During this special week of joyful discovery, Middle School students take part in unique mini-courses in lieu of regular classes. Students are offered a wide variety of subjects, and at the end of the week share their finished projects with the entire school. This is a highlight of the academic year!

2018 Focus Week Courses:

Painting History: Using Miniatures to Understand the Past

This course teaches students about history through the painting of miniature soldiers and civilians. The students paint realistic miniatures (25mm in scale), and learn about the time period the miniatures reflect by examining the dress, weapons, and tactics of that historical era. Students also discuss civilian life and recreate battles of that era making use of the miniature soldiers they have painted.


Students learn about film composition, shooting, and editing. Students apply these skills by creating a "Five-shot Film" and spend time analyzing a feature-length film. The course culminates in a mini-showcase where the "directors" debut their work for the other middle school students.

Paper & Ink Block Making

Each student chooses his or her own inclusions, colors, and materials to create or "pull" their own sheets of paper using a step-by-step process of making paper using organic materials and tools. Each student will design and create their own printing block, where a mixture of ink and paint is rolled onto the block and transferred to the handmade paper. The mirror image from the block can then be repeated in different colors and framed.


Calligraphy means “beautiful writing” in Greek. In this course, students learn the basic techniques of pointed-pen calligraphy (also known as Copperplate). Students become familiar with calligraphy tools as they learn to script the full Copperplate alphabet. They also study the history of scripts and letter-writing. Students will take home the supplies in order to continue to develop and use their skills beyond the classroom. Knowledge of cursive penmanship recommended.

Bioengineering & Robotics

This course teaches students the mechanics of the body and how engineers work to overcome the effects of injury, age and accidents on limbs and joints. The class will design and build working joints and prosthesis and use programmable motors to articulate joints. Students may also choose to look at the effects of weightlessness on an astronaut’s body and the devices used compensate for those effects.

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