Because of its stated mission, OSSM students typically pursue a career in science or math. That doesn’t mean traditional humanities classes can’t also incorporate scientific training.

For example Dr. McCargish teachers students how to engineer essays. Working in small groups students begin the process of building an essay by examining the prompt and a sample thesis statement and reviewing their course materials to find evidence related to the prompt. Once they have their evidence they analyze how those examples can be used to support the thesis and choose one piece of evidence to explore further.

Finally, they construct a model of their paragraph using note cards to construct an Argument Tower consisting of a Topic Sentence (argument – green) supported by Evidence (orange) and Analysis (yellow) linking the paragraph to the Thesis of the essay. The Towers are then laid out to visually represent the paragraphs of an essay. The discussion pushes them to think of the concepts in different ways and to prioritize information; the physical representation of the paragraphs, which can be easily rearranged, let’s them see how the essay construction process can be flexible rather than rigid.