Workshop Offerings

American Sign Language

Facilitator: Shaniyah Scott and Enrichment Staff

Room 101

Tuesdays, 3rd Period

Fall, Winter, and Spring terms

Max Request: 25

In this enrichment, students will learn essential vocabulary and phrases to be able to carry out a basic conversation in American Sign Language. In addition, students will acquire a better understanding of the deaf community and the importance of ASL. Students will be expected to be comfortable signing and understanding signs by the end of the term.


Facilitators: Nuwar Osman & Saraa Fadl

Room 104

Fridays, 3rd Period

Fall Term - Intro Arabic

Winter Term - Advanced Arabic (TBD)

Max request: 25

Arabic is one of the most romantic languages in the world and fifth top language spoken around the world. If you plan on taking a trip to visit the pyramids and ride on a camel in Egypt, or take pictures in front of the Burj Al-Khalifa in Dubai, this workshop is for you! This workshop is designed to teach students how to read, speak, and write basic and advanced words of the arabic language. Students will also get the chance to learn how to have conversations with each other, such as asking each other “how are you?” and “what’s your name?”.

The two facilitators will work to accommodate the skill levels of participants in this workshop.


Facilitator: Mr. Joe Killian

Room 312

Wednesdays, 3rd Period

Fall & Winter terms

Max Request: 25

Architecture is the confluence of Art, History, Math, and Science. Through these lenses, architects are ultimately seeking to study human behavior as it evolves in thousands of unique cultures, expressing their study through the design of the spaces all around us. Through a series of design projects, students will engage with architecture, looking through each of these lenses to learn the careful art of design. Participants will pay visits to nearby architectural sites and hear from professionals in the field. Students of all interest levels, including those with no prior experience, are encouraged to join this workshop to learn about the fascinating world of design. Students who are looking forward to pursuing a degree in architecture will have the opportunity to develop a portfolio, navigate the application process, and receive guidance in connecting with programs in the Philadelphia region. This course is appropriate for new participants as well as those who have previously taken an architecture workshop.


Facilitator: Simeon Ristic

Room 304

Wednesdays, 3rd Period

Fall, Winter, and Spring terms

Max Request: 30

What is proof (technically, not philosophically)? What can you do with a secret? What is entropy? Must god throw dice? Come on a journey of math, physics, and computation as we pull ourselves up by our bootstraps to answer these questions and more.

A note from the facilitator:

I am a Masterman alum ('14) and Penn grad with a major in materials science and engineering and minors in math and computer science. I am currently a PhD candidate in materials science at Penn. I want to teach what I wish someone had taught me when I was in your shoes. There are so many awesome, advanced topics in STEM that we can and should explore earlier and more deeply.

We will begin with computing and programming languages, introducing functional programming languages and proof assistants. (If you’ve never been acquainted with the functional programming (prominent languages: Haskell, OCaml, Scala, and Scheme) paradigm and like mathy coolness, check it out.) We will then move on to algorithms and complexity, group theory and cryptography, information theory and thermodynamics, and quantum mechanics and quantum computation. This workshop will cover at least much of the content of the AP Computer Science Principles exam, for those of you interested in taking the exam in May.

This is ambitious, we'll see how it goes. The lectures will be interactive, visual, and move quickly in a way you will enjoy. This is the second year of this workshop, it’s open to both new and returning bootstrappers. We’ll blaze new ground, while staying accessible to all who wish to join. If this piques your interest, please join us.

**Students who would like a greater challenge are encouraged to also sign up for the advanced track workshop:

*Advanced Bootstrapping


Facilitator: Simeon Ristic

(take-home assignments only | successful participation merits an additional excusal from options)

Fall, Winter, and Spring terms

Max Request: 30

The advanced track is for those in the main Bootstrapping workshop who want more depth and experience.

Instead of class meetings, this workshop will consist of weekly one hour assignments that will complement the main workshop’s class meetings and help hone your understanding of ideas that can’t be learned just by listening, ideas that require thinking. The assignments will avoid tedious work, focusing instead on puzzles, and involve (functional) programming languages, LaTeX, formal and informal proofs, problem solving, listening and reacting to instructional videos.

NOTE: Enrollment in the main Bootstrapping workshop is required for enrollment in the advanced track.

Comedy Improv

Facilitator: Mr. John Rea

Room 104

TUESDAYS, 8th period

Fall, Winter, and Spring terms

Max Request: 15

Find your funny bone even if you think you're not funny. Improv comedy is created on the spot - no script. You will use hilarious situations and characters to start a scene and you're off and running. Learn how to think off the top of your head, how to work with a team and how to be creative. Learn to make strong comedic choices about your characters and learn to set up your partner. The focus of the workshop will be on scene based comedy improvisation like the games on the hit tv show 'Whose Line is it Anyway?' Games include: Artist, Dubbing, Fairy Tale Special Report, Arms and the Man, Get Your Story Straight, Director's Cut and many more! There will be performances throughout the school year in and out of school. The workshop will be lead by MacGuffin Theatre & Film Company's Artistic Director, John Rea.

Technology & Data Careers with Cigna Health I.T.

Facilitators: Cigna Health I.T. Team

Room 406

TUESDAYS, 3rd period

Winter term

Max Request: 28

Cigna Health's Information Technology department will join us for a second round of this special workshop series. Various professionals will provide lessons on big data, IT and tech careers, coding, and artificial intelligence in professional settings, just to name a few topics.

Intro. to Adobe Illustrator & maker Corner

Facilitators: Ryan McCarthy & Cody Swan

Room 402

WEDNESDAYS, 3rd period

Max request: 25

This course will introduce "Maker Movement" to Masterman. The main learning objective is teaching profeciency with Adobe Illustrator so that participants may utilize our new Canon large format printer for printing striking, high resolution visual materials. Various school groups will serve as our "clients" for which we will digitally design and print large posters.

The school has recently acquired 100 Adobe Creative Suite licenses to be installed in both computer labs. It is our hope that this group of students will lead the way in teaching their peers the usefullness of Adobe.

For more information on the maker movement and what we hope to bring to Masterman in the future, visit the following links:

Intro. to Engineering Careers

Facilitator: Dr. Ahmad Najafi and Drexel Engineering Students

Room 303

Mondays, 3rd period

Winter term

Max Request: 25

What is engineering? What are all the different engineering fields and career paths available? These are questions that a lot of first-year engineering students struggle to answer. This course aims to answer these questions through presentations given by engineering students themselves and related activities. In each class, we will have a short presentation on one of the engineering fields, followed by a Q&A session and some hands-on activities.

Law Careers

Facilitator: Ms. Amanda Aronoff & Special Guests

Room 103

Fridays, 3rd period

Winter Term

Max Request: 25

In this very special interactive course, students will have the opportunity to learn about various career paths in law and about the law school experience itself. A series of allstar legal professionals from various backgrounds will speak to the class about their diverse practice areas and will be available for Q&A during the class. Students will complete the course with a better understanding of the legal profession and the different paths to success.


Facilitators: Ms. Jessica Waber & Ellie McKeown

Room 12

Mondays, 3rd period

Fall, Winter, & Spring terms

Max Request: 30

Need an escape from the daily grind of high school? Create your own in mACTerman: Masterman's very own acting class! For years, mACTerman has nurtured all kinds of thespians - beginner and professional. We teach theater skills through games, improv, monologues, skits, and other drama exercises. This is an interactive class where we’ll all work together to develop our strengths and create scenarios of all genres, from drama to comedy. Students will learn through acting activities based on Shakespeare. A troupe will be formed to perform plays at Masterman. Hop on in for a chance to grow as an actor and have a whole lot of fun.

National History Day (10th Grade Only)

Facilitator: Ms. Elizabeth Taylor & Junior Assistants

Winter Term (Those who advance to states and beyond will remain in the workshop beyond the end of the term, as appropriate)

Max Request 35

This workshop is only for 10th graders who will compete in the National History Day competition. Becoming an expert in a topic of your choice and doing the work of professional historians, filmmakers, web designers and actors is rigorous, fun and satisfying. Students who enroll in this workshop will represent Masterman at NHD Philly in March, 2019 by transforming the already started NHD paper from history class into a website, documentary, performance or exhibit (up to three exemplary papers will be chosen to participate by 10th grade history teachers). After that competition, students who qualify for the State competition will continue refining their projects.

This workshop includes research, writing and creating. Projects may be completed in groups of two to five students or individually. Students who participate will not have to take a history final exam; the grade earned on this project will be used as the exam grade. The maximum number of students admitted will be 30. If more than 30 apply, admission will be based on strength of research on NHD paper as determined by 10th grade history teachers. Students must commit to the winter term through the NHDPhilly competition in mid-March. Students who qualify for state and/or national competition are expected to continue attending the enrichment through the spring.

(Registration note: Please speak with Ms. Taylor if you get closed out through the normal Enrichment registration process.)


*Preference will be given to students who already took the fall course

Facilitators: Dr. William Raich and Mr. Will Klein

Room 402

Tuesdays, 3rd Period

Fall, Winter, and Spring Terms (All 3 terms recommended)

Max request: 17

The goal of this course is to help students become comfortable with basic and intermediate Photoshop. In addition, students will be encouraged to look at images more critically with the aim of helping them become better photographers. Some class time will be spent discussing the ethics of Photoshop use in advertising and the media. The first term of the course will consist of using Photoshop to improve teaching images provided by the instructors and learning the program. The second and third terms will encourage students to employ Photoshop creatively on their own projects. All will emphasize fun and teamwork. Beginners must start with the Fall term and may choose to continue in Winter and Spring. Advanced students may sign up for any term. The instructors are both highly experienced in the fields of Photoshop and photography.

*Twisted DNA of Race & Science (TO BE DETERMINED)

*If the facilitator is able to return, this course is a repeat of the fall course for NEW STUDENTS - please do not sign up if you have already participated

Facilitator: Matt Wray

Room 213


Fall (tentatively Winter) terms

Max Request: 25

If there is but one race—the human race—why subdivide ourselves into different racial groups? Where does this tendency to categorize and classify races come from and what purposes does it serve? Can we ever undo or repair the harms of racial divisions, and if so, how?

To answer these questions, we will delve into the long story of the troubled relationship between race and science, a curious tale of facts and fictions that has a clear beginning and middle, but no clear end in sight. Race and science are powerful forces shaping the modern world. This course charts the origins and emergence of these two forces in the 17t​ h ​century and explores how they have informed each other and continue to form each other in the 21s​ ​ century. Topics include slavery and medicine, eugenics and racial science, white supremacy and whiteness, genocide and the rise of medical ethics, disease and distinctiveness, racial disparities in health, and the status of race in the era of genomics and genetic ancestry testing. Theories and concepts from sociology, psychology, history, and anthropology power this course.


• students will gain understanding of the historical co-development of scientific and racial knowledge, with an emphasis on scientific systems of racial classification and their social and political consequences

• students will gain a critical understanding of the continuing legacies of eugenics and its historical applications in the US, Europe, and elsewhere

• students will become conversant with ethical and legal debates regarding race, ancestry, racial health disparities, and other bioethical concerns

• students will develop a critical perspective on the rise of genomics and the continuing role of racial classification in medical and scientific research


Facilitators: Lucas Jaeger & Mr. Christopher Lebold

Room 406

Fridays, 3rd Period

Winter and Spring terms

The Scrabble enrichment will be an introduction to the strategy and skills needed to increase proficiency. During this course we will be teaching strategy and useful words to know, to be the best Scrabble player you can be. The classes will include a short instructional introduction, followed by extended time with one on one and pairs games to sharpen skills. Participants will have the option of participating in district-wide competitions in the winter and early spring, as well as the national tournament in April. Facilitators have extensive experience in competitive Scrabble.

Tea Party

Facilitators: Mr. Justin Gilken, Pegasus Yang, & Helena Saven

FRIDAYS, 3rd Period

Room 312

Winter Term

Max request: 25

Undoubtedly, you have heard all the hype about tea and its amazing antioxidants and phenomenal health benefits. If not, you should crawl out from under your rock and join our tea party! Here you will get to learn exciting tidbits about the history of various teas, traditions around the world, and benefits. You will also have the opportunity to sample and enjoy several tasty tea delights.

Songwriting & Composition

Facilitator: Dr. David Shapiro

Wednesdays, 8th period

Fall , Winter, and Spring Terms

Max request: 12

Students in this workshop will learn about some of the basics of creating original songs and pieces, including discussions of lyrics, melody, harmony, rhythm and form. Students will write small songs & pieces for each other to play, and will plan larger pieces that might be heard later in the year. The ability to read music is a prerequisite for this workshop.

Test Prep Fundamentals

Facilitator: Ms. Mary Ellen (Melon) King

Room 506

Tuesdays, 3rd period

Max request: 33 (drop ins welcome)

This course will provide students general standardized test taking skills by Masterman's favorite testing expert, Ms. King. The course is open to all grades, especially younger students looking to get a leg up on PSAT testing. Ms. King would like to relay that the workshop is open to all students, even on a drop-in basis, as long as there is space in the classroom. The course material will be adjusted based on the audience, and will cover strategies and tactics of test-taking, including time management and ranking questions by point value.

Writing Workshop

Facilitator: Ms. Anne Hunter

Room 305

Thursdays, 3rd

Fall, winter, and spring terms

Max request: 33

Storytelling is at the core of almost all writing. Now in its eleventh year, this workshop focuses on the craft of writing stories and building a cooperative community of writers. We group-write one or two stories each semester, working together from first genesis to rewrites. In the process, we invent characters and storylines, develop scenes, adjust pacing, and consider overall structure. The facilitator discusses issues of craft, provides examples, and is available as desired for individual critiques of student work.