Middle School Project Knowmad:
Riverdale's popular Project Knowmad uses New York City as a classroom, giving students a chance to meet professionals who are shaping the worlds of art, theater, technology, business, and public life. At the same time, Knowmad brings exciting programs to the Riverdale campus, giving students hands-on opportunities to develop their creativity and technical skills in new ways.
Our expanded summer 2017 program includes three new technology courses, our first ever offering for rising 5th graders, and several established courses that have been updated in response to both student interest and new learning opportunities in the City.
Courses do fill up quickly. Please complete the Knowmad application form soon for best course selection. For more information, please see our FAQ sheet or contact Georgia Tucker, Project Knowmad Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Project Knowmad 2016
Project Knowmad offers innovative learning opportunities on the Riverdale campus and in New York City and beyond.
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.
Knowmad Courses for 2017
Alternative Views: Cartography and the Art and Science of Map Making • Entering Grades 6-8 • June 12-16 **New in 2017**
Have you ever wondered who decides what goes on a map? Which nations take the center space? What are the crucial elements needed in a map of Central Park? We will explore the history of map making and the perspectives and tools brought to the naming and drawing of one’s place and space—or the place and space of others. Participants will study historic maps, journey off campus to new locations—and map them—and spend some time thinking about how maps can influence the lives and history of various peoples.
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 & soul by exploring activist art, while sampling food from the growing food movement in NYC.
Natalia Mercedes Rodriguez—Student teacher
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 to 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.
Gears, Cranks, and Cams: building your own toys from scratch • Entering Grades 6-7 • June 12-16 **New in 2017**
In the tradition of mechanical toy making, students will experiment with cranks, gears and cams to create their own toys, gadgets, and kinetic sculptures. Perfect for the student who loves hands-on projects already, and a great introduction for those just starting to think about tools and functional design. The class will also visit studios and museums to observe classic and innovative approaches to design and construction. Class will take place in the Maker's Studio in the new building on the Lower School campus.
Rachel Beane—Lower School Technology
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
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
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 5-8 • 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.
When I Grow Up… An Intergenerational Theatre Project • Entering Grades 5-7 • June 12-16 **New in 2017**
Rising 5-7th graders will explore the social and collaborative aspects of theatre to create original performances based on the life stories of senior citizens. Students will interview seniors in their residential and day care facilities around New York City. They will conduct research using primary source material such as photographs, letters, and music, and will learn and apply techniques such as integrative interviewing, creative storytelling, and oral history games. The week will culminate in students performing for their senior audience a series of short monologues inspired by the seniors own first hand accounts of history and stories from their lives. Students will be challenged to develop mindfulness around the creative process of working with others, while reinvigorating a sense of agency in their senior partners.
Christopher Johnston—LS Drama
Amy Fitts—LS Drama