a student on a mountaintopPhoto: Adela enjoys the sunny summit of Wright Peak. 

One thing students come to learn during their time on our mountain campus is that there really isn’t such a thing as a “typical” winter day here in the Adirondacks. Some days bring frigid temperatures, blustery winds, and views impeded by thick layers of fog, clouds, or snow. Others grace us with sunshine, clear skies, gentle breezes, and vistas of mountaintops that transition from pure white to beautiful alpenglow as evening approaches. While we embark on outdoor adventures in all sorts of conditions, those that take place on bluebird days always feel like a gift to be celebrated and relished. This past weekend our students explored the surrounding region under bright, sunny skies and mild temperatures, with one group hiking to the summit of Wright Peak—one of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks—where they enjoyed a spectacular view of the surrounding mountainscape. It was an ideal day for outdoor recreation, and one our avid hikers will surely reflect back on with a smile. 


students learn about math using a guitarusing a guitar in math classa math graphTop: Garth teaches a math lesson using a guitar. Middle: Looking at string vibration and tone. Bottom: Drawing a vibration graph. 

Pre-calculus class is learning trigonometry, and this week the students took part in a hands-on lesson by modeling the displacement of the center of a guitar string after it has been strummed. The group estimated amplitude, frequency, and the rate of exponential decay before applying those estimates to their periodic function. The class then graphed the data to visualize how the vibration of the string diminished over time. They also looked at how string length, tension, and mass affects the frequency of string vibrations and therefore the pitch of the note being played.

a class participates in the pizza debate lesson students participate in a pizza debatea pizza topping listTop: The 9th-grade Global Issues class holds their pizza debate. Middle: Melissa represents “Blue Cheese” during the pizza debate. Bottom: The toppings list for the pizza debate. 

Our 9th-grade Global Issues students took part in a yearly activity that allows them to learn about serious world issues in a fun way. The annual pizza debate lesson tasks each student with representing a pizza topping of their choice in a mock Model UN session that is designed to allow them to practice rules and procedures used in the United Nations. The practice simulation requires students to work collaboratively to craft a “perfect pizza” that represents the wants and needs of different delegates, which are represented by their preferred toppings. After practicing these skills within a less serious framework, the class will apply what they’ve learned to their authentic Model UN session, during which they will represent real nations around the world and discuss many of the human rights and environmental issues that affect people each day.


Top: Ellen talks to the 4th- and 5th-grade dancers. Middle: Students perform their airplane dance. Bottom: An airplane dance. 

Our 4th- and 5th-grade dancers have been working on the pieces they will be performing during the last week of the Winter Term, and we loved seeing their hard work come together as they rehearsed in class this week. The performance is based on the concept of a magic airplane that takes travelers anywhere they desire, and it will incorporate some of the students’ memories and dreams that are connected to their Winter Breaks. The different pieces include a basketball playoff, virtual reality tag, a snowflake dance, a speed skating contest, and a classic skaters waltz. Each performance will showcase the unique, creative visions of the different dancers in the group.

a student works on her zine a student looks at her zine a zineTop: Ivy works on her zine. Middle: Laurie looks at her zine. Bottom: Laurie’s in-progress zine. 

Meanwhile, students in our photography program are finalizing the humorous zines they’ve been working on over the past several weeks. Their zines–which are magazines that are generally self-published in very small numbers–center around comedic concepts that are depicted with original photographs and designed and edited using Photoshop templates. In their upcoming classes, students will look through one another’s funny zines during a structured class critique.


students hike on a mountaintopa student looks at a vistastudents on a snowy trailTop: Owen and Oliver hike up Wright Peak. Middle: Owen points at the surrounding mountainscape from Wright Peak. Bottom: Adela celebrates completing her NCS Challenge on Wright Peak. 

It was a gorgeous weekend for hiking, and one that brought with it exciting achievements in the outdoors! This Saturday one of our trip groups celebrated the season with a hike up Wright Peak. The young hikers enjoyed the thick and fluffy snow that covered the trail, and on the wide-open summit they celebrated 9th-grader Adela’s completion of the NCS 10 Challenge. Completing the NCS 10 Challenge requires hiking the 10 highest points visible from the North Country School campus, and students who complete the lofty goal are invited to sign their name in the official NCS 10 book. Congratulations to Adela for adding her name to the list of NCS students, faculty, and staff who have achieved this fun goal!

students on a mountaintopvisiting the ice palacestudents cross country skicross country skiingTop: A hiking group on Baker Mountain. Middle 1: Cat and Joel visit the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival ice palace. Middle 2: The cross-country ski team practices in the Garden Pasture. Bottom: Wyatt cross-country skis in the Garden Pasture. 

While one group hiked up a local 4,000-footer that is part of both the NCS 10 and Adirondack 46ers, another ventured up Baker Mountain, one of the Saranac Lake 6ers. The Saranac Lake 6er Hiking Challenge is a group of shorter hikes that offer more accessible options to those who love the outdoors. From the cliffs near the summit of Baker, students were able to take in the views of Lake Flower, Lower Saranac Lake, and the village of Saranac Lake. The group also visited the town itself, where they explored the Winter Carnival and the ice palace that is built each winter using ice blocks cut from the lake, this year embodying the theme of “Creepy Carnival.”


the hay delivery grouphelping unload hay in the barnstudents help with a hay deliveryTop: Students help with hay delivery at the barn. Middle1: Students help stack hay. Bottom: Ryan and Val wait for hay. 

This week our students had the opportunity to help our farm—and to embody our ethos that “many hands make light work”—during two different afternoon out-time hay deliveries. Students met in the barnyard, where they helped unload the heavy bales from the hay elevator and stack them in piles up in the barn loft. The bales will be used over the next several months to feed our horses, sheep, and goats, and to line our chickens’ nesting boxes to cushion the birds as they lay their eggs.

students look at labels in the grocery storestudents learn about food pricesa student weighs a chickTop: Eleanor, Hansen, and Wyatt look at prices in the grocery store. Riiley and Bennet look at produce prices. Bottom: Rosalie weighs a chick during Edible Schoolyard class. 

As part of their unit on food systems, our 6th-grade Edible Schoolyard students have been learning about the many steps that bring food to their plates, and the varying costs associated with different types of food sourcing. This week the class ventured out on a field trip—to the local grocery store! Students investigated the prices of various foods that are often considered staples, and thought critically about affordability, transportability, and ease of storage of those foods. Meanwhile the older students in our elective Edible Schoolyard class helped the 4th-graders with their ongoing data collection project during a visit to the chicks both classes incubated earlier in the term. Each chick was weighed, which students have done periodically since they hatched, and their growth has been recorded as part of the younger students’ science and math lessons studying mean, median, mode, range, and graphing.