With an air of enigma around at its commencement, the week-long Academic Fest was an opportunity for students to explore various areas of their syllabus’ subject matter in greater complexity, which comprised of knowledge that made them explore different facets of their assigned subjects. The Academic Fest, held in Middle School, from 28th January to 31st January 2020, comprised of individual learnings over the week and ultimately an exhibition of products and performances, displaying students’ learning across the week as well as the Academic year 2019-2020.
For Grade 6, two subjects were assigned – Physical Health Education (P.H.E.) and Sciences. Through these two subjects, the students also learned ways to make ‘best out of waste,’ or to upcycle different materials. Primarily, within P.H.E., the students brainstormed different ideas to recycle waste – including bricks, ropes, garbage bags, tires – into materials for games and activities, as “Fun with Fitness.” On the other hand, in the Sciences, the students were divided into two groups – “Trash to Treasure” and “Science Colloquium.” Within “Trash to Treasure,” the students upcycled discarded items, including metal waste, plastic waste, paper waste, and household waste. Meanwhile, “Science Colloquium” was further divided into four groups, wherein each performed a play about the power, privilege, and curse of new technology on the humankind, whilst pinning a global context, namely “Fairness and Development,” as the focal point. Ultimately, on the final day, the students of the nearby Gyan Shakti School, along with other students from Pathways, enjoyed the games created by the students through the P.H.E. activities. Followed by the activities on the Main Field, the students from the Science Colloquium presented their play on stage in the Panini Auditorium.
Grade 7 was assigned the Arts and Language and Literature. Within arts, the students were divided into 4 groups as per the separate art forms: dance, music, drama, and visual art. Each group undertook different activities. For example, within the dance group, the students learned various dance moves, including but not limited to the sashay, jazz square, cross ball change, and step ball change. Ultimately, the 3 performing art groups were put together to perform in the Assembly, whilst the visual arts group displayed their artwork in the fest. On the other hand, in the Language and Literature lessons, the students were divided into multiple groups, each exploring a different era of English literature through various activities like weird word games, quizzes, scriptwriting, opinion article writing, interview with famous literary figures, and much more. Along with that, another group comprised of actors who performed their self-composed parodies of the scenes from famous literary works across eras. As a result, the students learnt about renowned authors and their books, enhanced their public-speaking skills, and refined their skills of scriptwriting.
For Grade 8, the two subjects explored were Digital Design and History (Individuals and Societies); both subjects were also assigned a global context as the lens through which the subject would be explored, as Digital Design was bracketed with ‘Personal and Cultural Expression’ and History with ‘Identities and Relationships.’ Primarily, students were allocated different teachers, each with their own innovative learning outlook. Firstly, as part of the Digital Design classes, the students were introduced to Adobe Photoshop, which they used to edit pictures by changing their backgrounds, ultimately appreciating the fundamentals of the application. Subsequently, a productive class panel discussion was conducted, wherein around eight members of the class would speak about ‘Cyber Ethics’ and its impacts. Through the class panel discussion, also showcased as one of the final stage performances of the Academic Fest, the students learned why and how to be secure online. On the other hand, in History, under a specific era and topic assigned – such as Jazz in the 1920s – the students investigated and obtained evidence and other data to create a print newspaper, which would not only include factual articles but also jokes, puzzles, and analysis of pop culture, among others. Resultantly, the students became more familiar with the format of a newspaper and simultaneously learned about events of history that they would otherwise not have been exposed to in class.
Through the week leading to the Fest, students of Grade 9 spent their time in their respective Foreign Language (French, Spanish, or Hindi) and Mathematics groups, working on their panels and performances. Each subject was assigned a different global context and theme, under which students created their products: for Language Acquisition, the global context was ‘Orientation in Space and Time,’ within which the students depicted the role of their familial and cultural history on their identity and interpretation of language by creating collages, posters, poems, songs, among others, in relation to the theme and their Language Acquisition studies; for Mathematics, the global context was, ‘Scientific and Technical Innovation,’ within which the students were divided into different groups with different tasks of innovation, including but not limited to the research and development of dome structures, room designing, and planning of the bus parking lot. Through these projects, panning across the four days, the students explored their subjects in a novel and creative way.
Overall, the successful final presentation was appreciated by everyone who witnessed the event, including parents, teachers, and students. Along with the stage performance, decorative yet informative panels were put up in the form of the exhibition, all in a matter of merely 3-4 days, presenting the learning of the students through the Academic Fest. Conclusively, it can be said that the academic fest was an outstanding learning experience for all, allowing not only scholastic but also personal development as the students gained knowledge whilst spending more time with their teachers and peers.