Next year (2019-2020 school year), Discovery School will be starting our pilot for a new IB Middle Years program, and we are excited to share a preview of this, open free-of-charge to our entire community, for students in 5th - 8th grade! We are doing this in the form of an afterschool enrichment program which meets once a week on Tuesdays from 3:15 - 5:15 pm.
During this time, students will get to try out one of the unique offerings of our middle school: the ability to work on independent projects across a range of fields: maybe you’d like to learn about how the human brain works from an MIT neuroscientist, and do a virtual dissection? Or, maybe you’d like to see what’s possible when you combine art and virtual reality? How about learning how to design objects the way engineers and tech artists do in CAD, and then making a virtual gallery that your audience can walk around in and interact with? What about designing a science experiment, collecting data, and making a presentation? What about learning how to program your own video game, or composing and recording your own music demo using electronic and/or acoustic instruments? In Discovering Middle School, all of this is possible, and more!
As educators and mentors, it is our responsibility to make sure that we support and scaffold students’ natural curiosity and questioning, instead of limiting it. This way, students can experience authentic learning through a state of flow while working hard on skills towards a goal that they are invested in (because they set this goal themselves). That is the philosophy of our emerging middle school program, and that is the philosophy behind our after school offering, “Discovering Middle School”.
How do we create an environment in which students can explore their ideas as well as practice the critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, goal-setting, time management, and other essential skills they will need to succeed?
For upper elementary (5th and 6th grade) and middle-school students, our solution is an environment we call “Discovering Middle School”. Developed, refined, and taught over several years by our associate head of school, Dr. Halwani, this program provides students with the freedom to generate their own projects and experiment (and sometimes fail and iterate) with different essential skills while also providing the scaffolding it takes for students to stay productive, engaged, and increasingly able to actualize their goals.
Working directly with Dr. Halwani, students can propose any project they are passionate and/or curious about; such as researching a new topic they have always wanted to know more about, making a song in any style they like, organizing a service project, learning to program in a new language, learning to design psychological experiments, using virtual reality to go to new places, create art, and learn new things, and much more! If you have any questions or would like to discuss this unique opportunity, please feel free to reach out to Dr. Halwani directly at email@example.com.