MORRISTOWN, NJ - The Peck School’s second annual ‘MiniMester’ explores what learning can look like for Peck's Upper School students (Grades 5 -8) during a week partially dictated by standardized testing.

MinMester—a weeklong design-intensive learning experience stimulating creativity, resilience, collaboration, and critical thinking—engages students in a variety of project-based activities.  During MiniMester week, students take scheduled routine assessments in the morning, and spend the rest of the day immersed in a world of inquiry, inspiration, trial and error, and fun.

“We believe that using post-testing time for dynamic, project-based learning to stretch students’ brains and skills beyond a traditional classroom approach is energizing and refreshing,” said Daisy Savage, Head of the Upper School. “The projects they will participate in require their math, science, writing, research, and computer skills, as well the kind of intensive collaboration, out-of-the box thinking, and creativity that fosters the growth mindset necessary in today’s world.”

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This year’s MiniMester includes single day and multi-day experiences for teams of students grouped by grade.  Over the course of the week, eighth graders are constructing elaborate Rube Goldberg machines, while seventh graders are producing silent film vignettes to communicate a Core Value without words. Fifth graders are studying and re-creating old-fashioned pinball machines, and sixth graders are designing and building ‘chariots’ that their team must race in an obstacle course.

Students also rotate through single-day projects, which have teams following in the footsteps of Alexander Graham Bell to construct tetrahedral kites; collaboratively designing a theatrical poster to promote the school’s upcoming winter musical; prototyping a shelter to fit the maximum number of people with limited materials; and taking inspiration from the Apollo 13 mission to design and safely parachute a vessel (carrying marble ‘astronauts’) from a second-floor drop.

All Upper School parents are invited to an assembly on Friday, January 27th, to watch students present their takeaways from the week’s activities.