
  • Presentations and trip debrief/discussion

 

American Pop Culture (CTP 104)

Brief Description

Students learn to become critical thinkers through analyzing America’s popular culture and how it corresponds to or contradicts the stereotypical assumptions of Americans’ lifestyle and mainstream culture.  American pop culture is simply the popular culture of American people evident in American movies, sports, politics, religion, television, and books.

Guiding Questions

  • What are the 10 highest-grossing American movies around the world? And Why?
  •  Are there any differences between American pop culture and American mainstream culture?
  •  Is America a “melting pot” of different cultures? If not, what is American culture?
  • Are there any influences of American pop culture on the rest of the world?
  • What is the American dream? Has it changed over time?
  • Is American feminism or women empowerment an essential part of American culture?

Experiential Learning Activities

  • Visit Plains Art Museum and take notes of Native American folk and contemporary art.
  • Go to the cinema or a theater to watch one of the highly rated movies or plays. 
  • Watch a documentary about America’s social and political changes over time
  • Attend TEDxFargo talk and write down how the talk correlates to/contradicts American culture.
  • Attend a baseball game or a football match, and notice if these games are the products of American culture.

Classroom Activities 

  • Listen to excerpts from speeches, TV shows, movies and debate how those excerpts define or exemplify American culture
  • Interview at least 10 people on or off campus about their definition of “The American Dream,” and analyze or categorize these definition in terms of their correspondence to or deviation from the American culture.
  • Do a research about some events that changed and still changing the American culture.    
  • Debate the existence/non-existence of religion as a part of the American culture.

 

Science and Technology (CTP 105)

Brief Description

In this course, students will discuss the dynamic and ever-changing nature of science and technology and their impact on our lives.

Guiding Questions

  • How does technology affect my daily life?
  • How has the development of technology changed the way humans interact with their surroundings/with one another?
  • How reliable is information from the Internet?
  • What further advantages/disadvantages may arise from the further development of the scientific and technological fields?

Experiential Learning Activities

  • Visit the Children’s Museum-Yunker Farm
  • Program with the MSUM Regional Science Center
  • Star gazing and mapping constellations
  • Geo-cashing

Classroom Activities

  • STEM-experiments, such as building a solar-powered model house
  • DIY camera and photography unit

 

Historic and Present Day United States (CTP 106)


Brief Description

In this course students will learn about the most influential events in American history and discuss how these events have shaped the United States. The class discussion will explore the deeper reasons why the United States has become the nation it is today, and how the U.S. government and people view themselves and the world.

Guiding Questions

  • What historical events are most influential to modern Americans?
  • How did the United States develop from British colonies into an independent world power?
  • Why does the United States try to “police the world” with its large military?
  • How do modern Americans view different countries around the world?
  • Are Americans a religious people like their ancestors?
  • What people groups form America today?

Experiential Activities

  • Tour Bonanzaville Pioneer Village and Cass County Museum.
  • Visit the Hjemkomst Center to view the replica Viking ship and stave church building.
  • Tour the Fargo Air Museum.

Classroom Activities

  • Review the timeline of historical events in American history, from the discovery and colonization of the American continent to the current important issues of today.
  • Discuss international perceptions of the United States.
  • Discuss the causes and motivations of current American attitudes and actions; e.g. Why is the United States so involved with the Middle East?
  • Students research and present on American historical events.

The U.S. Political System - Local to National (CTP 107)

Brief Description

In this course, we will be discussing and analyzing the American political system and its effects on the international community.

Guiding Questions

  • How do global/local politics affect my personal life?
  • How can I get politically involved in my local/global community?
  • How does the American political system differ from the system of my home nation?

Experiential Learning Activities 

  • Tour the local court house
  • Attend a city council meeting
  • Meet with an elected official and discuss their role

Classroom Activities

  • Student council campaign with mock debates and culminating with a final election
  • Write letters to local politicians about current topics