Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences Course Descriptions

Skills 21

What impact does digital technology have on the 21st century?  How do we live, learn, and play in a digital world?  The 9th grade Skills 21 course helps students develop a foundation in 21stCentury skills while using digital media to explore 9th grade science topics.

Earth and Energy Science Essentials (E3)

The Earth and Energy Science Essentials (E3) is a 9th grade course, aligned to the CT Science Standards that explores concepts in physical and chemical sciences in the context of critical environmental topics.  While maintaining focus on making the connections between the impact of science and technology on the quality of our lives, E3 uses multiple pathways of scientific reasoning to develop global citizens of the future capable of making informed decisions and developing a model for a healthy, sustainable society.


Algebra21 is a rich, context-based study of patterns, equations, and functions. The major focus of the course is on linear functions, including writing, solving, graphing, and applying linear equations and systems of linear equations. Students finish with studies of exponential and quadratic functions. In Algebra21, students are expected to work collaboratively and individually on hands-on, computer-based, and paper-and-pencil investigations. The emphasis throughout the course is on applying algebraic thinking to solve meaningful, relevant, authentic problems. The Algebra 21 curriculum is adapted with permission from the CT State Dept. of Education's Model Algebra I Curriculum (2011) and is aligned with CT State Standards.


Bio 21 covers the most exciting fundamentals of life science, including cell biology, genetics, biotechnology, evolution, and ecology. Students develop understandings of essential scientific concepts as well as biological literacy for making informed personal and social decisions. Inquiry and critical thinking tasks are incorporated throughout the course. In addition, through participation in the course-long challenge, students engaged in the engineering design process, as they become part of a research team that designs a biologically inspired product or technology.


Geometry21 is an inquiry-based course that explores geometry in the context of fields as diverse as architecture, history, and graphic design. Students investigate the relationships between two dimensional objects in the plane and three dimensional objects in space, in both independent and collaborative lessons. The major concepts of congruence and similarity are developed from a study of transformations, linking geometry and algebra in a meaningful way. Explorations, constructions, and proofs are completed through activities using paper and pencil, compass and straightedge, hands-on materials, computer software, and web-based applets. The emphasis in Geometry21 is on relevant and interesting applications of important geometric concepts, and the curriculum is aligned with CT State Standards.

Research, Design, and Development (RD2)

RD2 develops academic skills, communication, communication skills, creative thinking, brainstorming, and problem solving are developed through the completion of a comprehensive creative design project.  Students become part of a design team and utilize a variety of communication technologies and multimedia software to research, design, develop, and present a viable solution to a comprehensive challenge.  Students form a company and assume roles in the company to complete activities needed to develop a solution.  Patent research and intellectual property management are integral components of the creative design project.

Digital Media and Movie Making (DM3)

How can digital media and movie making be used to educate and entertain, in a way comparable to, and better than, the traditional media formats of the past?  The DM3 course develops skills in creativity, storytelling and digital media literacy while establishing student knowledge of the ever-expanding digital media and movie making industry.  

Chem 21

The Chem21 lab-intensive science curriculum involves upper grade level students with cutting-edge technologies, current issues, and future applications. Students gain techniques and knowledge that will prepare them for success in high school, college, and the 21st Century workplace. The Chem21 curriculum meets all state-established standards for high school chemistry as defined by the CT Science Frameworks in the context of 21st Century applications, including nanotechnology, materials science, and natural resource use.

E-Commerce Entrepreneurship (ECE)

The E-Commerce Entrepreneurship course develops students' academic and 21st Century skills through participation in a project-based challenge that engages and reinforces the concept of learning by doing. Students gain individual knowledge of business topics while establishing the foundation needed to be a valuable team member. Students do extensive research on business ideas and take on roles of business professionals. Student-managed teams present viable and feasible business ideas to a panel of judges as the culminating program event. 

3D Modeling and Animation (3DMA)

How can digital animation and 3D modeling be used to educate, entertain, and persuade in a way comparable to, or better than the traditional media formats of the past?  The 3DMA course develops digital media literacy, academic skills, and animation/3D modeling skills that increase students’ knowledge of filmmaking careers with a focus on animation and 3D modeling.   Students organize movie production teams and assume positions in a company to complete digital animation projects that will be entered in the Connecticut Student Film Festival.

The Capstone Experience

The Capstone Experience is an integrated technology, math, and science class which culminates with an individual research-based project. Students will become reflective practitioners, surveying their own skill sets and interests and documenting growth via digital portfolios. Participants will study such topics as leadership, time management and organization, goal setting, and problem finding, all the while embracing 21st Century Skills and a dynamic work environment. Adult mentors will assist students with their individual Capstone Projects for the CT Innovation Exposition.