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7th Grade Deep Dive Week

7th Grade Deep Dive Week
Sophie Shulman

During the spring, 7th grade students participate in Deep Dive Week—instead of their normal schedule of math, English, history and science, students engage in intensive, interdisciplinary, and project-based learning “mini-courses” centered around a specific topic or theme. “We intentionally create interdisciplinary experiences as much as possible for students,” says Dave Hickman, Head of Grades 5-8. “In addition to these kinds of projects being integrated into curriculum throughout the year, Deep Dive Week is a chance for students to work in a different mode, away from their normal classes and their normal schedules.” 

The courses offered during Deep Dive Week change with each year, inspired by what’s happening in the world around us. Students begin their course on Monday and share what they’ve learned in a public Expo on Friday of the same week. Courses feature elements of project-based learning, such as student choice, sustained research, and a hands-on component. Courses also offer students an opportunity to journey out—to explore the world—or journey in—to explore themselves. 

This year’s courses are:

Mark Day Central Kitchen

During this deep dive, we will shop for, cook, and deliver healthy, freshly cooked meals to our San Rafael neighbors who are experiencing hunger. You may be surprised to learn that there are countless people in San Rafael without enough food to eat. You see, cooking for a person who does not have enough food is not just a meal that keeps hunger away—it’s a plate of hope. Join us if you love to cook, want to have fun, and make a difference!

Math-Music Connection

Ever noticed how much math is in music? Consider the patterns, counting, rhythm, scales, intervals, time signatures, and frequencies embedded in music, and the math associated with the tones/pitches/notes heard when playing an instrument! In this course, we’ll briefly explore these math aspects of music. Then, we’ll craft our own instruments based on the math of sound waves we discover. Finally, we’ll perform music using those instruments.

The Room Where it Happens

Join us for a four-day intensive class bringing a few Hamilton numbers to performance readiness. We’ll explore character, connection, diction, timing, and the power of simple but beautifully synchronized choreography. You’ll pull costumes and props, and craft simple sets. These design elements elevate our performance and create a complete experience for our audience. The choice of songs largely depends on the teachers, who will also take in your input. Get ready for a magical, demanding week of fantastic theater that will make you want to sing, “Look around, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now.”

Take a Hike!

Discover the trails and nature of our local environment—especially areas nearby to the school campus. Each day, we will begin with a hike to a local area, some of which will be walkable directly from school. We’ll bring snacks, water bottles, and our sense of curiosity and adventure. We’ll get to know our local ecosystem in an up close and personal way, guided by your teacher’s passion for and deep knowledge of the environment. In the afternoon block of each day, following our hike, we will engage in research about our local areas and develop some highly creative expressions of what we have learned in our wanderings.

Game Design

In this course, we will take a deep dive into playing and designing games. From role playing games, to sports, to board games, and beyond, we will learn about different types and formats of games, learn how to build games (both physical and digital), and then test our games inside and outside of the classroom! By the end of the course, you will have deconstructed games to learn about their structures and utilized several product design methodologies to develop a new game and document all of the elements of your game.