TGS Classes

Students who attend the Texas Governor’s School at Lamar University will participate in classes that they might not normally take in their high school and spend time on “topics” of interest that their teachers may have wanted to explore further but lacked the time. There will be ample opportunities for the students to develop their leadership as they delve into areas of interest and to share their ideas and products in small groups and with the entire TGS student body. There will be no pressure of grades and tests; students experience learning for the sheer excitement and pleasure of new ideas, new experiences, and new activities. A description of the classes follows.

Course Descriptions

Session I (9:00 am – 10:30 am)

Group Dynamics
This class will explore techniques of effective communication and focus on ways to improve your listening skills and speaking skills. You will learn how to “project your ideas” forcefully, and the difference between being self-assertive and being aggressive. We will discuss how people use space and territories, body movements, facial expressions, eye contact, touch and vocal qualities/tones to communicate, and how interactions are influenced by cultures. We will also learn the leadership skills involved in negotiation and conflict resolution.
 
Marine Biology
In this class you will investigate marine organisms and the manner in which they function. Students will learn the underlying concepts of marine biology, and a culminating activity will be a boat expedition in Galveston to explore marine biology in southeast Texas.
 
Simulation Design & Programming
In this class you will design and ultimately create games using the freeware program Blender. Students will learn Level and Character and modeling, programming using the Python Scripting language (the primary programming language of the Blender) and character animation using Blender’s IPO system. This design and programming experience will culminate in the creation of a fully featured game that you can take home to share with others.
 
Energy Conservation and Management/History of Energy Development in Texas
This course will examine the need for energy conservation and using alternative energy sources such as solar power, wind power, and water power. Future energy systems such as  microturbines, fuel cells, and hydrogen-based energy systems will be discussed. Engineers from southeast Texas Entergy plants will help guide an examination of how energy can be managed and conserved. Field trips to energy sites will be part of this class. We will examine the living laboratory of energy in southeast Texas, from oil being discovered in Spindletop/Gladys City, to the use of petroleum, and to Shangri La with solar and wind power as energy sources.  There will be opportunities to see how Phototrobics factors in as an energy source.
 
Session II (11:00 am – 12:30 pm)

Beginning Sign Language
This class will introduce you to signing! You will learn the basics of sign language, the alphabet and vocabulary to allow you to converse with deaf individuals.  Opportunities to use sign language with Lamar University’s deaf students in the graduate Audiology Program will be provided, and a visit to a Senior Citizen Retirement Center with a number of deaf retirees with whom the students can communicate.
 
Advanced Math
In this class you will explore thinking with calculus strategies. Problem-solving with the use of mathematical construction will be the focus of the class. Optical illusions will be investigated and created, and you will take a close look at rational expressions and what happens as the variable approaches zero or infinity. Models will be used to illustrate three-dimensional shapes.
 
Psychology of the Criminal Mind
Why do some people resort to criminal acts? This class will explore the psychology of the criminal mind and address the issue of heredity and environment as influences. Famous criminal minds will be studied and expert information will be provided by lawyers and psychologists.
 
Environmental Ecology
Explore the realities of climate change and what is being done to address the impact of global warming. This class will study the changes noted by scientists including tropical diseases moving north, death of coral reefs, sea levels rising, increased childhood respiratory illnesses, more drought, more wildfires, and more flooding. A simulation will spotlight the need for protecting the natural environment from overdevelopment.
 
Introduction to Engineering (Robotics)
This class will examine the benefits of Engineering, and how engineers approach a problem. The types of Engineers will be explored (Computer Science, Biological, Chemical, and Mechanical). Construction activities will be used to demonstrate how engineers work together, and a robotics activity will be included.
 
Session III (1:30 pm – 3:00 pm)

Drawing & Sculpting
A professional artist will introduce you to techniques in perspective, light, and shading, and sculpting. In this class you will CREATE and express yourself in 2 dimensions and in 3 dimensions with pencil, ink, and clay. Find your hidden talent even if you thought you could never draw or sculpt.
 
Musical Ensemble
Bring your musical instrument and have fun playing in a jazz ensemble, or full instrumental ensemble, or in trios or quartets. If you have favorite music, bring it along. The evening seminar Coffee House and Poetry Night will be venues for our musicians, and a time to just kick back and share with one another.
 
Number Sense
In this class you will test your mental math abilities to solve problems without the aid of a calculator or scratch paper. Each session will involve you in activities to stretch your basic understanding of math in activities that are challenging and fun.
 
International Relations/Issues
This class will simulate the government process, and you will experience how decisions are made, the importance of public policy, how influence is used, and the importance and consequences of leadership. We will address issues that affect all of us as world citizens, national citizens, and community members.
 
Information and Computer Technologies
In this course you will be introduced to the latest computer technologies and have opportunities to further develop your computer skills. The importance of information skills in the 21st century, notably the increased use of social media and its use in the future will be examined. The need for the  consideration  of  ethics  in  information  dissemination,  and  how  to  be  a  discriminating consumer will be explored.

Session IV (3:30 pm – 5:00 pm)
 
Dance
Learn  to  dance  the  waltz,  tango,  salsa,  rumba,  and  fox  trot.  This class will focus on the importance of timing, rhythm, movement, footwork, and floor craft. Students taking this class will share their skills with the entire TGS student body in a Ballroom presentation.
 
Tennis Anyone?
Bring your tennis racquet to this class and learn the basics of scoring, strokes, volleys, and serves. The class will be taught by a member of the Lamar University tennis team. If you are already an experienced player, this will be an opportunity for you to improve your game. If you are a beginner, you will be paired with a player of similar skill to learn the basics of tennis.
 
Team Sports
A sports bonanza will be provided including football, basketball, volleyball, soccer, cricket, and ultimate Frisbee. Bring appropriate clothing and shoes and have fun with this variety of team sports.
 
Self-Defense
Learn how to present a commanding presence and build confidence in mastering wrist escapes, defense against body holds, and blocking. A number of martial arts will be demonstrated to provide opportunities for you to build physical and mental discipline.
 
Drama & Musical Production
In this class you will have an opportunity to develop improvisational skills and to participate in
several one act plays. Experienced actors and actresses are welcome, as well as novices. A musical production component will round out your opportunity to perform and express your creativity. This class will present a Theater/Broadway evening for the TGS student body.