Every Wednesday afternoon at AIS offers an opportunity for Middle and Upper School students to dive into immersive learning experiences during their extended Discovery and Seminar blocks, an integral feature of our new academic schedule.
The Discovery and Seminar blocks provide teachers the opportunity to create interdisciplinary and experiential projects and excursions — providing real-world experiences that ignite curiosity and creativity in our students, a key objective of our school’s strategic plan.
Here are just a few examples of the engaging learning experiences that transpired this past Wednesday:
- Ms. Miller’s Media Arts students learned about how mathematics often influences graphic design, specifically with logos. Some of the most recognized logos for companies such as Apple, McDonald's, and Nike were created using the Golden Ratio, a mathematical concept that creates a relationship between two quantities which is considered aesthetically pleasing when repeated. Students then used Adobe Illustrator to create their own logos using the Golden Ratio.
- Students in Ms. Colclaser’s Precalculus Honors class put their trigonometry knowledge into action to create a function that models the height of a Ferris wheel rider over time as the wheel rotates. They constructed their own model, and even made pipe cleaner passengers!
- Sophomores, juniors, and seniors in Mme. Bonnamour and Mme. Pechstein’s classes headed into Ardmore for an afternoon practicing their French speaking skills. They met with the owner of Délice et Chocolat, who provided insights into life as an entrepreneur and the process of creating treats for a pâtisserie. Students answered questions about a French story, discussed food and different specialities in France, and also enjoyed some delicious gâteaux!
- Seventh graders in Ms. Montano’s English and Ms. Nickols’ World Cultures classes brought Lois Lowry’s book The Giver to life as they simulated a Ceremony of Twelve, the novel’s pivotal rite-of-passage event. Each student was “assigned” a lifelong occupation by an Elder, signaling the end of childhood and the move into adult life. They reflected on their new positions in their diaries, considering potential challenges as well as what it is like to live in a community that does not privilege free choice and individuality. Finally, they “entered” the House of the Old to contemplate aging in foreign nations.
- Fifth graders embarked on a journey of “monumental” proportions in a cross-curricular activity that drew on their studies of engineering and ancient history. Inspired by the recent relocation of the 25,000-pound Penn Museum sphinx of Ramses II, Mrs. Fry and Mrs. White — with the help of Ms. Powers of the iTeam — challenged students to think as industrial engineers and research the sphinx, create a miniature design of the monument in the TinkerCad 3D printing program, and design a proptype of a simple machine to move it using recycled materials and a scale model of the Penn Museum setup. Once they complete their 3D printed sphinxes and machine prototypes, students will test their designs, reflect and respond to constructive criticism, and practice their journalism skills by writing a formal article about the event.
- Ms. Ramsey’s sixth graders embraced their inner artists as they designed Islamic tile arrangements as part of their Medieval History curriculum. Students created their own “tiles” with linoleum blocks and watercolor markers, emphasizing repeating patterns — a technique employed in Islamic art to symbolize the infinite nature of Allah.
We’ll be sharing updates throughout the year on the creative cross-disciplinary learning experiences during the Wednesday Discovery and Seminar block that happen in the hallways, in the classrooms, and out in the community.