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The Hamber Challenge Studio Program is designed for highly-able students who wish to be challenged by a grade 8-12 program that encompasses both acceleration and enrichment. High academic standards are supplemented by various enrichment opportunities. There is a focus on creative and critical thinking, project-based learning, and student ownership, allowing students the opportunity to explore areas of passion and to influence the content of their academic pursuits. This environment of learning is fostered by the sense of community within the program.

The Challenge Studio program in grade 8 consists of four blocks:  English, Social Studies, Technology Innovation & Design, and Critical Thinking/Fine Arts. Please note that in English, students will complete three years of study in their grade 8 and 9 years.

The program over the five years is as follows:


English 8-10 Challenge Studio

The English Challenge Studio Program spans two school years, during which students will complete the requirements of English 8, 9 and 10. Students are expected to demonstrate superior quality work and an enthusiasm to delve deeply into literature, both as a class and independently. Students must maintain a “B” standing to remain in the program. Students in Challenge Studio English are expected to take English 11 Challenge Studio, English 12 World Literature, and AP English Literature 12 in their grade 10-12 years.

English 11 Challenge Studio (Literary Studies)

This course is designed primarily for students emerging from the two-year English Challenge Studio program. The course involves the critical analysis of literature. Through the study of various literary works, students will be encouraged to contemplate perspectives foreign to them, and to develop their own ability to communicate concepts both verbally and in writing. Students who take this course are expected to continue with enriched English by selecting English World Literature 12 and then AP English Literature 12.

English 12 (World Literature) Challenge Studio  

English 12 World Literature emphasizes university preparation through the study of international literature. This English 12 course should appeal to students who are avid, curious, serious readers and very capable writers. Students wishing to write the Advanced Placement examination could benefit from taking this class alongside or before the Advanced Placement course. 

AP English Literature & Composition 12

AP English Literature and Composition is designed to be a college/university level course. Students will be provided with intellectual challenges and a workload consistent with a typical undergraduate university English Literature/Humanities course. Students will be exposed to a generous portion of the English Canon. It is expected that students enrolling in this course will be strong readers, writers, and thinkers. Students will write the AP Examination in May.


Social Studies 8 Challenge Studio

Social Studies 8 Challenge Studio assesses what has been learned in elementary school about the self and social studies skills and extends the students’ learning. The course not only connects students to the medieval and Early Modern periods of human history, to current events, and to issues of personal interest for evidence or as a series of case studies, but also empowers students to become autonomous learners. Examples of themes include: contact and conflicts between peoples that stimulate social and political change, exploration and the human and environmental factors that change population and living standards, and others. This course will prepare students’ application of the six frames of thinking (inquiry and skill based), prepare their focus on skills and interests (cooperative and personalized learning in authentic, critical thinking, and creative experiences), and foster initiative taking and goal setting (autonomy and responsibility).

Social Studies 9 Challenge Studio

Social Studies 9 Challenge Studio not only connects students to the world of 1715-1919 and current events and issues for evidence or as a series of case studies, but also empowers students to become autonomous learners. Students will develop thinking, communication, personal and social awareness, understanding, and skills as they address issues related to four themes: 1) the influence of emerging ideas and ideologies on societies and events; 2) the influence of the physical environment on political, social, and economic conditions and events; 3) the connections between disparities in power and the balance of relationships between individuals and between societies; and 4) the construction and changes made to a variety of collective identities. In short, revolutions and changes in the 19th century up to World War One provide the backdrop for students to develop theories and skills related to geography, economy, history, current events, politics, and society.

Social Studies 10 Challenge Studio

Social Studies 10 Challenge Studio provides students with the means to bridge the gap between school life and their life after school.  The first two years’ work in Socials seeks to develop the student’s confidence in authentic projects, to seek one’s element (where skills and interests collide), to network in and make an impact on the community inside and outside the school, and to understand the current national, social, political, economic, cultural, and personal context as it developed from Canada’s role in world affairs through the 20th Century. Student leadership opportunities are fostered and initiative is encouraged throughout the year.  Logical, political, ideological, and financial literacy skills are developed, and the motto “from possibility to actuality” is realized.  Students are also encouraged and given opportunities to become mentors for younger Challenge Studio members. Portfolio assessment and inquiry-based projects and assignments provide the foundation of a student’s records that should be used beyond life at Eric Hamber school. 

Law 12 Challenge Studio

The core philosophy is based upon the premise that laws govern a great many of our actions. Therefore, a knowledge and understanding of these laws will enhance an individual’s performance within our society. Students will focus on the core areas: what is law; why laws are needed; the essential components of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms; the Youth Criminal Justice Act; Family Law, Criminal Law, Tort Law, and the court system.

Philosophy 12

What is philosophy?  Well, according to one definition it is, “the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct.”  That makes for an awfully broad subject that encompasses all issues related to our physical existence, our minds and our behavior. Do we exist? Does the world exist?  What do we know?  How do we know that we know? What is a just society?  What is right and wrong? Put another way, philosophy is really the careful, reasoned probing of the big questions of life and the universe that humans have been asking for a very long time.  In this course, we will explore these questions with a view to learning some competing schools of thought on each, while training our minds to think in a more critical, analytical way.



Technology Innovation & Design 8 Challenge  Studio

In Technology Innovation & Design 8, students learn to conceptualize a design, consider the steps of turning the vision into reality, and then build their project.  Students will be introduced to a wide range of technology areas, which may include print making, drafting, clay work, stop motion animation, coding and robotics, woodworking, and jewellery/metal work. Students will have the opportunity to engage in self-directed projects to explore an area of interest in greater depth.

Inquiry & Innovation 9 Challenge Studio

Students are given the opportunity to explore areas of passion through inquiry-based learning, fostering an attitude of creativity and curiosity. Through this approach, students will develop skills that will prepare them for the future. In the second half of the year, students are expected to engage in a long-term project in which they will identify an area of need and then propose and plan realistic solutions. This may take the form of an event, service or invention; the desired goal is to make an impact on the world and a difference in the lives of an individual, a group, or a community.



Critical Thinking & Fine Arts 8 Challenge Studio

In Critical Thinking & Fine Arts 8, students will closely examine the self, community, and world around them and engage in meaningful discussion and exploration. Aspects of fine arts, which may include art, drama, photography, and film, will be integrated with the critical thinking aspects of this course. 


Math 8 Honours and Science 8 Honours classes are open to all students, both in the regular and Challenge Studio programs, and allow for acceleration. Students are selected based on ability and suitability.  Challenge Studio applicants should indicate their interest when applying for the program.

Mathematics 8-10 Honours

This is a two-year program for students who have demonstrated an interest in mathematics in elementary school, as well as an aptitude and a work ethic that will enable them to learn the Mathematics 8-10 curriculum in two school years. The Math 8 course and at most of the Math 9 material will be taken in Math 8 Honours, and the remaining content in Math 9 and the Math 10 course will be studied in Math 10 Honours. Students will be expected to complete other math enrichment activities and to compete in various mathematics competitions, as they occur throughout the program. The students will be exposed to a faster rate of material coverage and will learn to function academically in an oral and written sense commensurate with that expected of a class of highly motivated and able students. Students must maintain a C+ average to remain in this program. Successful completion of these two courses leads to either Pre-Calculus 11 or Pre-Calculus 11 Enriched.

Science 8-10 Honours 

This is a two-year program for preselected students who have demonstrated a marked interest in Science in elementary school, as well as an aptitude and work ethic that will enable them to cover the three years of Junior Science in two school years.  Students will be exposed to a higher rate of material coverage and will learn to function academically in an oral and written sense commensurate with that expected of a class of highly motivated and able students.  


The Challenge Studio student:

  • wants to be academically challenged
  • is extremely motivated to learn
  • has a curiosity to delve deeper into topics and the ability to question information
  • responds well to a rapid pace of instruction
  • wishes to shape the direction of their own studies
  • is able to work collaboratively with others
  • is well-rounded with many interests and passions
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