ESW 2019 Slideshow

Extended Study Week Program Descriptions

American Civil Rights

(Grades 7-8)

Why do people risk their lives to stand up for civil rights? How did they do it?

The American Civil Rights ESW relates to Barrie’s core values, especially Diversity of Thought and Culture. Students will visit the memorials, museums, battlegrounds, and historical places that tell key parts of the story of America’s continuing struggle for freedom and justice for all of its citizens. During travel to the Deep South, students will have an opportunity to interact with people who took part in some of the historical events that we study.

The Awareness Project: Issues Related to Immigration and Refugees

(Grades 9-12)

What do we need to learn to raise awareness around issues associated with immigration and resettlement?

In this program, students will investigate the challenges that face the immigrant and refugee community in Montgomery County and learn about how to empower these communities. Together, students will explore questions such as: What problems do immigrants and refugees face? How have government, private agencies, and nonprofits enacted related to immigration and resettlement? How does immigration shape Montgomery County’s identity? 

Students will conduct an in-kind donation supply drive for the International Rescue Committee in the weeks leading up to the ESW. The first two days of the ESW will be spent visiting local organizations that work with immigrant and refugee community to learn about their impact, and delivering the collected supplies from the community drive.

The final three days will be spent engaging in on-site volunteer opportunities that address challenges faced by the immigrant and refugee community. Throughout the experience, students will reflect on what they learn, observe, and feel via journaling. At the end of the ESW, students will share and implement a community awareness campaign about immigrant and refugee issues.

Belize: Marine Science

(Grades 11-12. Open only to members of the Marine Science course)

How is the health of coral reefs tied to human actions?

The purpose of this nine-day program is to allow students in the Marine Science class to participate in field research that reinforces topics discussed in class. Students will be participating in a number of activities, including, but not limited to:

  • Learning to snorkel
  • Identifying reef fish and invertebrates
  • Monitoring spotted and bottle-nosed dolphins
  • Monitoring manatees
  • Surveying parrot roosts
  • Restoring riparian zones
  • Learning about Belizean culture and history
  • Hiking through a rainforest

Students will be staying at various location in the Teledo District of Belize, including the Glover's Reef Research Station, the Cockscomb Research Station, and the Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.

Chesapeake Bay Field Science

(Grade 6)

How do we measure the health of the Chesapeake Bay? How is the history of the bay connected to its health?

Connecting science and their learning of American culture in Humanities, Grade 6 students will engage in field investigations, which will incorporate some or all of the following topics:

  • History and folklore of the Chesapeake Bay
  • Underwater grasses
  • Crabbing, fishing, and oystering
  • Salt marsh explorations
  • Field journals and naturalist views
  • Weather watch

Students will be staying two nights and three days at the Karen Noonan Center in Bishops Head, Maryland.


(Grades 9-12)

How does encryption work and what are its uses?

In this program, students will use both classical and modern methods of encryption. First they will encode texts using classical methods, and exploit the weaknesses of those methods to attack encrypted texts using the power of computers. They will assemble an electronic Enigma machine to understand how it functioned and its weaknesses, and attack texts encrypted with it in realistic WWII conditions.

Then, students will use public keys to understand how computers communicate and encode and decode texts, determine the level of security of those keys, and use a scaled-down version of the Data Encryption Algorithm to understand how it worked. 

Ireland: Legends of the Emerald Isle

(Grades 9-12)

What is the role of traditional culture in shaping modern literary identities?

Legends have a way of not remaining in the past. Fairy tales join the modern world in Once Upon a Time, and Greek gods descend Mount Olympus in Percy Jackson. Few places, however, honor their legends in everyday life as much as Ireland. Storytelling dominates the landscape of the Emerald Isle. Even Michael Higgins, who was re-elected as the President of the Republic of Ireland on October 28, ran on a platform called “Imagination and the Nation,” which highlights the roles of art, creativity, and storytelling in modern Ireland. Students on this ESW will take a close look at the legends and myths of Ireland, particularly in terms of how the landscape, music, and storytelling play into the literary imagination.

After experiencing the places of legend, students will be challenged to re-imagine Irish myths and legends through fiction writing, in order to create a one-time publication of stories and poems. 

LGBTQ Life in Theater

(Grades 9-12)

What impact has the LGBTQ community had on the success of trajectory of Broadway shows, and how have those shows helped shape America?

Students will spend two days and nights in New York City, discovering the vibrant community that has supported the creation and successful run of shows like Kinky Boots, Fun Home, La Cage Aux Folles, and Harvey Fierstein’s Torch . Students also will spend two days in the DC / Baltimore area, visiting theaters and meeting theater professionals.

In addition to seeing LGBTQ shows, we will also spend time at the Gay and Lesbian Center in Baltimore, as well as WOW! Theater in NYC. A visit to the New York Public Library will give each participant a chance to to choose and view an LGBTQ related production that has closed on Broadway. This program will include a trip to the historic Village district in NYC.

Mural Arts of D.C. and Philadelphia

(Grades 9-12)

What purpose should public art serve? Who should be allowed to make public art? What would be an ideal proposal process for artists to go through?

For three days and two nights, students will tour DC and Philadelphia neighborhoods with local artists and guides to find out what inspired their subject matter, styles, and locations. Learn how muralists, community members, and city officials work together to decide on details of the projects, and how those decisions end up reflecting the values of a culture. We will research different weather resistant materials, and techniques for working collaboratively on a large scale. We will experiment with spray paint, latex, ceramic, recycled plastics, and more. 

Finally, students will work in small groups to propose ideas for a new mural on the Barrie campus, including sketches and an example of the style and material. Students will also estimate the cost and time to implement the piece. If the proposal is approved, students will create the mural before the end of the year.

Stop the Presses

(Grades 7-8)

What ethical principles guide journalists as they work, and how do ethics impact the ways in which certain topics are covered?

"Nothing travels faster than the speed of light, with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws." Douglas Adams

With each new innovation in technology and social media, this claim is truer than ever, forcing journalists to reconsider their own ethical responsibilities and obligations when they cover “bad news.” Decisions must be made about what can and what should become part of the news.

In this ESW, students will explore the history of news media, including the ethics of journalism and the controversies journalists face when covering major catastrophes. Additionally, this ESW will serve as an introduction to the basics of running an online newspaper, with students ultimately creating their own through reporting on local events and other ESWs.

What is a Scientist?

(Grades 7-8)

In this program, students will visit scientists “in their native habitats” and engage in hands-on activities. Students will get to become scientists. For example, after learning about urban bird ecology at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, we will return to the Barrie campus to identify our local birds. After visiting the Tregaron Conservancy to learn about citizen science, we will come back and take samples from our own ponds and streams.

Visits will include:

  • The National Zoological Park - Ecologists
  • The Tregaron Conservancy - Citizen Scientists
  • The United States Arboretum - Botanists
  • NASA - Rocket Scientists