Experience

One of the beauties of boarding school is the way all parts of life intersect. We want our summer community to be a safe place to take creative risks and strive to be our best selves. This means striking a good work-life balance and considering non-academic time just as important as our course work. During the program, we schedule open-ended free time in the afternoons and evenings; we plan casual gatherings like weekend picnics; and we have structured co-curriculars, field trips, and sit-down meals. The Experimentory is a place where students can step outside of their comfort zone, collaborate and find creative solutions to all types of problems.

CLASSES

Our program consists of project-based, creative "clusters" that approach subjects in fresh and exciting ways.
What subjects? What ways? We love to try new things—which means the Experimentory changes
from year-to-year as we play and experiment.

Below you’ll find information about courses we have offered in the past. We are working on a fresh set of courses for our 2022 program, but the information below will give you an idea of what’s to come.

Wanted: Space Explorers!

 Since people have looked to the stars and dreamt of travelling to them, we have needed problem solvers and makers.  How will we get off the ground and launch ourselves into space? How will we get to the Moon, to Mars, or beyond?  How will we live out there away from Earth? And when trouble happens, who is going to imagine new ideas and new ways of putting things together? This course will feature hands-on team challenges that will force you to think on your feet and collaborate with others. Join us as we embark on an interplanetary journey of discovery and invention while we learn about the frontiers of space that will be explored in your lifetime.  It’s the next age of discovery and an adventure waiting for you to join it.

Break a Leg: Performance on the Stage

“We must all do theatre, to find out who we are, and to discover who we could become.” As stated by Augusto Boal, theater is a powerful experience and you will be sure to find discovery at every turn.  After building an ensemble as a class, you’ll move on to scene study, improvisation, monologue work, and performance techniques. The course will conclude with a short performance of your work. Whether you’ve been in every school play since kindergarten or have never set foot on stage, this course will hone your critical thinking, strengthen your collaboration skills, and increase your self-confidence.

Digital Images, Voices, and Sounds

Our contemporary media landscape is saturated with audiovisual messages: we live in a world of screens, headphones, and loudspeakers that constitute the backdrop to our everyday experiences. Why should we content ourselves with the role of passive spectators and listeners when we can become creators? In this class, you will learn the fundamentals of audiovisual digital content creation in the area of your choosing: filmmaking, podcasting, or songwriting. Through a hands-on collaborative approach that imitates the practices of the contemporary film and music industries, students will work on a wide range of projects from start to finish. By experimenting and playing, you will learn the basic creative and technical skills needed to express your thoughts, emotions, and ideas through videos, podcasts, and songs.

Functional Art: Architectural Sketching and Design

Architects design spaces so that we can live, work, and play in them. We will study designed spaces with frequent trips around the buildings of the Deerfield Academy campus with sketchbooks in hand. Then, put your business hats on as we consider the functional aspects of our art when our class transforms into a mock architectural firm hired to reshape those existing DA spaces for a new purpose.  Students will finish the course with experience in architectural sketching and plenty of principles of design. Let’s get drawing!

For the Sake of Argument: Exploring Ethical Issues

The most interesting ethical questions are the ones in which important values come into tension.  What is the right thing to do when exercising individual freedom conflicts with protecting the vulnerable?  When security interests suggest revealing private information?  When granting mercy in a compelling case would mean making an exception to a clear and important civic standard?  In this course, students will learn how to support claims with evidence and reasoning, engage in respectful ‘arguments to enlighten,’ and sharpen debate skills. In our classroom community, arguments aren’t fights: they’re how we critically examine our beliefs and values and thereby grow as individuals. 

Makerspace: Creative Problem Solving

Creativity is often about using what you have well. This course will feature daily hands-on team challenges that will force you to think on your feet, collaborate with others, and build things of your own design. For example: How fast can you transport 10 marbles across a room using newspaper, toothpicks, and mailing labels? How tall of a tower can you build using spaghetti, tape, and yarn in just 10 minutes? Accommodating limited time and materials will teach you creative problem solving techniques.

People

Experimentory teachers are smart and curious—just like you! They will guide you through a process of discovery, while allowing you to follow your own unique interests—wherever they may take you.

During the year, our faculty teach at Deerfield Academy and enjoy exploring specific topics of their curriculum with Experimentory students over the summer. Being familiar with all that DA has to offer, they are able to support each student’s ideas to help them become a reality. Along with our teaching faculty, residential assistants and office staff also help support students and make our program a success. Our residential assistants live in the dorms, plan activities, assist teachers in the classroom, and have fun alongside our students. The office staff are your go-to resources as you learn about the program, apply, and make your way to campus. All of these individuals work closely together to ensure that the Experimentory is a summer experience that students won’t soon forget. Below you’ll see examples of some of our teaching faculty from previous summers. These faculty members continue to teach at Deerfield Academy and bring vast knowledge and enthusiasm to our program. Check back in the months to come to see who joins us in 2022!

David Payne

FACULTY

“Functional Art:

Architectural Sketching and Design”

Mr. Payne’s love of architecture started young: he grew up in a quintessential New England small town full of beautiful 18th and 19th century buildings. In time he not only grew an appreciation of how the function and form of individual features become a building and home, but also how individual buildings together constitute a place and a community. In addition to traditional architectural design classes, he teaches AP 3-D Design. His classes place strong value on practical spaces and architecture as a tactile craft–for example, designing a new Academy dorm and learning to draw plans and build models by hand. And with three active boys at home, he is no stranger to change and adventure.

Jamie Frank

FACULTY

"FOR THE SAKE OF ARGUMENT: EXPLORING ETHICAL ISSUES"

After graduating from college with a teaching degree and then attending law school, Ms. Frank practiced law for five years. During that time, she missed the interesting, Socratic conversations of a law school classroom so much that she returned to education in 2013. When she came to Deerfield, Ms. Frank was excited for the opportunity to talk with talented young people about ethical issues in the world around them and how they could be agents for positive change. Ms. Frank lives on campus with her partner and her son, and when she’s not reading the news and listening to political podcasts she loves to garden and to hike in the beautiful hills of the Pioneer Valley.

CATRIONA HYNDS

FACULTY

“Break a Leg: Performance on the Stage”

Ms Hynds was raised in the foothills of the Himalayas. The backdrop of the mountains growing up surely inspired her love of travel which has led to her living and working in many countries. As a professionally trained director, Ms. Hynds brings a unique approach to her theater and acting classes. She encourages students to move out of their comfort zones to maximize their creativity, while having fun at the same time.

Jaime Correa

FACULTY

“Your First Drop: Lyric Writing and Video Production”

Mr. Correa fell under the spell of the lonely, wandering cowboys on the silver screen at an early age. In time, his interests expanded from the individual stories to how they were told through words and images. These fascinations led to degrees in Film and Television, and then Film Studies and Cultural Studies. His interest in music and songwriting is more personal passion than formal education. He studies classical guitar in his free time and finds songwriting a new incarnation of his love of poetry. His Experimentory classes are a fusion of all these creative and academic pursuits. He loves cultivating his students’ visual, poetic, and musical literacy.

A DAY AT THE EXPERIMENTORY

"DFG"

Dorm / Field / Greer

Free time is an opportunity to recharge in whatever way suits you: reading in the Dorm, a pickup soccer game in the Fields, ice cream over a game of cards in the Greer Cafe—or a little bit of all three.

DORMS

Dorms aren’t just the place you sleep: your evenings there include snacks, impromptu dance parties, birthday celebrations, and time to reflect on all you learned and experienced during the day.

MEALS

Sit-down meals in the Dining Hall are a great place to meet, relax, and chat with friends.

Co-curriculars

Our team of proctors lead student cocurricular times each day; cocurriculars offer great chances to enjoy a favorite pastime or to try something new—and to have fun!

Studio

Every evening students return to their classrooms to tinker and work on their projects with their collaborators.

All X

Everyone comes together to reflect on the Experimentory’s themes and to have a lot of fun at the same time!

 

Leadership and Communication

Ideas can’t change the world unless they are shared with others, so developing leadership and communication skills is an essential part of the Experimentory experience.