Science teacher Allison Tarvin helps freshman Margo Kaye with physics. Photo: Kalissa Greene

Pace Academy’s minimesters are back! Minimesters are courses that replace most upper school students’ science classes for a full week. This year, minimesters begin on Tuesday, Jan. 8 (Day X-6) and continue until Tuesday, Jan. 15.

Minimesters provide a week of discovering new passions and skills that benefit students in life, as well as in the classroom. Students taking AP science classes including AP Physics 1, AP Physics C, AP Biology, AP Chemistry and AP Psychology do not participate in minimesters.

There are several exceptional new offerings this year, some of which include Crafting Your Story: How a Scrapbook Can Sublimate Time, Break Out Adventure, and Life Hacks: How to Make Your Life Easier with Math and Science.   

English teacher Robert Kaufman will teach Crafting your Story: How a Scrapbook Can Sublimate Time during B period. According to Mr. Kaufman, this classoffers students a chance to learn what a scrapbook is, why they matter and how they can make one of their own.” Scrapbooks are important to Mr.Kaufman, who has crafted several of his own.

He decided to teach this particular class to give “students the opportunity to create something that will mean a lot to them.” Mr. Kaufman added that the minimester program “is for the joy of learning because the primary point of school is to learn, not to memorize information or get a grade.” said Kaufman.

During A, B, and C period, physics teacher Allison Tarvin will teach Break Out Adventure. In this class, students will play the roles of players and game designers in a break out room game.The students will solve complex, creative problems by developing strategies,” said Mrs. Tarvin. “Then, they’ll have the opportunity to create a challenge for their classmates.”

Mrs. Tarvin stressed that “Pace is not taking a break from science as we dive into these studies. We are just taking an approach beyond the textbook or traditional divisions of chemistry, physics, biology, etc.” She wants students to walk away having “exercised their thinking and problem-solving skills outside of a textbook or online situation.”

Chemistry teacher Melody Walter will teach Life Hacks: How to Make Your Life Easier with Math and Science during A, B, C and E period. This class focuses on understanding the world to develop your life skills that “people wished they had learned sooner than later.” Although Dr. Walter is a science teacher, she commends minimesters, as “they fit well into the science curriculum, since, as science teachers, we have planned around them.” Dr. Walter hopes every student takes away at least one “tidbit” from her minimester class to use in their life.

Minimesters are an opportunity for teachers and students to engage in non-traditional ways of learning. “Minimesters allow students to get a break from the more formal science education while still honing their critical thinking and analytical skills,” said Dr. Walter. “Whether it’s through game design or understanding how science relates to our daily lives, minimesters are a way that students can continue learning the value of a science education except in a more informal and oftentimes abstract setting.” Signups for minimesters started Friday, Nov. 30.