Middle School Project Knowmad
June 10–28, 2019
Project Knowmad is an experiential learning program for students entering grades 5 to 12 that runs during the summer months, right after finals and before most other summer programs begin. Courses cover a variety of subjects, including computer science, filmmaking, drawing, writing, and culinary arts.
In Knowmad, students and teachers are out in the field exploring interesting ideas, meeting new people, visiting unusual locations, and working as a team. The activities are creative: writing code, taking photographs, making meals, writing scripts, designing and building original inventions. Students work with teachers in a new way, too: as collaborators looking for answers together. Small class sizes of six to 10 students offer individual instruction and promote sustained focus.
Project Knowmad offers innovative learning opportunities on the Riverdale campus, in New York City, and further afield.
From Citi Bikes to LinkNYC, new tech-based services are springing up across the city. Our students learned all about them in Codemad.
Many cultures can be experienced through the art and cuisine found throughout New York City, which also happens to be a center of art and food. Students will explore different cultural hubs throughout the boroughs, creating art, visiting exhibitions, meeting with arts professionals, and sampling cuisines. We will explore how food itself has become a cultural movement by visiting urban farms, food trucks, and artisanal food purveyors, and perhaps even meeting with food bloggers and learning how to cook some dishes. Art and Food will nourish both body, soul, and mind.
Faculty Leaders: Nicky Enright—Art; Monika Le—Mathematics
DrawNYC is a weeklong experiential and plein air drawing workshop designed to explore the rhythm of New York while actively observing and drawing the people, architecture, and landscape of this dynamic city. Your sketchbooks will be filled with images from our travels. We will visit exhibitions at museums and galleries. Students will share their work on a regular basis in order to further their understanding. We will explore pencil, charcoal, ink, and watercolor. Students will benefit from individual instruction and feedback from two artist-teachers with strong backgrounds in both painting and drawing. Students will deepen and strengthen their practice. No drawing experience is necessary. Materials are provided.
Faculty Leaders: Betsy Fields; Angela Paris—Art
Students will explore New York City through the five senses. We will follow our noses alongside canine cognitive scientist Alexandra Horowitz on a walking tour of Manhattan. At Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Tarrytown, all of our senses will be engaged as we learn about where our food comes from and how it is grown. We will refine our sense of touch by making slime with a variety of gooey, gritty ingredients. We will visit a New York City gallery and use our eyes to view and make art. We will engage our hearing to as we create and play our own musical instruments. And each day we will eat sense oriented lunches together.
Faculty Leaders: Asya Reznikov—Art; Nicole Sin Quee—Mathematics
Film Lab is a collective and creative workshop. No previous experience is needed, and class size will be small in order to maximize the learning experience. Over five full days student will write, film, and edit short films or documentaries. Filming will take place on and around the Hill Campus, and equipment and editing spaces will be provided. On the last day of the course student films will be screened to the public.
Faculty Leader: Milena Almira—Language
How do scientists "do" science? How does a strawberry plant end up looking like a strawberry plant? Why did that baking soda and vinegar volcano I made in third grade work the way it did? Do you want the answers to these questions and many more? Then join this Knowmad and prepare to get messy as we explore science hands-on. We will use engaging lab experiments to develop an understanding of the scientific method and basic principles of chemistry and biochemistry. We'll explore both what you are made of biochemically and what you are made of as a research scientist.
Faculty Leader: Laura Monti—Science
Python and Game Design, June 17–21
Do you like coding? Do you want to make fun programs and games you can play with your friends and family? Then Codemad is just for you. Learn that programming isn't magic, that it's creative, that anyone can do it, and that it's immensely satisfying to use computers to solve problems.
You will explore various genres of computer games and learn the fundamentals of game design and the game creation process. You''ll learn the powerful and versatile programming language of Python with a focus on game design using the Pygame library. And you'll create your very own game from start to finish.
Throughout the week, we will use the city as our developer space, touring innovative NYC tech companies and startups to meet the (normal) people who work there, talk about how they got involved in programming, and see the amazing things they're doing.
Arts Technica: Arts Meet Technology, June 24–28: This course is for the artist, programmer, and musician in all of us, and for anyone who is interested in exploring their creative side. Technology and programming are used in the arts by creators and performers, and programmers work with artists to bring life to their projects. Students will meet with creators and designers, and visit museums, galleries, and installations around New York City to research how technology has been used in new and creative ways. By learning the Processing programming language, 3D printing, and music apps like GarageBand and Audacity, you will explore the limitless possibilities of creative technology in the visual arts, music, fashion, and beyond, and produce creative projects of your own.
Faculty Leaders: Andrew Abate; Paul Fisher—Computer Science
Makers Week, June 10–14: Held in Riverdale's Makerspace, Makers Week is an open-studio approach to making everything from stuffed animals to go-karts. Students will learn to use all manner of tools, from sewing machines to arc welders, to 3D scanners, to build whatever cool things you can dream up.
Zombie Sleepover, June 17–20: Design and build a zombie-proof structure and spend the night in it on campus the night of the summer solstice, a likely date for zombie incursion. All manner of anti-zombie strategies will be designed and implemented. Students bring sleeping bags and flashlights. All other gear will be made on-site.
Faculty Leaders: Josh Merrow—Makerspace; Jason Ruff—Art
Students will treat the writing room like an experimental laboratory: you'll make literary concoctions of strange ingredients, and take risks in an effort to discover something new. Each student in turn will develop the 'mad scientist' part of your writing brain. You will use prompts and generate new creative work, and take inspiration from the history and culture of New York City on field trips. Also part of in-class time will be creating handmade chapbooks:a shorter-than-normal-sized book full of poems or stories, fashioned from paper and a variety of other materials. You will write, design, and create at least one chapbook of your own work. This course is open to all students: those who already write creatively as well as those interested in exploring a new method of self expression.
Faculty Leaders: Brian Mihok—Communications; Mike Willis—English
Students will experience the diversity of cuisines in New York City through an immersive journey that explores the food and greenmarkets of select New York neighborhoods. Outings are paired with a hands-on cooking lesson in which students learn to prepare iconic New York foods, and share stories, meals, and recipes.
Faculty Leaders: Antoinette Quarshie—Global Studies & Community Engagement; Lu Li—Language; Asya Reznikov—Art