Barnesville’s Middle School dedicates one full day each month to “Collaborative Days,” built around cross-curricular projects, hands-on learning, or field studies. October’s Collaborative Day combined hiking, art, and service on nearby Sugarloaf Mountain.
Before leaving campus, students viewed a portion of the documentary Rivers and Tides, which showcases the work of Andy Goldsworthy. Goldsworthy is a British artist who curates natural materials within the landscape, creating ephemeral works of art known as earth art. As students hiked up Sugarloaf, they looked for opportunities to create similar works of art, which were then photographed by each teacher.
At the top of the mountain, students worked in their advisory groups to create a collaborative panoramic sketch. Sitting in a circle, with their backs facing inwards, each student drew what they saw so when the drawings are pieced together, they create a 360-degree view. The completed panoramas, along with the earth art photos, will be on display at school.
After a lunchtime scavenger hunt for park-related items, teachers led students in a discussion about public service as it relates to sustainability and the environment. Groups made Social Action Plan posters describing what individuals can do to preserve natural treasures like Sugarloaf. These posters will also be on display with the artwork created during the day.
Barnesville School of Arts & Sciences is an independent private school in Montgomery County, Maryland offering innovative preschool through 8th grade programs. Cross-curricular teaching encourages students to explore how subjects relate to one another, helping them to make connections that spark inquiry and deepen understanding. Small classes enable skilled teachers to engage each child in an academically challenging environment. Our 50-acre campus is our extended classroom, and we integrate nature into everyday learning.