Early space pioneers and the characteristics of Earth's neighboring planets were explored by Lower School students during the innovative intersession that Grades K-5 participates in each winter.
For three days, Bay Ridge Prep's youngest students team up in mixed-age groups to work on projects centered around a specific theme. With the solar system being the theme for 2020's intersession, students had the opportunity to calculate how much they would weigh on the moon, learn about each planet and research important figures in space exploration.
In addition to studying American astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins - the first humans to land on the moon - students also learned about Sally Ride, the first American woman in space; Guion Bluford, the first African American in space; Yuri Gagarin, the Soviet cosmonaut who was the first human in space; and Valentina Tereshkova, a former cosmonaut who was the first and youngest woman in space. Students also studied the triumphs and tragedies of human space exploration as the Apollo 11, Voyager and Challenger missions were talked about.
Intersession is based on the idea that, for a few days each year, the Lower School could become a one-room schoolhouse where faculty plan and execute a single school-wide curriculum, try new teaching strategies and share students from across the six lower grades. Intersession, which was featured in the NAIS e-journal "Independent Teacher" in 2016, also helps enliven the daily routine of the school day in the middle of winter. This year's intersession culminated with a division-wide trip to the Liberty Science Center for more hands-on learning about the planets.
Founded in 1998, Bay Ridge Prep is an independent, K-12 college preparatory school offering intelligent and compassionate education in a progressive academic environment.