In Class This Week

On October 20, Mr. Kevin Van Dam’s engineering class visited the construction site of Suffields newest dormitory to see technology in action. Following the tour, students were able to ask questions of Director of Facilities Phil Cyr and representatives from FIP Construction. They were told that maximum student capacity in the dorm will be 20 if two of the rooms are triples. After asking about the most challenging aspects of the project they learned that many logistical elements were quite complicated, such as getting the concrete trucks into the proper space to pour the foundation given the steep location of the site.

The foundation itself took about three months to complete, from digging to pouring the concrete, and workers had some rain day delays during construction over the very wet summer. Students also learned that while this building was designed at the same time as Brodie Hall, there were some differences because the barn-style structure on Brodie existed and was part of Suffield’s Historic District. The school had slightly more design freedom with the new dorm, still working within the requirements of the Suffield Historic District. While slightly different, the dorms are essentially twins.

Over the next couple of weeks, ninth-grade students in history classes taught by Mrs. Beth Krasemann, Mr. Phil Hodosy, and Mr. Kevin Warnock are participating in mock trials about Columbus’s trek to the New World. Based on ideas from the book Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years, Mrs. Krasemann got the idea to divide the classes into groups, where each group has 3.5 minutes to defend why the people whose perspectives they are taking on made the choices they did. The unit focuses on seeing history from fresh perspectives. It is a high-energy, dynamic way to examine historical events, engaging students by allowing them to see the complexity of the past. By doing the talking themselves, instead of just listening, the students are actively learning in a setting that allows them to express themselves verbally.