student hot glues a crystal to a staff, table top game, backlit biology experiment, students stands holding a foil, FPV goggles, transmitter and tiny whoop drone, cooking utensils, student's handing w Score and rehearsal for Babes in Toyland during the Spring 2019 semester a whisk in a bowl of frothed liquid from How to Boil Water during Spring 2019 semester two PHS students practice Ballroom Dance during Spring 2019 Semester money and worksheets from Japanese during Spring 2021 semester fencing gear including foil, glove, and helmet sit on the floor next a PHS student during a spring 2019

STEM at Planet Homeschool | Fall 2023 To Publications / Articles - STEM at Planet Homeschool | Fall 2023

Posted 5/18/23
PHS Leadership Team | Fall Semester 2023

Fall 2023

Fridays, 8 September–8 December 2023 at Planet Homeschool
Thursdays, 7 September–7 December 2023 online

12 weeks
Fall Break: no classes on Thu 12 Oct or Fri 13 Oct
Thanksgiving Break: no classes on Thu 23 Nov or Fri 24 Nov




Closeup on a chick nestled in the palm of a handThird Period (12:30 PM–1:45 PM)

Animal Husbandry

Jennifer Floyd

  • ages 10–19 years
  • Tuition: $151.25 for the 12-week Fall Semester

This is the class for learning about domestic and pet animals! What range of vision does a horse have? Why do goldfish prefer friends? How long can a chicken live? Find out the history, care needs, and interesting biology facts of many commonly kept critters, from guinea pigs and hamsters to sheep, goats, and horses, to cats, dogs, and more!

Students will take notes and create an illustrated journal based on their favorite animals.

Students should bring a notebook or journal, pencils, and colored pencils (primary colors at a minimum) to class each week.

Students will research and present information (can be written, oral, or visual) based on an area of interest within the course's range of focus. This project will be worked on both in class and at home.

This is an 11-week (13¾-hour) Fall Semester class. There will be no class on Friday 22 September 2023 (the third week of PHS classes). Tuition has been adjusted to reflect this schedule.

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Illustration of an atom.First Period (9:15 AM–10:30 AM)

High School Chemistry

Dr. Tom Anderson

  • ages 14–19 years
  • Tuition: $180 for the 12-week Fall Semester

Chemistry as a discipline is concerned with matter, change, and energy. Beginning with a look at atoms and the periodic table, students will develop an understanding of how and why atoms arrange and rearrange themselves into the matter that is all around us. Topics include states of matter, heat and energy, the behavior of gases, and chemical reactions. The course will also examine chemical kinetics and dynamic equilibrium. Demonstrations and hands-on experiments will allow students to practice careful observation and measurement skills, with attention given both to descriptive and quantitative work. In addition to topics such as acid/base chemistry, batteries and electricity, food and fuels, and the laws of thermodynamics, students will learn about stoichiometry and the forces that hold matter together.

Students should bring note-taking materials to class each week (notebook and pen/pencil; laptop/tablet; etc.). Students will need basic algebra knowledge. Students can expect to spend 2 to 3 hours weekly on reading and problem sets.

Textbook: Chemistry 2e from the OpenStax project. The book is freely available as an online textbox or as a pdf but is also available in printed form. It is a college-level textbook, so interested students will be able to easily go into greater depth on particular topics if they wish.

This full-year course will be open to new students for the spring semester. The fall semester is concerned with "microscopic chemistry" (atoms, molecules, and chemical bonding) and the spring semester will be concerned with "macroscopic chemistry" (chemical reactions, kinetics, equilibrium). The two semesters complement one another but are conceptually independent: it is possible to join the course in the spring without any special preparation.

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Technology & Engineering


Colorful code on a laptop screen.Third Period (12:30 PM–1:45 PM)

Coding with Python

Mike Zugschwert

  • ages 14–19 years
  • Tuition: $150 for the 12-week Fall Semester

The course is an introduction to the Python programming language, including its syntax and basic data structures. Throughout the course, students will also learn about the importance of software design and how to write clear, efficient, and maintainable code. They will be encouraged to develop good coding practices such as commenting, testing, and debugging.

Students will create Python applications to do math for them, encrypt and decrypt secret messages, create graphical art with code, build stand-alone applications with a user interface, and program a LEGO robot to interact with the physical world.

Students should have a general working knowledge of file structures and operating a computer. Having good typing skills is also helpful.

Students should bring a laptop (and its powercord) with admin privileges to be able to install software to class each week. We will be doing some browser-based coding and also using PyCharm IDE (free) to write our scripts. Old computers can do surprisingly well with Python scripting, so you don't need a new laptop. to class each week.

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Multicolored code on a computer screen.Fourth Period (1:50 PM–3:05 PM)

Coding Club

PHS Clubs

  • ages 10–19 years

A space for hobbyist and semiprofessional programmers to collaborate on club projects, assist each other through problems and share progress on their personal projects.

This is not a place to learn to program but a mutually supportive co-working space for programming in the company of others.

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A solution to an everyday problem: Electrical cord management.Third Period (12:30 PM–1:45 PM)

Designing Solutions to Everyday Problems

Peter Hoh

  • ages 10–19 years
  • Tuition: $180 for the 12-week Fall Semester
  • Supplies: $15 for the 12-week Fall Semester

Students will learn to use the engineering design process to identify problems and then design objects that address those problems. We will examine problems from different viewpoints. Students will progress from an idea to a drawing to a prototype. We will develop skills for making things out of inexpensive materials such as cardboard and modeling clay. Along the way, students will have multiple opportunities to strengthen their problem-solving skills.

This is a low-tech class. Peter will provide materials such as cardboard, wood, modeling clay, pipe cleaners, craft sticks, basic hardware, and string along with appropriate tools. Students may opt to refine their prototypes with different materials, which may involve learning to use additional tools or processes, some of which might be beyond the scope of this class. If a student has an idea for a project that involves electronics (an Arduino, for instance) I will support them as much as I can, but they will have to provide their own electronic components and may have to reach out to other people who know more about electronics.

$15.00 supplies fee covers masking tape, glue, paper, cardstock, index cards, brass fasteners, zip ties, and hardware (nuts, bolts, screws, nails).

This class is appropriate for all skill levels. Students should bring safety glasses to class if they intend to use saws, drills, or similar tools in class.

While time will be provided during class for design work, some students might prefer to think about their design between class sessions. When we start making projects over multiple sessions, families will be responsible for transporting the partially-finished projects to and from PHS weekly. Students might be assigned a homework task that involves recording how other people use an object. If their project is to design a key rack, for instance, it may be necessary to measure the heights that different family members consider convenient.

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Master plan for Nanhu Eco-City in Tangshan.First Period (9:15 AM–10:30 AM)

Planning Sustainable Cities

Rebekah Jorgensen

  • ages 12–19 years

How can cities look towards a more sustainable future? That question will be explored in this class, which will look at the design of cities and their environmental impacts. Topics of discussion may include engineering and design, case studies of current trends in urban planning, and legislation and advocacy efforts toward greener urban planning. While this class will focus on STEM topics like engineering and technology, it will also incorporate art and design, social science like history and government, and more. Students will have ample input to share their topic ideas and will learn how they can contribute to sustainable cities now and in the future.

Students will be expected to complete approximately one hour of homework outside of class, primarily reading and watching exploratory videos, and will be provided with additional enrichment activities to extend the learning if desired.

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Chinese abacus displaying the decimal number 2,048.Online

Small Group or One-on-One Math Lessons

Judy O'Neill

  • ages 10–19 years
  • Tuition: $36 per week, paid monthly

Small group or individual math classes based on students’ level, from elementary mathematics through pre-calculus.

Day, time, level, and textbook will be determined per group or per individual student.

Some levels of math will require a calculator. There will be weekly homework assignments.

Those seeking small group lessons should post to our co-op forum stating their interest and their students’ math level.

One-on-one tuition will be paid monthly at $36 per week ($108 per 4-week month) per student. This is a 10% discount for individual tutoring offered to PHS registered students! Small group pricing will be determined based on group size and level.

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Closeup on a chick nestled in the palm of a hand. 2018. Photo by DesignerVN. Unsplash.
Colorful code on a laptop screen. 2018. Photo by Clément Hélardot. Unsplash.
A solution to an everyday problem. 2023. Photo by Peter Hoh. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Master plan for Nanhu Eco-City in Tangshan. 2013. Image by ISA Internationales Stadtbauatelier. CC BY-SA 3.0 DE. Wikimedia Commons.
Chinese abacus displaying the decimal number 2,048. Photo by Loadmaster (David R. Tribble), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
Test tubes showing the different colors of bromothymol blue (from left to right: blank, pH 4, 6.2, 6.6, 7.2, 7.5, 8, and 12). 2014. Photo by Ruven Pinkhasov, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.