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Upper School

Exploration Courses

Small enough and smart enough to truly personalize each learning experience.
Explorations courses are designed to immerse students and faculty in experiences and pursuits that inspire new interests, broaden skills, and sharpen awareness of the community outside of the classroom.  Rooted in academic and real world skills, they are designed on a pass/fail basis to encourage students and faculty to risk, to be playful, to venture into new territory such as the art of Beekeeping, forensics, sportscasting, personal finance, podcasting and more.  

Now a number of major activities--such as Robotics, Model UN, and Lamplighter, the student newspaper, yearbook and Math Team-- will be offered as Exploration courses, giving students reliable, ample time to research, design and compete. During Explorations, 

In the Upper School, Explorations will “share” the eighth block with the new Leadership, Ethics, and Development program on an alternating basis (Exploration courses will take place on Days 2 and 6; LEAD will take place on Days 4 and 8) and students can participate in one Exploration offering per term.

List of 19 items.

  • Cartooning and Doodling

    Students will have the chance to develop their own style and representation of the world around them as they work to create simple drawings and images.  The medium will be paper with pencil and pens.
  • Classic Books for Classy Kids

    Between battles and dragon training, what are Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke reading on the Game of Thrones set? Classics!  KH, 1984 by George Orwell; EC, Little Women. Why do they love the classics? For the same reasons we do. Curl up with one this fall to find out.  We will read, discuss, and explore creatively what makes us turn the pages of our classic picks. 
  • Community Connections

    Are you interested in learning more about nonprofit organizations, volunteerism, and the benefits of service? This program will be a mix of learning about the organizations in the greater Manchester area; as well as going out on a regular basis to perform volunteer work for some of these organizations. Some examples of where we will volunteer include New Horizons Soup Kitchen & Shelter, Families in Transition, and the ELL (English Language Learners ) classes at local elementary schools.
  • DSPN: Sports Journalism

    Students will report weekly on the US sports happenings for Nuts and Bolts, the school athletic webpages, community meetings, and other venues.  Students would be expected to interview coaches and student athletes to report on the various games that have taken place the week before.
  • Financial Literacy

    Meant to prepare students and provide them with good judgment to make financial decisions, this course aims to educate high school students on the value of money, and prepare students to be financially independent. From basic budgets to the fundamentals of investment and selecting college loans, we will learn to take control of our finances with the confidence that we will make good decisions to best set up our lives.
  • Introduction to Beekeeping

    Did you know that one in three bites of your food comes from the pollination provided by honey bees?  Did you also know that honey bee populations around the world are collapsing, a disaster that Albert Einstein warned would lead to our own civilization’s collapse?  The goal of this Exploration Course is to study how bees live locally on our campus. We will collect data from our hive and our campus, learning how we can coexist with bees in the hope that we can build an environment that helps them thrive.
  • Lamplighter: Foundations of Journalism

    In an exploration of the current state of journalism, and a practicum in the fundamentals of reporting and writing, we will read some of the best articles published today, comparing the way news events are covered by various reporters. Students will experiment with different genres such as breaking news, features, profiles, and opinion pieces.  Drawing on articles and photos contributed by the Lamplighter Activity Group, Exploration participants too will contribute articles to Lamplighter and collaborate on designing and laying out the magazine.
  • Low/High Ropes

    This class is designed to introduce participants to the low/high ropes course at DS. The course will cover the skills necessary to climb and belay using our outdoor rope course. The skills and information taught in this course will include: ropes course safety practices, basic knot tying, belaying techniques, intro to equipment, and terminology. 
    **If you sign up for this, you will be outdoors in all sorts of weather. 
  • Math Team

    Our goal is to challenge the current title holder for the top spot in NH--and we need more prep time and more participants to compete with this Goliath.  For those who want a challenge beyond math class, the math team presents familiar ideas and skills in a fresh, competitive, and challenging format. We will prepare for SMASH season and state championships.
  • Mind Masters

    Using reasoning, logic and a variety of reading sources, we will discuss the role the mind plays in our daily life as well as our future selves.  Visualizing your goals, persevering through challenging times, and taking care of the small things are all valuable skills that translate to success not only within school parameters, but in the outside world as well. We will develop habits to strengthen the strength of our minds.
  • Model UN

    This Exploration will teach students the basics of Model United Nations committee work as well as parliamentary procedure to prepare for their possible trip to the Harvard Conference. Students will prepare for and engage in a practice conference at Derryfield, including researching their countries, writing position papers and engaging in mock floor debates.   This mock conference will also serve as an audition for the opportunity to compete at the Harvard Conference. At the end of the Fall Term and at the beginning of the Winter Term, students will work collaboratively with faculty to research and prepare their individual position papers for their assigned committees to submit to the Harvard Model United Nations Conference.  
  • Moral Fibers

    We knit--and embroider-- to change lives.  Once we have mastered the fundamentals of various stitches and patterns, we each complete an individual collection to donate to a relevant charity of our choosing.
  • Outdoor Adventure

    We will learn and develop the skills and knowledge necessary to plan and lead wilderness adventures including, but not limited to, travel in the back-country, Leave No Trace ethics, map and compass navigation, hiking, camping, and rock climbing. We will actively explore outdoor resources, learn about basic safety and survival, as well as the leadership skills necessary to ultimately create and go on an adventure of our design and choosing.
  • Podcasting

    We’ll explore the art and craft of creating a podcast, from conception of an idea to production of a finished piece. Students will choose from any number of topics and create a narrative, conduct research and interviews, and compile and edit the audio recordings into one final product.
  • Robotics Team

    Our team, the Fighting Cougars, competes in the FIRST Tech Challenge. Each year a game is presented in September that involves a combination of basic challenges for a medium-sized robot to accomplish - moving, pushing, pulling, carrying - for varying amounts of points. Pairs of teams compete to get the most points. Our team comes with a large time commitment - in addition to Exploration block meetings, we have several Saturday meetings and scrimmages, leading to the state championship in early February. But there is nothing quite like it, and we espouse the FIRST values of Coopertition (competition with cooperation) and Gracious Professionalism.
  • Rugby Sevens

    A version of rugby played at the Olympic level, Sevens is a fantastic, welcoming, team building game that emphasizes support over individual performance, and coordination above all.  We will play “touch”, study tactics and history, and run around! All are welcome. **If you sign up for this, you will be outdoors in all sorts of weather. 
  • Start.AI: A Workshop to Develop Your AI Superpowers

    AI is changing the world as we know it and the pace of change will rapidly accelerate in the years to come, opening up all kinds of questions, challenges and opportunities related to how we live, communicate and work. Together, we will learn about some of the most important issues facing AI today and we will discover new applications of AI technology. Many of these tools are created in such a way that minimal or no coding is required!  
  • The Craft of Acting

    For students who are eager to learn the in-depth craft of acting, this first term will focus on classic modern American dramatists such as Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, William Inge,  and Eugene O’Neill. We will work toward and end with a major scene presentation. 
  • The New Yearbook

    Students will plan and complete the 2019-2020 yearbook over the fall and winter terms, taking photos, designing digitally, editing, and publishing. In the process, we will dive into in-depth discussions on how we might re-conceptualize and reinvent the Derryfield yearbook.  

The Derryfield School

2108 River Road, Manchester, NH 03104     p: 603.669.4524     f: 603.625.9715