Intellectual Virtues Academy Of Long Beach

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10th Grade Course Descriptions

ENGLISH 10 (College Prep & Honors)

English 10 builds upon students' foundation of critical reading and analytical writing skills.  Through texts that range from investigative journalism, essays, articles and historical documents to a novel, drama, poetry and short stories, students analyze the use of elements of literature and nonfiction.  As they develop their writing skills and respond to claims, students learn to refine arguments and organize evidence to support their position.  To hone their listening and speaking skills, students engage with a variety of media types through which they analyze and synthesize information, discuss material, create presentations, and share their work.  Students build their writing and speaking skills in journal responses, discussions, frequent free response exercises, and essays or presentations, learning to communicate clearly and credibly in narrative, argumentative, and explanatory styles. 

ALGEBRA II (College and Honors)

The prerequisite for Algebra 2 is Algebra 1. A further study of Algebra, this course includes analysis of higher degree equations, logarithmic and exponential functions, complex numbers, conic sections, probability, sequences and series, and an introduction to trigonometry. Just as with Algebra 1, all units will be anchored by performance tasks, requiring students to integrate multiple concepts and skills to develop answers to open-ended problems.


Geometry (College Prep & Honors)

Geometry builds upon students’ command of geometric relationships and formulating mathematical arguments. Students learn through discovery and application, developing the skills they need to break down complex challenges and demonstrate their knowledge in new situations. Course topics include reasoning, proof, and the creation of sound mathematical arguments; points, lines, and angles; triangles and trigonometry; quadrilaterals and other polygons; circles; congruence, similarity, transformations, and constructions; coordinate geometry; three-dimensional solids; and applications of probability.

BIOLOGY (College Prep & Honors)

Biology focuses on the mastery of basic biological concepts and models while building scientific inquiry skills and exploring the connections between living things and their environment.  The course begins with an introduction to the nature of science and biology, including the major themes of structure and function, matter and energy flow, systems, and the interconnectedness of life. Students then apply those themes to the structure and function of the cell, cellular metabolism, and biogeochemical cycles. Building on this foundation, students explore the connections and interactions between living things by studying genetics, ecosystems and natural selection, and evolution.


World History since the Renaissance covers the development of civilizations around the world from the Renaissance to the present. The course covers major themes in world history, including the development and influence of human-geographic relationships, political and social structures, economic systems, major religions and belief systems, the effects of science and technology, the vital role of the arts, and the importance of trade and cultural exchange.


Topics covered in this course include the Reformation and its legacy, the Scientific Revolution, European exploration, the Enlightenment, political revolutions, the rise of nation-states, the industrial era, the spread of imperialism, and the issues and conflicts of the 20th and 21st centuries. Primary source documents, which appear frequently, encourage students to make connections to evidence from the pa

ART (College Prep)

This class introduces students to the elements of art and principles of design. The history and criticism of visual arts are presented through the use of projects, text, videos, and visual materials. This class provides a basic understanding of how to see, evaluate, and interpret experience through a variety of media. The student will respond to, analyze, and make judgments about form, content, techniques, and purpose in the works of art as evidenced by creation/evaluation of portfolios. Basic tools and techniques are explained, demonstrated, and practiced to promote creative expression through active student participation.

SPANISH 1 (College Prep & Honors)

Spanish I teaches students to greet people, describe family and friends, talk about hobbies, and communicate about other topics, such as home life, occupations, travel, and medicine. Each lesson presents vocabulary, grammar, and culture in context, followed by explanations and exercises. Vocabulary includes terms to describe school subjects, parts of the body, and people, as well as idiomatic phrases. Instruction in language structure and grammar includes the structures and uses of present-tense verb forms, imperatives, adjective agreement, impersonal constructions, formal and informal address, and reflexive verbs. Students explore words used in different Spanish-speaking regions and learn about the cultures of Spanish-speaking countries and regions within and outside Europe. The material in this course is presented at a moderate pace.


In recognition that literacy and mathematics are of such foundational value for high school and college success  the Academy provides an additional lab course specifically addressing these subjects.  In the Algebra Lab, grade level or advanced students will focus on more advanced skills and materials in an algebra lab to work on individualized or small group problem-, project-, and career-based assignments, which allows these students to take deeper dives into co-curricular content and projects.  For students who enter the Academy below grade level proficiency, this lab will provide intensive skill development to quickly close the proficiency gap. 


During the Writing Lab portion of the course, advanced students will focus more on analytical and creative writing skills by building early success and confidence, orienting students to the writing process and to sentence and paragraph essentials through a series of high-interest hook activities. In subsequent units, students review, practice, compose, and submit writing.  Students coming into the Academy below grade level will receive remedial skills development (including interactive, online programs for remediation and practice), and targeted interventions.

HUMANITIES: Introduction to Philosophy (10th grade)

This course will explore the Big Questions of human existence as an introduction to the types of inquiry expected of college students. Throughout this course, students will utilize and build upon their intellectual virtue foundation from the freshman year to carefully reflect and examine deeper questions about life and existence. The Big Questions covered may include: (1) ethical questions, such as ‘What is the good life?’ ‘Is virtue necessary for happiness?’ and ‘How is human personality related to human character?’ (2) metaphysical questions, such as ‘What is the nature of the Universe?’ ‘Are virtuous actions free?’ and ‘Who am I (or, who are we)?’ and, (3) epistemological questions, such as ‘How can I obtain truth?’ ‘How is virtue necessary for knowledge?’ and ‘What is education?’ This course will also introduce the study of primary sources to expand students’ informational literacy.


This course is designed to meet the individual needs of students in the area of fitness, specifically in the areas of cardio respiratory fitness, strength fitness, flexibility, coordination, basic health, and nutrition. The class includes aerobics, weight training, and body strengthening movements. Instruction in skills will be provided in each activity. Cognitive-based physical- and health-related concepts and grade level physical fitness performance objectives will be reviewed, applied, and evaluated.

  • English 10
  • Algebra II and Geometry 
  • Biology 
  • World History
  • Art
  • Spanish 1 
  • Writing Lab
  • Intro. to Philosophy