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The Coolest Classes

Does your child videoconference with nasa? A sample of cutting-edge courses at public schools this fall.

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P.S. 56 Harry Eichler Elementary School
Richmond Hill, Queens
Class
NASA Digital Learning Network
What They Learn
Fifth-grade students videoconference with scientists at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. NASA provides lesson plans on topics like the physics of space flight, the Mars mission, and space farming.

Springfield Gardens Educational Campus
Springfield Gardens, Queens
Class
Veterinary Science Institute
What They Learn
Animal-loving kids practice hands-on care of pythons, cockatoos, and capuchin monkeys. Breeding mice (for snake food) is a way to learn about genetics.

Long Island City High School
Long Island City, Queens
Class
Culinary Arts Academy
What They Learn
After learning to cook blackened Atlantic salmon and crème brûlée and doing coursework in restaurant management, serious sous chefs intern at pricey hot spots like Water’s Edge.

Fiorello H. La Guardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts
Manhattan
Class
Opera Workshop
What They Learn
Budding Parsifals get into this yearlong course, taught by New York City Opera members, by audition or recommendation. Fall study is followed by a spring performance that’s open to the public.

Midwood High School
Flatbush, Brooklyn
Class
Robotics
What They Learn
Students aim to build robots strong enough to compete in the city’s fighting-robots competition. A walking robot is one thing, but a robot that can sing? Now, that’s advanced.

East New York Transit Technology High School
East New York, Brooklyn
Class
Transportation Technology
What They Learn
Ever wanted to fix the subway system? Kids at this vocational school learn how to do just that while they repair authentic equipment on buses and subway trains.

Irwin Altman School
Floral Park, Queens
Class
Science Explorer
What They Learn
Students learn the aerodynamics of rockets and then build them out of recycled materials and kits. Launches are held at Flushing Meadows Corona Park and the school yard.

M.S. 408 Professional Performing Arts
Manhattan
Class
Humanities
What They Learn
At most schools, “humanities” is a fancy name for social studies. In this ninth-grade class, Broadway wannabes write their own plays, which are read by professional actors at real theaters during the school day.

John Bowne High School
Flushing, Queens
Class
Agricultural Program
What They Learn
Bowne maintains a working four-acre farm where students learn how to use farming tools, drive a tractor, plant and grow vegetables, and raise chickens and goats. Kids sell what they sow at a Greenmarket.


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