View the Middle School Curriculum (Grades 6-8)

Humanities | Mathematics | Science | World Languages | Arts | Health & Wellness | Extended Study Week

View the Upper School Curriculum (Grades 9-12)

Humanities | Mathematics | Science | World Languages | Arts | Health & Wellness | Extended Study Week


Extended Study Week (ESW) is a week in Spring when regular Prep classes are suspended in order for students to experience a week of intensive educational exploration, both on and off campus, culminating in an ESW presentation night.

Spring 2016-2017 ESW opportunities :

Grades 9-12: Home to Harlem

Theme: Discovery & Invention

What made Harlem such an inviting destination for African Americans in the early part of the 20th Century? How did the art, music, literature, and culture of the Harlem Renaissance influence American Society?

In the 1920s, African-American literature, art, music, dance, and social commentary flourished in Harlem, in uptown New York City. This cultural movement, which redefined African-American expression, became known as the Harlem Renaissance. This ESW program invites upper school students to learn more about this unique time in American history by visiting important Harlem landmarks, studying the work of artists like Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, and Duke Ellington, and creating works of visual, literary, and performing art that connect the Harlem Renaissance to their experiences in America today. The trip will spend two or three nights in New York City, and the remaining ESW days in the DC area.

Grades: 9-12 Biodiversity in Costa Rica

Theme: Global Issues & Diplomacy

How has the biodiversity of Costa Rica affected its rich history and culture as well as its relationships with the world?

This unforgettable tour of Costa Rica explores one of Central America’s most spectacular and bio-diverse areas. You’ll visit Arenal Volcano and hike through Monteverde Cloudforest – home to 400 species of birds, 100 kinds of mammals, and over 500 types of butterflies. Our Costa Rican guides will teach you about this amazing landscape and wildlife, while introducing you to local culture. You’ll also participate in a not-to-be missed snorkeling trip with sea turtles in Tortuguero National Park or Cahuita and a heart-pounding whitewater rafting trip on the Rio Reventazón!

Grades: 10-12 Oman Cultural Exchange and Arabic Language Study

Theme: Global Issues and Diplomacy

How has Oman’s unique geographic location and culture had an influence on Middle East policy and global diplomacy?

Students on the ESW trip to Oman will be guests of the Center for International Learning—an institution specializing in the teaching of Arabic and Middle Eastern studies. Two houses (each with over six spacious bedrooms) have been reserved for the sole use of Barrie School students and chaperones during our stay. Students will take three hours of introductory Arabic each day, followed by trips to places such as the Royal Opera House, the National Museum, archaeological sites, beaches, the Grand Mosque, and several restaurants serving Indian, Persian, Arab, and African foods. Students and chaperones will have consistent access to translators, docents, internet service, and American embassy contacts. The lead facilitator toured Oman during August 2016 and experienced all the places students will tour. Oman is situated in the Middle East—bordered in the Northwest by the United Arab Emirates and other moderate nations of the region. It is also bordered by Saudi Arabia to the west and Yemen to the south. The people of Zanzibar, Tanzania, India, Pakistan, and Persia contribute to the collective Omani bloodline. Ethnic diversity has encouraged religious diversity; people of all religions are allowed to practice religion freely in Oman. Oman is an ally of the United States and has been instrumental in brokering political agreements that serve the interest of peace and security in the world.

Grades 9-12: Electric Utopia

Theme: Discovery & Invention

Can skateboards make the world a better place to live?

This ESW is for those who care about the environment, specifically about climate change, but aren’t sure what they as individuals can do to help solve a problem of such magnitude. This ESW will explore one possible solution: the electric skateboard! Electric skateboards are the least expensive and the most convenient electric vehicles that we have today. For this ESW, each student will have their own electric skateboard, which they will keep at the end of the ESW. The challenge will be to use this skateboard, along with mass transit, as one’s sole means of transportation for one week. As a way of learning the advantages and disadvantages of electric vehicles, students will plan many of the week’s activities. When we’re not riding our skateboards, we will learn about the science and politics of climate change, the inner workings of electric vehicles, and other ways in which an ordinary person can help to reduce their carbon footprint.

Grades 9-12: Half Volt Hacks

Theme: Discovery & Invention

How can we turn "junk electronics" into useful, functional items?

Hack: n. Originally, a quick job that produces what is needed, but not well. - From “The Jargon File” jargon/html/

Half Volt Hacks is a program designed around the idea that we can “hack” items around us, to create new and interesting objects. In this program we’ll be focusing on electronics hacks, by taking apart cheap toys and gadgets from local thrift and dollar stores, seeing what makes them tick, and reassembling them into new and useful things- and also some not-so-useful-but-fun things. Along the way we’ll learn the basics of DC circuits, radio control, the proper use of soldering irons and multi-meters, and rechargeable battery technology. There will be lots of duct tape, hot glue, and elbow grease involved, and while we can’t guarantee our creations won’t break before the end of the week, you will definitely know how to fix them!

Grades 9-12: Clay: Earth & Fire

Theme: Discovery & Invention

What raw materials add color to pottery? And what is clay anyway?What variables are involved with creating pottery without electricity?

How are ceramics and chemistry related? In this hands-on program students will expand their knowledge of what clay is and how it can be processed. Not only will they learn the properties of different clays and glazes, they will learn how ancient peoples used the material to create functional objects before there were electric kilns or wheels. We will visit ceramics studios and galleries, interview artists, and create individual and group projects using experimental techniques. Students may also have the opportunity to harvest their own clay from a local mine, and create their own glaze from basic elements, and see different types of alternative firing techniques.

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