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Oh the Places We Went: Middle School Experience Week Recap

Middle School Tuesday, 28 Mar 2023

At Roycemore, we believe that the best learning happens by doing. 

Through our commitment to experiential learning, we provide students at all grade levels with the opportunity to get out of the classroom and practice problem-solving in action. In Middle School, this takes the form of a Personal Passion Project (P3), a year-long process where students conceptualize, research, and work to answer a “How Might We?” question. Every student is encouraged to dive deeply into a subject that sparks their curiosity and creativity.

Roycemore’s P3 curriculum culminates in Experience Week, where Middle School students go on field trips, participate in service projects, and shadow professionals. This year’s experience week was chock-full of adventures across the greater Chicagoland area. Students had a wide variety of experiences, from the chance explore local businesses to answer the question “How might we get the best, most filling food in Evanston for the best price?” to an all-Middle-School field trip to Adler Planetarium that helped research the question “How might we get humans to Mars?” 

One of the most interesting things about the P3 curriculum is how students’ interests naturally begin to group together, especially as they refine their “how might we?” questions throughout the year. During this P3 cycle, a group of middle schoolers found themselves drawn to exploring animal advocacy and working to improve animal shelters. They began the week with a trip to the Skokie Animal Shelter, where they were able to see behind-the-scenes at the shelter and learn more about the staff who help run it. This trip helped them answer questions like “How might we help dogs in need by giving them a place they love” and “How might we help shelters with minor resources problems?” Interviewing staff members also showed students how they might get involved as volunteers or even how they might make this a career further in the future!

On Tuesday, the entire Middle School took a trip to Adler Planetarium and the Shedd Aquarium. Students working on projects having to do with animals and the environment explored different aquatic habitats and learned about different water-dwelling fish and mammals at the aquarium. Many of our students had questions about the environment, such as “How might we help with pollution from gas cars” and the aquarium provided them with an opportunity to see how their environmental topics intersected with other areas of science like biology.

At Adler Planetarium, students interested in technology, travel, and computer science had the chance to learn about the history of space exploration, see different types of spacecraft, and take a glimpse into the future. The learning they did at the Adler informed a variety of projects. For example, looking at the history of astronomy helped a student who was exploring “How might we improve world maps so that they are easier to use,” while interacting with the virtual reality exhibits showed a student wondering “How might I monetize my knowledge of computers” a career path as a museum curator. Most importantly, our students got to bond with their peers and have a great time while learning!

Students headed down to the Lincoln Park Zoo on Thursday, where they got to talk to zookeepers and visit some of the animals. This trip taught them about different types of habitats, animal conservation, and zoology. Some Roycemore students used the trip to answer more social-change-minded questions such as “How might we keep snakes from being turned into clothes,” while others got the chance to dive deep into a subject they are passionate about, like the student wondering “How might I become an expert on koalas?”

Finally, as our students prepared for their P3 Expo, a conference-style event where each student has the opportunity to present their findings, we had two smaller excursions. A group of students visited the Institute for Therapy Through the Arts and got the chance to ask questions about mental health, stress, and art. Another group took a trip to the Evanston Ecology Center. Students got the chance to see the impact that local organizations like the Ecology Center make in answering questions like “How might we help conserve birds in urban areas?” Both of these trips helped students make connections in their community and showed how small, local actions can have widespread impacts!

Each of these experiential learning trips offered our students a chance to dive deeply into their passions, be leaders in their own learning, and interact with professionals. Thank you to everyone who welcomed Roycemore students into your space this week!

To learn more about experiential learning in Roycemore’s Middle School, visit or visit us at an Admissions Event.

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