We like to keep our students engaged when maximizing their creativity + character here at the Experimentory. While the full schedule keeps them busy all day, they still have a lot of fun. Media Proctor Abby Shepherd gathers student narratives about balancing of "the silly and the studious."
For every photo I have of students learning to code LED lights, edit music clips on Garageband, and design houses with architecture software, there’s another photo of students making pipe cleaner hats, creating an a capella group, and even arm-wrestling with Mr. Kelly.
|Tysean smiles while playing Sardines, a game similar to hide-and-seek, between clusters.|
Most people, even adults, find that balancing fun with work is a challenge. For our Experimentors, the creativity used in the cluster set-up and time spent doing activities with the proctors makes this balancing act easy. Megan has fun inside and outside of the cluster time. She believes she has the most fun while “creating new stuff that shows my own personality.” By being creative in class, she is “learning how to be more open-minded.”
|Peter and Amelie are focusing on their design in Architecture + Culture.|
For Lucy F., balancing fun activities and cluster time is easy. She, as well as the rest of the Theatre + Electronics students, are working on superhero projects, where they make LED light-up t-shirts and perform a skit as their superhero alter egos. “For me, it’s fun to make stuff up,” she said. While designing her own superhero, she’s started to code an Arduino and connect lights to batteries: “It’s fun and learning at the same time.” Being busy creating is beneficial to Lucy. She is glad we have so many activities because it keeps her from being homesick.
Megan and Lucy F. have the same favorite activity during free time. They’ve created a “Bug Club,” where students, proctors, and teaching fellows all get to make bug antennas headbands out of pipe cleaners and have tic-tac-toe championships. Megan’s favorite part of Bug Club is the creativity: “everyone has totally different and unique headbands. You’re having fun but still creating stuff.”
The field trips are Vincent’s favorite way to have fun, especially the ropes course and bowling. Vincent told me at breakfast: “In class we can also have some fun but when it’s time to work, it’s time to be serious. We mix it up.”
“Like playing Sardines,” Derek added. The rest of boys at the breakfast table laugh in agreement.
In the last seven days, it's become increasingly clear that our students don't need to work as hard to balance silly and serious in the way that many of us do. The Experimentory fosters exploration and discovery through the interdisciplinary clusters which create new and exciting ways to learn. But the best part about campus life is that the learning keeps happening even when classes are out of session. For Megan, Lucy F., Vincent, and thirty-seven other students here in Deerfield, the fun comes naturally, hand-in-hand with the education.