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Xander reflects on how the teachers in his Architecture + Culture class drew out his academic curiosity and encouraged him to take some chances to produce work he was proud of.

Experimentory courses are interdisciplinary, project-based, and creative.  We challenge students to try new subjects and familiar subjects in fresh and exciting ways.  And we all have fun!

What subjects? What ways? We love to try new things — which means the Experimentory changes from year-to-year as we play and experiment.  Our courses for summer 2019 are still under construction.  Explore the examples below for how courses have taken shape in years past.  Be sure to sign up for our e-mail list to be notified when our 2019 course list is finalized!

 

Comedy, Tragedy, and Circuitry: Theater + Electronics

Combining electronics and theater celebrated creativity and the ties between art and science. While theater is the ancient art of storytelling built from one’s own voice and body and technology can be seen as a new science of external tools only interacting with the physical world, both make our ideas tangible in ways that seem magical. In this class, students learned to program robotic actors to follow stage directions, created props to perform scary stage effects, acted as superheroes, and gave heart-felt monologues. Never before have soldering and stage fright been tackled at the same time.


Storytelling for the Eyes and Ears: Music + Film

Our contemporary media landscape is saturated with audio-visual messages: We live in a world of screens and loudspeakers that form the backdrop to our everyday experiences. Students learned to take apart films from music scores to screen shots to story-lines then learned to build their own starting from scratch. Students created their own pieces of music, screenplays, shot lists, and films ending with original films to present at the red carpet.


Structures for Society: Culture + Architecture

Culture can be seen in the food we eat, music we listen to, entertainment we enjoy, and the buildings we design. That’s why on showcase day, it was so important to not only show the architectural drawings of the restaurants that students designed, but also to have the full meal cooked and presented for audiences to taste! Students explored what it meant to design a home to be culturally sustainable in Historic Deerfield to what it means to be culturally sustainable today in Dubai. There is a lot to learn about culture in today’s world and also a lot to learn about design and architecture.


Sustainability: A Fixer-Upper of a Planet

“It’s a fixer-upper of a planet, but we could make it work.” Elon Musk was talking about Mars – an unforgiving planet with potential and space. But he could have been talking about Earth, our nurturing home worn thin by 8 billion people. This class explored ways we can meet our most pressing needs on both planets – nutritious food, fresh air, and clean water by building hydroponic systems capable of growing food indoors and year-round. In addition, some student groups looked into how plant-based systems are transforming human life in cities here on Earth while other groups considered the challenges of space travel and Mars colonies.


What Would You Do? Adventures in Ethics

Is it better to lie to protect a friend or tell the truth but risk the friendship? Should people be allowed to determine the genetic traits of their children? When is someone’s advantage in a sports competition fair and when is it unfair? Is it better to have leaders that are feared, or loved? This course was full of lively reflection, discussion, and debate. Students considered real-life case studies like the ones listed here pulled from the news, history, and everyday life. By digging into these stories, students learned about ethical systems, big issues, and themselves.


If you are curious to learn more about how our courses looked in the 2018 program, visit the Experimentory’s Blog, Flickr and YouTube pages to see how it all came together.