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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.

We are very pleased that our Summer 2019 lineup will be our largest yet, covering a wide range of arts, sciences and humanities. As always, 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!

Course Selection:
There are several factors that determine which courses our students take next summer.

  1. Course Availability: Pay careful attention to the listings below as some courses are only available during particular sessions.
  2. When You Apply: Students who apply earlier in our admission season are more likely to receive their top choices, so apply early! Note: If you are applying for financial aid, your place on this list is determined by the date we receive your application (which can be any time before 2/1/19), not the date we determine your grant amount (which will be after 2/1/19).
  3. Scheduling Conflicts: Some courses will inevitably occur during the same class period.
  4. Program Changes: Although we have not had this happen in the past, there is always a possibility that a course may be canceled if a teacher becomes unavailable or significant changes to the program need to be made.

13.8 Billion Years: Big History (Two Weeks)

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.

Course Length: Two Weeks
Available to: Four Week Students, Two Week Session 1 Students, Two Week Session 2 Students

13.8 Billion Years: Big History (Four Weeks)

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.

Course Length: Four Weeks
Available to: Four Week Students

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.

Course Length: Two Weeks
Available to: Four Week Students, Two Week Session 1 Students

From Blinking Cursor to Glossy Page: Creating a Literary Magazine

Do you want to be a writer, an artist, an editor, a designer, a publisher… or all of these at once?? Then this is the place to be: we’re producing a literary magazine in just two weeks! This course covers the entire process of creating a publication, from brainstorming to distribution. We’ll start by focusing on inspiration and content: exploring already-published literary magazines while writing, workshopping, editing, revising, and producing artwork. During the second half of the class we’ll learn about selection and editorial work, layout and design, printing and distribution. This is a hands-on workshop and you’ll take home a copy of volume 1 issue 1 of our creation at the end.

Course Length: Two Weeks
Available to: Four Week Students, Two Week Session 1 Students, Two Week Session 2 Students

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!

Course Length: Two Weeks
Available to: Four Week Students, Two Week Session 1 Students, Two Week Session 2 Students

The Great American Musical: Musical Theatre

Musicals delight the old and young with dancing, singing, and acting.  They tell stories and convey emotions unlike any other form of art.  From classics like Singing in the Rain to modern tales such as Moana, we will start with a brief history of the rise of the American Musical and then move to building our musical theater skills.  How does acting a song differ from traditional singing?  How do you convey a story through song and dance?  Learn to build stage presence and confidence.  We will choose pieces from the musical repertoire and culminate in the performances of solo and/or ensemble numbers.

Course Length: Two Weeks
Available to: Four Week Students, Two Week Session 2 Students

Lab Coat Jerseys: The Science of Sports (Two Weeks)

There is science everywhere, but perhaps nowhere is it more overlooked than in sports. Why put dimples on a golf ball? What happens in your blood when you run? Why do spinning balls curve? How does your body’s starting position influence your jump shot? Why do we become so committed to a team we love? These are the sorts of questions we will be exploring this summer.  We will play and study the science that underlays several different sports while taking full advantage of DA’s Athletic Center. Are you game to join us?

Course Length: Two Weeks
Available to: Four Week Students, Two Week Session 1 Students, Two Week Session 2 Students

Lab Coat Jerseys: The Science of Sports (Four Weeks)

There is science everywhere, but perhaps nowhere is it more overlooked than in sports. Why put dimples on a golf ball? What happens in your blood when you run? Why do spinning balls curve? How does your body’s starting position influence your jump shot? Why do we become so committed to a team we love? These are the sorts of questions we will be exploring this summer.  We will play and study the science that underlays several different sports while taking full advantage of DA’s Athletic Center. Are you game to join us?

In the four week version of this class, we’ll take things to the next level. Construct a trebuchet to sink three pointers! Modify an RC car to skate on ice! Model a baseball pitch on the computer to determine how you might throw a better curveball! Student groups will pursue a project focused on a sport of their choice.

Course Length: Four Weeks
Available to: Four Week Students

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.

Course Length: Two Weeks
Available to: Four Week Students, Two Week Session 1 Students, Two Week Session 2 Students

Speak for the Trees: Environmental Citizenship (Two & Four Weeks)

What does it mean to be an environmentally conscious citizen in a globally connected world? We are going to find out! We will begin by learning about some environmental challenges facing the planet, especially climate change. After drawing on biology, chemistry, and environmental science to understand the problem, we will learn about the different steps that countries around the world are taking to address these issues. Then, we will be engaging in an interactive, immersive Model U.N. activity to look at if and how this complicated global issue can be solved by countries with various and sometimes competing interests.

Course Length: Two or Four Weeks
Available to: Two Week Version: Students; Four Week Version: Four Week Students Only

Your First Drop: Lyric Writing and Video Production

From the tunes streaming in stores while we shop to the windows that pop-up while we poke around the internet, music and videos are everywhere. It’s easy to take videography and music for granted. Well, no more! We’ll learn about these most familiar of media staples by producing music videos. After familiarizing ourselves with some popular music videos, you’ll write your own song lyrics, then film an accompanying video. What story will your song tell? Will your video illustrate that story, add a new layer, tell a different story, or explore abstract images? Together we’ll learn the rudiments of lyric writing and videography while becoming more musically and visually literate. Are you ready to share your music, words, and images with the world?

Course Length: Two Weeks
Available to: Four Week Students, Two Week Session 1 Students, Two Week Session 2 Students


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.