Spring Semester Deep Dives offer young learners the opportunity to dig into a subject in a comprehensive and thrilling way and set them on a path to develop their intellectual and personal identities.
Co-created by middle school students and the teachers who have led them through their first semester Explorations, Deep Dive courses in the Humanities and Sciences are carefully crafted as portals into fascinating fields not usually explored at the middle school level.
Past Deep Dives and Deep Dive concepts have included: a thrilling examination of astronomy and the many mysteries of outer space; a forensic science course that offers a comprehensive introduction to DNA; an in-depth, hands-on exploration of mechanical engineering that results in the creation of a student-assembled engine; a philosophy, psychology, and history hybrid class that examines and artistically conceptualizes Noetic structure, addressing the question of how people make decisions; a world mythology class that challenges students to study, perform, and share both pre-existing and original myths; and an exploration of the ethics of a workforce of sentient robots.
These semester-long courses combine the best of Project-Based Learning and Experiential Education: students delve into a collective learning adventure based on a real-world problem requiring creative solutions. Areté’s first middle school class, for example, tackled the challenge of creating a new, green, recreational space within the busy urban environment of West L.A.
To successfully complete their Quest, students harness skills of inquiry, analysis, collaboration, communication, imagination, research, and exploration. Crafted by the students with the aid of faculty mentors, a Quest culminates in a meaningful, student-driven solution presented to the school community and outside experts. Quests equip our students to grapple with authentic issues and real-world problems by parsing through information to craft thoughtful analysis and useful recommendations – some of the most crucial elements in the twenty-first century toolbox. As with all Areté coursework, Quests are designed to reinforce the skills, knowledge, and self-awareness needed to create passionate, autonomous, lifelong learners.