students work on an egg drop activityPhoto: May and Artemis work on their egg-drop design in 7th-grade Science class. 

Each day, students at North Country School take part in lessons and projects with potential real-world applications. This week our 7th-grade scientists were presented with the classic problem of the egg drop experiment: How do you keep an egg from cracking when dropped from increasing heights? The class experimented with padding, hard casings, and parachutes to see which options would best protect an egg in a gravity-induced crash. Meanwhile, our beginner builders in Culpepper Cabin class worked together to assemble and raise a timber-frame building that will become a new Camp Treetops cabin. The impressive structure is dedicated to former Camp and School staff members Karen and John Culpepper. The skills learned during these activities are similar to the ones employed by professionals that design vehicles and construct buildings, and we were impressed by the creativity, innovation, critical thinking, and cooperative spirit exhibited by our students as they tackled these projects together.

ACADEMICS

a compost math slidecompost math presentationa table group talks about compostTop: Math students give a presentation on compost. Middle: Compost data from the Town Meeting presentation. Bottom: A group discusses ways to minimize food waste. 

This week our 7th-grade Pre Algebra students finished a project they’ve been working on for the past several months with an all-school presentation. In an interdisciplinary lesson connected to the NCS farm, the group has been compiling data about how much food waste goes to our campus composter for each month of the past year. At Wednesday’s Town Meeting, the class analyzed their findings for our larger community before asking table-groups to brainstorm ways we can minimize our food waste during the months of the year when we send more of our food to the composter. 

an egg drop activityan egg drop laba math lesson slidea student draws on graph paperTop: An egg-drop test in 7th-grade science class. Middle 1: The 7th-grade science class drops an egg off the Turret roof. Middle 2: An Algebra II class learns about the Fibonacci spiral. Bottom: Melissa draws the Fibonacci spiral on graph paper. 

At the same time the 7th-grade math students were thinking critically about how we process food scraps on the NCS campus, those students were also taking part in engineering problem-solving in their science class. The group applied what they’ve been studying about gravity, forces, and impact in a lesson where they designed their own egg-drop cases. The eggs were dropped from three progressively higher distances, the last of which involved being sent to the ground from the roof of the Main Building. They then analyzed which design elements—padding, hard shells, parachutes, interior structure—prevented the eggs from cracking, and which designs remained intact while also protecting the unbroken eggs. Meanwhile, the older students in our Algebra II class applied their understanding of math and physical structures to the world around them during a lesson on the Fibonacci sequence. The Fibonacci sequence is a series of numbers in which each number is the sum of the two numbers that came before it. The class examined how the sequence shows up in nature in sunflowers, seashells, and Romanesco cauliflower, before drawing the spiraling sequence out themselves.

ARTS

students in front of an in-progress cabinstudents build a cabinstudents build a cabinstudents sing during council students sing during karaoke Top: The Culpepper Cabin group in front of the building frame. Middle 1: Students help install plates, which are the longest beams in the cabin. Middle 2: Students and adults on the Culpepper Cabin frame. Middle 3: Cynthia and Hansen sing at Council. Bottom: Mary and Laurie sing during Saturday karaoke. 

The students who have been working on Culpepper Cabin reached an important milestone in their efforts this past weekend—the on-site raising of the structure. Once completed the timber frame building, which was named in honor of former Director of Facilities and Sustainability John Culpepper and former Camp Director Karen Culpepper, will join the list of several other campus buildings that have living roofs that support the growth of native plants like wild strawberry and clover. We look forward to many years of campers and counselors enjoying the new addition to Camp Treetops!

It was also a great week for our enthusiastic student singers, with several opportunities for these music aficionados to raise their voices. 6th grader Hansen and 8th grader Cynthia stepped up to the challenge of performing for the school during Magical Musical Monday, while many of our other students were excited to sing their favorite songs during the Saturday Night Activity, karaoke. Everyone cheered one another on during the Council performance and fun evening activity, and we are always proud of our students for taking the spotlight in front of their peers.

OUTDOORS

the student basketball teamthe student basketball teama student plays basketballbasketball scoreTop: The student basketball team. Middle 1: Students talk strategy during the staff-student basketball game. Middle 2: Joel takes a shot during the staff-student basketball game. Bottom: The cheering section at the staff-student basketball game. 

Each year we hold several all-school athletic events based on the season, and this past week we took part in this year’s much anticipated staff-student basketball game. It was an exciting event, with students and adults cheering everyone on as players rotated through the game. While the adults ultimately took the win, the student team exhibited a high degree of skill—not to mention an admirable level of sportsmanship—throughout the exciting game.

a student gets a cookie awarda student group with cookie awardsa beginner camping groupa student learns how to slacklineTop: Matt gets a cookie award during the Skimeister award announcement. Middle 1: Students with their Skimeister cookie awards. Middle 2: Students on the beginner overnight trip. Bottom: Trianna learns to slackline. 

This week we also held the award ceremony for this year’s Skimeister competition, which took place at the end of the Winter Term. The awards—which are wearable chocolate chip cookies!—are given for races including freestyle, free-ski, cross-country ski, and alpine. Our winter athletes were thrilled to receive tasty medals for their achievements in skills they practiced throughout the snowy season. 

While our basketball players and skiers were being recognized for participating in some of their favorite activities, other students were trying out a few outdoor activities that were new to them. Our beginner overnight group, which consists of students who are newer to camping, hiked to a lean-to and practiced setting up camp, cooking an outdoor dinner, and sleeping in sleeping bags, while a group of students back on campus tested out their balance as they began learning how to slackline.

FARM AND GARDEN

talking about taking down sap bucketschecking and removing a sap bucket a student removes a tap from a treeTop: Kim talks to students about bucket and spile collection. Middle: Mariana checks and takes down a sap bucket. Bottom: Louis removes a spile from a maple tree. 

The maple sugaring season officially came to a close this week, and groups of students helped us end the delicious season with one last sap collection. The group met in the sugarbush in the morning to collect the final sap of the year before helping to take down buckets and remove spiles from the trees. It was a productive season, with 58 gallons of sweet syrup produced over the past month. Congratulations to our farmers and hardworking community members for a great sugaring season!

a student makes a soil block students seed in the greenhousea student with pigletsa baby pigTop: Coco makes a soil block. Middle 1: Students seed in the greenhouse. Middle 2: Vivián meets the new piglets. Bottom: A new farm piglet. 

Just as sugaring came to an end, we started several other seasonal farm activities. Over in the greenhouse, out-time activities and Edible Schoolyard classes began building soil-block trays and seeding this year’s crop of fruit, vegetables, flowers, and herbs. Once the seedlings are strong enough they will be transplanted into our outdoor garden beds. We also welcomed some new animals to the barnyard with the arrival of this year’s piglets. The eight-week old piglets are Berkshire, Hampshire, Yorkshire, and Tamworth crosses, and students were excited to meet the curious creatures as they settled into their new home.