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The Art Studio and museum class emphasizes learning through hands-on activities and interactive museum visits. Over the course of three summers, students develop criteria for evaluating works of art from around the world and produce two or three original works of art across a variety of media – including painting, sculpture.  Each summer the Art course connects to the topics explored in Literature and other courses to create a thematic approach to the content of the institute. To supplement studio work and gallery visits to the Princeton University Art Museum, students visit regional art museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia. These museum experiences provide the inspiration for their studio work.

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College Preparation

PUPP envisions college preparation as a combination of psycho-social preparation, test preparation, and the exploration of the possibilities of college to aid in the realization of dreams. For rising sophomores, the summer focuses on individual and group dynamics and building self-awareness, confidence and esteem. Rising juniors continue this work and also participate in intensive test preparation with the Princeton Review for college entrance exams. PUPP seniors examine the history and roles of college and universities in the United States. They explore their own reasons for pursuing higher education and the criteria they would apply in selecting a college or university. This capstone course involves drafting college essays, practice applications, workshops in interviewing and financial aid, and preparation for standardized tests.

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The goal of PUPP mathematics is to engage students in deeper investigations of the ways in which math works and develop their understanding of the language of the discipline of mathematics. Students collaborate in groups to solve problems and create explanations of their work. Students are required to write concept papers in which they outline the meanings of the rules and functions associated with the mathematical principles they study and articulate their thought processes as they work to solve equations. Topics covered range from geometry and polynomial calculus to understanding logic and proofs and the use of statistics in everyday life.

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PUPP Literature seeks to examine how to read and why. We think about the process and purpose of reading, and the larger issues that subtend written texts. PUPP Literature assigns specific novels for each class and a collaborative effort to explore issues across cohort groups. Students explore their own understanding of complex themes and participate in the creation of original compositions and critiques, as well as an original dramatic event integrating their words with classic texts to create a unique collaborative production. Written assignments take the form of short responses designed to elicit questions and concerns in addition to areas of interest for class discussion. Course emphasis is placed on a variety of reading experiences (assigned and independent) and a range of approaches (written, oral, dramatic) to engage the content and magic of literature. PUPP students have read novels, short fiction, plays and poetry from a range of authors, including Achebe, Aeschylus, Baldwin, Ellison, Miller, Montaigne, Morrison, Shakespeare, and Yeats.

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During the summer institute, PUPP students have an opportunity to explore science hands-on in the laboratories of Princeton University. Using the scientific method as a guide, students explore real-life scientific questions and work through college-level introductory experimental laboratory science in the fields of biology and physics. By experiencing research firsthand, students deepen their understanding of the scientific method and come to realize how it differs from other ways of learning. A holistic focus on honest data reporting and scientific writing improves students' communication skills and helps lay a foundation of scientific literacy.

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Writing Workshop

PUPP's Summer Writing Workshop focuses on developing the essential skills of college-level writing. What distinguishes this approach to writing instruction is both its rigor and innovation: experiential, collaborative learning grounded in connections to literature, social science research and personal experience. Each summer’s course takes a unique approach to developing writing skills among PUPP Scholars.  During their rising sophomore summer, students focus on the mechanics of good writing while developing persuasive and analytical essays using evidence.  The major papers for the first summer include a personal reflection used to develop persuasive techniques and mechanics and a literary analysis piece connected to the content of the Literature course.  In the rising junior year, writing is combined with a social science survey course that gives students a broad introduction to sociology as they develop an 8-10 page research paper using the resources of Princeton for research and evidence.  In their final (rising senior) summer, the writing workshop returns to the personal, reflective arena with a focus on developing personal perspectives and voices as writers in order to craft personal statements for college applications. Ultimately, PUPP's summer writing instruction challenges students to grow as writers, mature into budding scholars, participate in community arts as part of civic engagement, and contribute to building the PUPP community of learners-both on and beyond campus.

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School Year Academic and Cultural Enrichment

During the school year, PUPP works closely with students in their schools through monthly cohort meetings and a coordinated Academic Enrichment program implemented by graduate students from Princeton University. Academic Enrichment uses current events, contemporary fiction and student work to continue working toward our goal of developing critical communication skills (reading, writing, and speaking). PUPP students participate in weekly sessions with the graduate students and develop analytical and creative writing for publication in an annual PUPP anthology. In addition, PUPP students attend a range of cultural events including opera, theater and dance throughout the school year. These events include educative components including pre-show reading and conversation, post-show talk-backs with actors and artists, and post-show discussions and writing assignments.