, for boys in Class VI, is comprised of three complementary, 10-week courses taken in rotation. The studio art component, The Art of Construction
, is paired with Science Department courses, The Design of Life
, andEnvironmental Systems
. All three components take a “hands-on” approach, pairing rigorous academic study with frequent lab and studio activities that keep the boys on their feet and on the go.
In The Art of Construction, boys investigate architectural plans and models and use them to construct a full scale design. The principles of linear perspective, structure, support, and the formal elements of three-dimensional design are studied and put into practice. The course begins with a discussion of the forces of tension and compression in various arches (Gothic, Roman, Catenary), and group construction projects on campus follow. As a culminating exercise, boys produce a detailed design of a wood project using an established architectural style—i.e., Classic, Gothic, Modern. The boys are required to develop a portfolio of research and computer-aided design plans working toward a scale model and, finally, a finished wooden structure. Along the way, the boys consider various construction materials and techniques, and learn the proper use of hand tools to construct their project. Both structural integrity and aesthetic considerations are important in the final review and evaluation of their designs.
In The Design of Life, students study form and function in living systems. We investigate the nature of life itself, observing its remarkable unity and its incredible diversity. We consider how Darwin’s Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection accounts for these features of life and enables us to understand the exquisite design of cells, organs, and organisms. We develop an understanding of the nature of scientific inquiry by making frequent observations of organisms in the lab. We use compound microscopes, conduct dissections, and construct models and simulations to accomplish these goals.
Nature is interconnection. At its most basic, Environmental Systems is the study of this interconnectedness. As part of nature, humans have ignored, denied, and celebrated our inescapable bonds to the ecosystems of which we are members. Today, this is no different; only our recognition and celebration of our own connection to nature is of more imminent importance than ever before: The consequences of denying our powerful role within the natural world are as dire as they have ever been. In this course, students study the relationships between organisms and their environments. Students strive to understand our species as within, rather than outside of nature; from that perspective we consider the impact of human activity on the environment. Students research sustainable initiatives connecting humans to their respective ecosystems. We are outside frequently, using the woodlands on the R.L. campus as a living laboratory to introduce students to the tools and techniques of environmental science.