Middle School News & Stories
Want to write a play? Make art from art? Build a dinosaur? Go to court?
This year, the Middle School's Project Learning Week offered students nearly 20 opportunities to work in small teams for three days between the first and second semesters.
Project Week was created to help students connect their personal interests with real-world activities, and to form collaborative relationships with a small, mixed-aged group of students. Teachers and parents led the workshops, with partnerships coming from across divisions. A physical education teacher collaborated with science teachers on the "Modern Apothecary" workshop; an Upper School math teacher and a parent who is a sports journalist accompanied students to a mock interview with Brian Cashman at Yankee Stadium.
Many of the activities involved field trips to New York City locations. The Art From Art students visited the Whitney Museum and the Museum of Modern Art and then created their own piece inspired by something that moved them. The Hain Celestial group went to the company's headquarters in Queens to learn about product development. The Law and Order group went to the New York State Courthouse at 100 Centre Street to observe court proceedings and hear from judges, attorneys, and others who play a role in the criminal justice system. (Lunch in Chinatown was part of the experience.) The Dinosaurs, Lasers, and Robots group went to the American Museum of Natural History before embarking on the construction of a life-sized woolly mammoth on Riverdale's campus. The Diners, Drive-ins and Dives group visted local restaurants to learn how to make the house special.
Some groups stayed on campus and delved into their favorite activities: creating a one-act play; using dance to learn about culture with visiting artists; honing debating skills; learning set design techniques; designing, building and playing musical instruments; planning and making a dinner party for 20; and programming robots and drones.
One group had a totally different experience: winter in the woods of the White Mountains in New Hampshire, where they learned wilderness skills and leadership skills, hiked, and camped (in a cabin) on Cardigan Mountain.
Click here to read about the Modern Apothecary project.
Click here to read about the woolly mammoth project.
Sports Journalism at Yankee Stadium
A group of students conducted a mock interview with Brian Cashman and talked with sports journalists at the New York Post during Project Week in 2016.
A group of students works with bots and drones to accomplish different challenges.
In the Maker Lab, students designed musical instruments, including wooden electric guitars and an assortment of percussion instruments. Then Jason Curry, director of the Riverdale Jazz Ensemble, led a brief (and loud) jamming session.