The Ben Franklin Academy



Would you like to learn to play the cello? Or maybe try jazz piano? Ever wanted to write a novel, or your own movie? Maybe you're tired of playing video games, and you'd like to try your hand at designing them. Perhaps you want to explore world religions, learn how to make jewelry, or take up Chinese. Or you'd like to work in a theater program that has sent graduates to the most prestigious undergraduate drama programs in the country.

BFA Teacher with StudentWhatever your passion, whatever new thing you'd like to try, chances are you'll find an opportunity to explore it here at BFA. For a school with relatively few students, we offer an incredible array of electives. We want to see our students enrolled in engaging, challenging, enjoyable elective courses while they are studying here. We've found that when students are encouraged to follow their passions, wherever they may lead, they turn into more focused math students, more perceptive readers and writers, and more inquisitive scientists. They also turn into students who are eager to get up in the morning and come to school.

Some of our popular electives are described in more detail below. Click here for a complete list of all electives currently available. For Arts, Drama, and Music at BFA, please click the following links for more information: ARTS, DRAMA, MUSIC.


"Developing students' understanding of the past in a way that enables them to make connections to life in today's society"

The Latin and Greek curricula at BFA use a college preparatory, grammar-intensive approach. Most college Latin and Greek courses use a grammar-based program, and being introduced to this method in high school will give students the necessary tools to transition as seamlessly as possible to a college classroom. In addition, there is a focus on Latin and Greek vocabulary and English derivatives so that students can both understand those languages and apply his/her knowledge of those languages to English. This skill is especially helpful on the SAT. The courses also emphasize the cultures of the ancient Greeks and Romans, who had vibrant cultures, which continue to heavily influence the modern world. The students will be encouraged not only to gain knowledge about the past, but also to make connections to life in today's society. Finally, there is a general emphasis on problem-solving techniques. Studying Latin and Greek is often like putting together a puzzle, and critical thinking skills are often needed to complete assignments correctly. Students will be pushed to develop these skills, necessary in both the academic and professional realms.

Computer Science

BFA Student at the computer The Computer Science curriculum at BFA is divided into three categories. The first category deals with answering questions like, “What is a computer?” , “What is a byte and a megabyte?”, “What are the components of a computer?” and “How did the computer evolve?” Introduction to Computers is the class that we offer to answer these questions. The second category deals with altering digital images. In this category, you can take PhotoShop. The final category deals with programming a computer. If students are interested in programming a Mac or a PC, we have classes designed for both platforms. On the Mac side, we have classes geared toward learning Cocoa, Xcode and Objective C. On the PC side, we have classes geared toward learning C++, Java, Javascript, PHP and AP Computer Science.

Environmental Science

Environmental Science is taught at the college preparatory and the College Board Advanced Placement (AP) levels in the BFA curriculum. AP students in this class gain research experience by designing and implementing a research project of their own for partial fulfillment of the lab component. Environmental Science integrates earth and life Sciences with economics, public policy, ethics, history, urban planning, health, and many other subjects. A holistic approach to understanding the emergence of environmental problems provides a sound basis for finding solutions for the the well being of humans and the rest of the biosphere.

Marine Biology

The Marine Biology course provides a general introduction to the biology of marine life including an introduction to the physical marine environment, marine ecology, human interactions with marine life, estuarine and coral reef habitats, marine vertebrates and migration, sensory reception and reproduction in nekton. Students study current issues in marine biology, and they develop a research paper on a marine animal of their choice.


This course covers larger issues of Psychology including the Nature/Nurture debate and Free will/Determinism. Other topics include: Historical Views of Psychology; Biological Components of Behavior; Sensation and Perception; Consciousness; Learning; Memory; Thinking and Language; Intelligence; Infancy and Childhood; Adolescence; Adulthood; Motivation and Emotion; Personality; Psychological Tests; Gender Roles; Psychological Disorders and Methods of Therapy. This course is offered at the Honors level as well as the Advanced Placement level.


The Zoology course is intended for students seeking to learn more about animals and the animal kingdom. The course covers the fundamentals of evolutionary theory, animal behavior and ecology, animal taxonomy, protozoa and the evolutionary precursors of animal life, and animal body structure and physiology. The major portion of the course is devoted to detailed studies of the major animal groups.