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Minimesters Better Than Ever

As Spirit Week is just around the corner, so are mini-mesters. For those of you who are new to the Upper School and do not know what mini-mesters are, they are temporary classes that are held in lieu of your science class for one 8-day rotation at the start of second semester.

Students who have participated in mini-mesters may be disappointed to hear that their favorite classes from the past may not return for this year. “The instructions that I gave this year, and the requirements we gave ourselves, were if it hasn’t changed in the last few years, then it needs to change this year,” said Mr. Day. This year’s sign-up will feature all new choices, including ones from new science teachers, and also from teachers in other departments.

Mrs. Hall and Ms. Stevens will be teaching a joint class on medieval weaponry, in which they plan to build catapults and trebuchets and test them out. Mrs. Korb is teaching a class on engineering and designing different structures, similar to Dr. Pearson’s bridge building class, but with more of a focus on structural and mechanical engineering. Dr. Pearson is going to do an origami class, and include the science of paper making, recycling and what we can learn through origami. “Instead of doing my wildlife class, I want to do a woodworking for wildlife class where we build birdhouses and go and put them up outside,” said Mr. Day. “We would take the same trip up to the swamp, but with a different perspective.”

There are a couple of new science teachers this year who plan to join in on the mini-mester fun. Mr. Sandoe, a new tenth grade chemistry teacher, has a strong interest in water chemistry. He is developing a class to go along with the Isdell Center for Global Leadership theme, to incorporate chemistry and water, and do hands-on projects. “Another rule that I gave this year is to produce something, whether that’s a poster or piece of origami, just make something,” said Mr. Day. “We want to limit the lectures and do more hands-on projects. It is hard to do that because teachers want to talk about their interests so badly that it ends up just being lectures.”

English teacher Mr. Carson is teaching a class called Renegade Writing. This class will include all different kinds of writing, with pieces that are totally off the wall. If you want to write raps, advertisements, a speech with no repercussions (with a limit on decency), then this class is for you. These additional “non-science” options will add spice to mini-mesters. “For one cycle, just do something different. Do class differently, do school differently, and do subject matter that you’re not going to do otherwise,” said Mr. Day. “You do your reading, writing, and arithmetic, but what about this other cool stuff? Mini-mesters are about exposure, doing things differently, and teaching in a different way.”

Sign up for mini-mesters closes today, Dec. 12.

Ms. Stevens and Mr. Tannenblatt avidly discuss the pros and cons of medieval weaponry. Credit: Sean Murtaugh

Ms. Stevens and senior Matt Tannenblatt avidly discuss the pros and cons of medieval weaponry. Photo: Sean Murtaugh


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