Course of the Mod
Course of the Mod Archive

The Art of Prediction

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.
The Art of Prediction
The Art of Prediction is a one-mod Integrated Studies course taught by Marilyn Del Donno and Rachel Hirsch, who teach science and history, respectively. The course pushes eleventh and twelfth grade students to examine science, history, and truth, all leading up to a final project in which students review and delve into one specific theme or area from the class.

Marilyn and Rachel love collaborating on The Art of Prediction, not only because they have such a natural teaching chemistry, but also because of how their love of their individual fields pushes them as educators and as lifelong learners. The heart of the class is  a look at the work of philosophers Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Immanuel Kant, and it’s organized primarily by thinkers rather than by topics. There are many points of historical connection grounded in science, and vise versa, and students drive the discussion with their questions and reactions to the material.

Students work on two major essays and two projects, including a major final project, while also diving into challenging readings and in-depth discussions along the way. Rachel and Marilyn enjoy how the journey of the class is so student-reliant, and how different class dynamics and levels of student discussion can drive the course into new directions each year. The course relies on active engagement of all students in order to keep up its incredible momentum.

Rachel enjoys most how everyone leaves class with many, many questions and thoughts brewing, and that the work is very intentional. “Everything we do in that space is about thinking critically and discussing science, history, and truth,” Rachel notes. “It really maximizes the work of both students and teachers, and it’s a class that has such an incredible process to watch unfold each year.”
"A major takeaway from the class was the idea of “subjective truth,” meaning that truth is entirely personal and individual, rather than one version of truth being universal. It is not taught as THE definition for truth, and the class focused on exploring different definitions of truth. I enjoyed the creativity of the assignments, and for one project, I created a detailed art installation for the End-of-Mod Art Show that reflected a certain concept."

- Nate ‘16

Course Description

The 18th century world-view was an empowering one. As a result of the Scientific Revolution, the world and its history were predictable and orderly, subject to natural laws that humans could understand. The innovations in science and political thought in the 19th and 20th centuries profoundly changed this view, as truth and universal law gave way to a new emphasis on the common man and best fit models based on uncertainty, chance and probability. The micro history movement and the events leading to the development of the atomic bomb had radical implications for the theory and practices of both disciplines. In The Art of Prediction, we will examine the philosophy and methodology of history and science as they evolved to meet a new world-view during this time period.
"It was very intense class, and I became stronger at asking questions, thinking deeply, and making connections. Rachel and Marilyn always encouraged us to keep keep going, and they would push us in discussing Truth, History, or Science in ways that made me think harder about the topic at hand. What really stood out to me was the paper I wrote about Kant and Hegel, and how it helped me not only develop definitions for History and Science, but understand the interconnectedness of the two disciplines."

- Kate '16
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.