Course of the Mod
Course of the Mod Archive


There are more than 300 courses offered through CSW's unique Mod System. Dive into one of them here or explore a previous 'Course of the Mod' by using the archive on the left-hand side of the page.
As a two-mod course taught for back-to-back blocks, Chemistry is designed to be an immersion course. The ten week class allows for students to experience demos, discussion, group work, and more. The class becomes a community, where students feel comfortable asking questions, pushing themselves as learners, and learning how to be scientists. Chemistry is taught as a college preparatory chemistry course, with the intention that students will leave having mastered the fundamental concepts of chemical change, lab skills, and critical thinking.

Karen Bruker enjoys teaching Chemistry because no two classes are ever the same. She lets her students drive the class, and she feels well-equipped to let their collective curiosity take the wheel. She loves how "they digest the material and come up with connections on their own, connecting what they learn to the world, and many times, leading us into other labs and demos that come from their own curiosity."

In her classes, Karen wants students to leave the class with the confidence to tackle any scientific material they may encounter, either in high school or later in college. It is a course rich with academic rigor, and Karen specifically uses an A.P. chemistry book to facilitate exploration of challenging material. It is a high caliber book with strong connections to practical real life application, and a rich online component.

"We’re all on our own journey of learning," Karen reflects, "and I design this course so that students will appreciate science and be pushed." Chemistry is just one of many upper level courses students can take to fulfill credit, including Marine Biology, Ethics of Science, and Animal Behavior.

Student Q & A

List of 2 frequently asked questions.

  • Q. What was one of your favorite assigments?

    "There were a lot of assignments I really enjoyed, but there are two that come to mind. We did a lab on flame testing of different ionic compounds, and burned salts to determine the connections of ions to colors. There was another assignment about unit conversion, where we baked different desserts, and found the molar mass and elements of each ingredient. It was pretty extensive in its process, and really delicious in the end!"

    - Olivia '15
  • Q. What did you enjoy most about this course?

    "The labs are particularly interesting, because we get so much time to work on them and do advanced work as real chemists. We just used scientific pipettes the other day - not like the eye-dropper kind, but the type that chemists use in labs that I’d never been able to use before. I’ve been pushed to do advanced work that makes me excited to try other advanced science classes next year!"

    - Jesse '15

Course Description

Chemistry is an upper-level science course at CSW that covers all the material usually included in a college-preparatory chemistry class, including gas laws, atomic and kinetic theory, reaction theory and kinetics, and electro-chemistry. Students at CSW also have the opportunity to study thermodynamics, organic chemistry, and chemical analysis in the two-mod long course. Through experimental design, data analysis, and hands-on labs, students master the fundamental concepts of chemical change, acquire the necessary lab skills for college-level sciences, and develop their critical thinking skills.
Karen has taught at CSW for fourteen years. She has taught Chemistry, Physics, Human Physiology, Organic Chemistry, and supervises the CSW Robotics Team. Prior to her work at CSW, Karen held many different institutional roles in the sciences, including Senior Lab Scientist at Princeton University, Consulting Firm Chemist and Engineer with Environmental One Research Group, and Organic Chemistry Lab Instructor at Albany School of Pharmacy.
The Cambridge School of Weston
45 Georgian Road, Weston, MA 02493 • P. 781-642-8600
The Cambridge School of Weston is a day and boarding independent school, located near Boston, for students in grades 9-12 and PG. We offer an innovative and rigorous academic program that fosters critical thought, hands-on experiential learning and deep academic inquiry. Students choose from more than 300 courses through our unique Mod System; no two student schedules are alike.