Middle school students took their learning on the road in mid-May, applying math, science, and analysis skills in real-world situations that reflected their progress this academic year. From Broadway to the Long Island Sound and Lake Compounce, students spanned the area for research and relationship-building as they prepared to move up.
Grade 6 had an especially active month, venturing to New York City to see “Aladdin" on Broadway and to Cove Island to explore the Long Island Sound at SoundWaters.
“The Broadway trip was great timing because we had just had our middle school musical,” said Sia Marvania ’29, who performed in the show “Beauty and the Beast.”
“Since the musical was right before we went to Broadway I was able to feel what the actors felt during the performance,” Sia said. “I really liked how I was not only able to think about what was going on in Aladdin, but also what was going on backstage.”
Staged in the New Amsterdam Theatre, Broadway’s oldest operating theater, “Aladdin” is a tale of integrity with a performance full of bold colors, rich culture, and original songs. It served as a vehicle for students to continue to explore the school’s essential question, “Who Am I?”
“It was really fun watching the professional actors, the whole ensemble was amazing, and the dancing was incredible,” said Penny Prince ’29. “It was remarkable how much we all relate to ‘Aladdin’ in the sense that people only see him for what he is on the outside instead of getting to know him and actually paying attention to his actions.”
This was Grade 6’s second trip to SoundWaters Coastal Explorers program this school year. There, students build upon classroom work researching life in the tidal estuary and applying concepts from biology, geology, and physical science.
“Their watershed curriculum allows students to connect with their local ecosystem - Long Island Sound,” said science teacher Lindsay Chiodi of King’s partnership with SoundWaters. “The trips reinforce background knowledge and experiences and build off important information as students live in this area and ultimately impact this ecosystem.”
The first trip, at the start of the year, served as a relationship-building venture as students entered the Middle School. SoundWater stations included canoeing, seining, invasive species data collection, and water sampling and testing. The recent trip served as a follow-up and allowed students to connect the work they've done all year and prepare for biology in Grade 7. They ventured out on the Sound in canoes, studied animal adaptations and horseshoe crab anatomy, and built a filter.
“The fall Soundwaters trip helped with the understanding of the watersheds,” said Sia. “I loved net fishing. I wish we had done more of it on the second trip. This time, I learned how to purify water with sand, gravel, and soil. I especially loved canoeing.”
Grade 8 set out to apply their classroom physics lessons to the forces at play in the Lake Compounce amusement park based in Bristol, Connecticut. Students selected up to three rides, timed them, and then calculated potential versus kinetic energy. They conducted their research by observing and, if they were adventurous, taking the rides.
“This trip tied into their study of physics, including motion, energy, and energy transformation,” said science teacher Katie O’Connor. “Students were also able to tie in their math skills to solve the problems. The purpose was to give students real-life examples of the things they have been learning in math and science.”
After they were finished with their work, students enjoyed the park.
“It was the first time this trip has ever been run, and students were so wonderful about it,” said O’Connor. “It was so fun seeing them run around the park and go on rides.”