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.
Where did everything come from? How did we get where we are now? Where do humans fit in? Where are things heading? Come explore the modern scientific origin story of how the universe and life have grown more complex. We’ll engage the powerful ideas winding through the Big Bang, the birth of star systems, Earth’s first life, and the rise of humanity. We’ll juggle galaxies and atoms. We’ll consider events that took a billionth of a second and stories that span billions of years. Along the way we’ll discuss how scholars develop, justify, refute and refine claims about the past. Students will also work on their own narratives and explanations of “Big History’s” essential questions. Let’s build a framework for learning about anything or everything.
Everyone, everywhere, everyday uses some form of language. All human societies, big and small, rely on a rich language in order to communicate their goals, needs, and desires. Language defines who we are. In addition to serving as a bridge between people, it is also a way of separating us from, say, our parents’ generation! In this course you will learn to think like a linguist and begin to analyze and understand a language that you have probably been taking for granted as we open our eyes to other fields like computer science, anthropology, and psychology. Students will produce a collaborative project that analyzes a certain type of language, be it animal, bird, middle-schooler, anime character, adult, etc. of their choice.
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.
Become more familiar with the place that you’re spending your summer program in with a 3-D exploration of Deerfield, through the lens of architecture, history and design. The first week will be spent walking around both the village and the campus, learning how to draw in one- and two-point perspective. Next, you’ll learn a common 3-D design program and design an object based on one of your sketches. Finally, contribute to the Deerfield campus by analyzing the current map and designing some additional buildings. Students will develop an appreciation for Deerfield as a historic town and campus and develop their visual design skills at the same time.
Are you curious about the world around you in both big and small ways? In this class, we will find connections between big topics you might hear about in the media and the local ecology of western Massachusetts. We will study rivers, woodlands, and farms, to understand topics like species conservation and providing healthy food and clean water for people around the world. We will spend lots of time outside and lots of time working together to learn new skills and to use those skills to ask exciting questions. Hopefully, you will be able to bring what you learn back home to develop new perspective on how big challenges for the world show up in your backyard.
In the words of Augusto Boal, “ We must all do theater, to find out who we are, and to discover who we might become.” Self-discovery and ensemble are central to theater as an art form. In this course, we’ll spend ample time building a classroom ensemble, refining personal monologues, and staging group scenes, which will all culminate in a final performance of our work together. Over the course of our three weeks, students will strengthen their public speaking skills, learn how to improvise, and make discoveries with a group of creative, fun peers. Whether you’ve been in countless productions or have never set foot on stage, there is a place for you in this ensemble!
Do you like to tell stories? Does it matter how it is told? There isn’t just one way to tell a story, nor is there only one genre through which to present it. This course will explore the many genres that fall under the umbrella of the term ‘literature’. How does a story change when it is told through, for example, a poem versus a graphic novel? Does a character transform when presented through a play or a short story? In this class, you will learn some of the key mechanics of these various genres while producing your own individual and collaborative literary creations!
Creativity is often about using what you have well. This course is sure to get your creative and collaborative juices flowing as we dive head first into the exciting world of engineering and problem solving! Students will have the unique opportunity to solve problems by testing practical designs and bringing their ideas to fruition through the hands-on construction and implementation of their ideas. This course will introduce students to concepts involving process skills, Arduino programing, basic electronics, circuitry, and fabrication. Students of all experience levels are welcome in this course!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Sit-down meals in the Dining Hall are a great place to meet, relax, and chat with friends.
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!
Every evening students return to their classrooms to tinker and work on their projects with their collaborators.
Everyone comes together to reflect on the Experimentory’s themes and to have a lot of fun at the same time!
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.