Upper School Project Knowmad:
Summer 2017

Registration for Knowmad 2018 begins on December 11, 2017. Courses are scheduled to run from June 11 through June 29, 2018. Please be in touch with Knowmad Director Georgia Tucker (gtucker@riverdale.edu) if you have questions.

Project Knowmad 2016

Project Knowmad offers innovative learning opportunities on the Riverdale campus, in New York City, and further afield.

Project Knowmad 2016: Code Mad

From Citi Bikes to LinkNYC, new tech-based services are springing up across the city. Our students learned all about them last summer.

Courses for 2017

The 40-hour Mini-Musical Challenge • Entering Grades 9-12 • June 19-23 • REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED

Experience the madcap, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants world of show business as you conceive, write, produce, and perform an original short musical in a matter of days! We’ll be visiting various theatre venues, working in professional Manhattan rehearsal spaces, and receiving feedback from working Broadway luminaries! We need actors, writers, musicians, designers, anyone interested in the multifaceted world of professional theatre. If you’re one of those people who finds it totally normal for everyone to be constantly breaking out into song, this is the Knowmad for you!

Stephanie Simpson—Theater Arts, Dance
Kellen Blair—Theater Arts, Drama, Film

All Revved Up: What Happens Under the Hood of a Car • Entering Grades 11-12 • June 19-23 • REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED

You get in the car and head off on an adventure. But what do you know about the engine powering the vehicle you are in? Participants will focus on the mechanics of a car's engine. They will learn how the engine works, what parts are connected and why, and how to scientifically think about the signs of “car trouble” to discover a resolution and get back on the road. Perfect for those who are just starting Driver’s Ed or have recently earned a license.

Abbe Karmen—History
Phoebe Coles—Science

Art + Activism + Food • Entering Grades 6-12 • June 12-16 **New in 2017** • REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED

This Knowmad will offer a taste of the activism that permeates certain art and food movements in NYC and globally. Throughout history, art has been a creative medium for social and political change, giving voice to outrage, activism, and alternative realities. From political art in galleries and museums to street art, spoken-word performance, and pop-up art made for protests, art can tackle the salient issues of the day. In recent years there has been an increased awareness of the sociopolitical dimensions of food. We will consider how we source and consume our food, changing trends in food consumption, and our own city’s lack of access to food in certain areas. We will actively nourish both body and soul by exploring activist art while sampling food from the growing food movement in NYC.

Nicky Enright—Art
Monika Le—Mathematics
Natalia Mercedes Rodriguez—Student teacher

Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, RCS-style • Entering Grades 7-9 • June 12-16 • REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED

In the spirit of the iconic Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, we will visit a variety of restaurants in the Bronx and Manhattan too meet with chefs, owners, staff, and customers, and experience signature dishes from the first ingredient to the first bite. Students will then create, direct, write, film, and edit their own original, full episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives—RCS Style.

Amanda Eastman—Theater
Amy McDonough—Mathematics
Phoebe Coles—Science

Maker's Alliance • Entering Grades 7-12 • June 12-23 • REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED

The popular Maker's Alliance is back for another summer. Participants will learn to use all manner of tools, from sewing machines to arc welders to 3D scanners, to make cool things of their choosing. We will also visit one of New York's most promising new design labs and museums to meet and talk with other designers and see where they get the inspiration for their work. This Knowmad is two weeks long, students may attend one or both weeks.

Melissa Belardi—Science
Josh Merrow—Art
Jason Ruff—Art

New York: A Photographer’s Paradise • Entering grades 7-10 • June 19-23 • REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED

In this Knowmad, we will discover our individual ways of photographing New York City. This is a perfect opportunity to explore our diverse and exciting city. Regardless of your photographic experience, you can explore a variety of neighborhoods and destinations, meet with photographers, visit galleries, and have editing time here at Riverdale.

We will spend the majority of our time wandering around taking photos of some of the variety of New York locations: landscapes, buildings, people, neighborhoods, designs, and style. Some of the neighborhoods we are planning include: the Lower East Side, Chinatown + Little Italy, the High Line and Meatpacking District, the Staten Island Ferry (+Staten Island), Williamsburg, Bushwick, and more. We will also have a discussion the first day regarding the places our group wants to explore! In a typical day we will visit two or three destinations, and have a discussion during the day at a coffee shop. By the end of the project we hope to create both a physical and online collection of our photos. We will start next year with a photo show!

Emma Landis ‘17—Riverdale Alum
Peter Simon—Art
Beth Pillsbury—History

Shakespeare in the City • Entering Grades 9-12 • June 19-23 • REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED

Join us for a week chock-full of Shakespeare and summertime in New York! We will travel to the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival to see a performance and take in a production by the Public Theater in Central Park. We’ll discuss the plays we see - both as texts and performative works - and meet with Shakespearean actors and scholars to interact with the Bard with various perspectives. No prior experience with acting necessary; some experience reading Shakespeare recommended but not necessary.

Isabelle Laurenzi—English


A three-week learning experience exploring the latest innovations in technology and game design. Students may take one, two, or three-week sessions.

Andrew Abate—Computer Science
Alex Kuntz—Computer Science

Codemad 2017: Python!
Entering Grades 9-12 • June 12–16

Do you like coding? Do you want to make fun programs, games, and hack the Amazon Echo? Then this Coding Knowmad is just for you! In this course you will learn that programming isn’t magic, anyone can do it, and it’s creative and immensely satisfying to use computers to solve problems. You will use Python programming to create fun games and even hack Minecraft. We will explore the inner workings of Amazon Echo, Amazon’s voice-activated smart speaker. You will then use your Python skills to create your very own Echo using a Raspberry Pi credit card-sized computer, working as a startup team to create digital solutions for Echo. You’ll have your very own Amazon Echo to use along the way—and to take home with you at the end of the course!

Throughout the week we use the city as our developer space, touring innovative NYC technology companies to meet the people who work there, talk about how they came to be involved in programming, and see some of the amazing work they’re engaged in.

Table Top / Video Game Design (one or two-week seminar)
Entering Grades 6-12 • June 19–30

Explore the world of board games, card games, and video games.

Table Top Game Design
What makes a game fun? How do game developers make their players feel an emotion? What can you do to make a game have a certain style? And how do you make sure a game is fair and balanced? Over the course of the week, we will investigate these questions with a variety of different types of gaming experiences. Put away the electronics and join us as we play physical board games and card games and take part in interactive real-world experiences like Escape The Room. By the end of this week-long Knowmad, you will create your very own game! By designing everything from the rules to the artwork, you will bring home a physical copy of a game that you made!

Throughout the week, we will use the city as a resource to learn about gaming. We will talk to professional game developers to learn what they do to make the best game possible. We will meet with gaming clubs to get an understanding of what regular people want out of games. And we will experience unique gaming experiences ourselves through an Escape The Room puzzle. If you’ve always liked games, but have never thought about how they are made, this is the Knowmad for you!

Video Game Design
Love video games? Like to code? Then this course is just for you! You will learn the basics of video game design and the game creation process, and will explore the different video game genres and become familiar with the elements of gameplay. You will learn how to use the Unity game engine to create amazing content, and create your very own video game using Unity to share with your friends and family! We will even provide you with a video game controller that will be yours to keep, so that you can continue to play your games after the course has concluded.

Knowmad At A Glance

- Project Knowmad will run from June 12–30, 2017

Knowmad FAQs

For more information, please contact:
   Georgia Tucker
   Project Knowmad Manager

Riverdale Country School

Mind • Character • Community




5250 Fieldston Road
Bronx, NY 10471

LS: (718) 549-7780
MS/US: (718) 549-8810


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Project Knowmad allows Middle Schoolers to learn in a different way, using NYC as their classroom. Go There >

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