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 classes 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 are our 2023 courses!

Big History: Adventures in the Anthropocene

Where did everything come from? How did we arrive here? Where do humans fit in? Where are things heading? This course explores the modern scientific origin story of how the universe and life within it has grown more complex over 13.8 billion years. This tale, itself thousands of years in the making, has been woven by a wide spectrum of scientists and historians. Together, we will engage powerful ideas and common themes across the entire time scale of history, from the Big Bang and creation of star systems, to the emergence of the Earth’s first microorganisms and the recent rise of human societies. Today, we live in “The Anthropocene,” the geological “Age of Man” where one species, Homo sapiens, is transforming the planet. To finish, we will face what the future may bring, and the roles humans, collectively and individually, will play in the ongoing adventures in the Anthropocene.

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.   

THE CLASH: Proof, Persuasion, and The Art of Debate

The CLASH is the best part of any debate! It’s that special moment when two debaters come to terms from opposite sides. It’s the heart of an argument. But to get there, we need some tools. The goal of this course is to give you those necessary tools to debate effectively. We’ll explore logic, rhetoric, and the theory of argumentation through some lessons and lots of practice. We will engage in a variety of different high-school and collegiate debating styles to understand key concepts and terms used in each. You will leave this course with a much deeper understand of how to evaluate, construct, and perform arguments, and see huge improvements in public speaking. You’ll love the clash! 

Deerfield in 3-D: Architecture and Design

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. We will begin by studying designed spaces with frequent trips around the buildings of the Deerfield Academy campus with sketchbooks in hand, learning how to draw one- and two-point perspectives. Then, we’ll transform our sketching skills and newfound architectural knowledge into conceptual sculptural objects built by hand. Hone your design, analytical, and building skills while learning more about architecture and why buildings look the way they do. 

The Ecology of Place

Experience the ecological wonder of the Deerfield area through this lab-based environmental science course! We will immerse ourselves in the natural world as we venture outside the classroom to explore nearby river and forest sites, collecting samples and making observations along the way. Together, we’ll explore a range of fascinating lab activities, including water testing, plant identification, microscope work with soil, river, and forest samples, and more. Engaging in the iterative process, students will closely observe a specific eco-site and work collaboratively with peers to design and answer their own research questions. This course will provide students with an incredible opportunity to deepen their understanding of ecology while enjoying the beauty of the Pocumtuck Valley and the larger New England environment.

Break A Leg! Performance on the Stage

Have you ever been nervous to speak in front of a crowd? Are you queasy at just the thought of reading in class or performing publicly? Or, are you a seasoned speaker/performer looking to perfect your craft? In all cases, this is the class for you! Through building a tight-knit ensemble, this course encourages students to hone their critical and creative thinking skills and increase their confidence in both performing and public speaking. Students will work collaboratively on scenes, and monologues from established playwrights which will be performed on the final day. Your self-confidence will soar during our time together, and you will never again hesitate to take full advantage of an opportunity to perform.

Creative Writing – Tracing our Roots Through Food

In this creative nonfiction class, you will explore and showcase who you are by tracing the culinary traditions that connect you to your family, community, country, and land. Through a hands-on approach, we will work on a collective interactive cookbook that will compile meaningful family recipes. You will research and document the recipe and will write a personal essay exploring the stories behind it. Why is this dish so relevant to my family? How can I trace the footsteps of my ancestors through this food? What do its ingredients tell me about the history of my country? By answering these and many other questions, you will learn to think like a food historian, while gaining global literacy. You will also get acquainted with the rudiments of the personal essay as a creative writing genre.

Creative Engineering and Problem Solving

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, iterative design, physics, structural engineering, and fabrication. Students of all experience levels are welcome in this course!

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.

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.