Students in grades seven and eight meet in activity groups
that they choose by term, such as the Forensics Team, the Math Team,
World Language Club, Poetry Workshop, Art Open Studio, Environmental
Club, and special offerings that have included building
Nashoba Brooks enjoys a partnership
with Mother Caroline Academy, a girls' school for grades five through
eight in Dorchester. Girls at both schools form friendships and develop
leadership skills by planning activities and joint community service
Beginning in fourth grade, with a
trip each fall to the Horizons for Youth Outdoor Education Camp, students
hone the skills and attitudes required to be successful group members.
Eighth graders spend a week at the Chewonki Foundation in Maine, reflecting
an emphasis on maturation of mind and character.
Annual trips to Ellis Island and,
pictured here, Montreal, are examples of activities that take upper
grades students far from campus to continue their studies. Closer
to home, the North Shore beaches, local farms, and the museums and
historical houses of Concord give all students the chance to extend
knowledge and interests.
A True Technology Tale
Technology Director Peter Antupit
offered the ultimate hands-on project to a group of seventh graders:
building three computers from scratch, or at least from smash. Their
account has some elements of a suspense story: a "devastating"
opening, a puzzle to solve, and a hero- maintenance technician Ron
Richards-who saves the day.
Rana : The first thing we did
was to learn about the parts of the computer we were going to build
and the different components that we were going to use.
Liza: We took apart old computers,
but the cases were so tight they wouldn't open. We had to smash them
with hammers. We did it outside on the blacktop. I liked that part
Ellie: Mr. Antupit ordered the parts, and when they arrived,
he explained what each one would do. We started putting everything
together-cemented on the fans, put cards on the motherboard-the memory
cards, the graphics card, the network card, and the sound card. Then
we populated the motherboard and got it ready to be hooked up to the
rest of the computer. You had to be careful-you couldn't touch it.
Rana: We had to sit with our feet in chairs because of possible
static. Mr. Antupit was concerned about the motherboard and about
Emily: Then we worked on the cables.
Everybody thinks there's something wrong with the cables, but they
are supposed to be twisted. This is because a long time ago a bunch
of engineers couldn't agree on how to put in the cables. They messed
things up, and they got twisted. Rather than fix the problem, they
just left it that way.
Rana: Mr. Antupit said this was because those people didn't
communicate. This is how every machine ever since has been put together.
Allie: It was confusing to tell
which ones went where. We had to do that by noticing how the spikes
on the motherboard and the holes on the ribbons matched up.
Emily [smiling at being asked
what the mass of colored things were called]: Hmm. Let me think. Wires!
That's the power. They came in bunches and fit in just one way. We
snapped them in.
Allie: The next part was putting
the hard drive in, and then the floppy drive, then the CD. It was
difficult getting the CD to fit.
Ellie: When we put the CD in-that was really hard. There such
a tight space we had to slam it into. To make sure that it stayed
there and wouldn't fall out or wiggle, we had to push the clips in,
and try to slide the CD in, but our fingers didn't fit between them.
We had to use screwdrivers.
Liza: We looked like freaks putting them in. Mr. Antupit, Ms.
Porrazzo, and Ms. Zacharis were all having to help.
Rana: And then, after all that,
we switched the computers on, but they didn't work. Ms. Porrazzo called
the company that sold us the computer parts, and other people worked
on the problem, but Mr. Richards figured it out. The memory cards
weren't aligned right. Even though they didn't work the first time,
it was fun to start the computers and see the blue screens. And then
when we got the problem fixed, we could say, "We built these
computers, and they actually work."
Allie: They are going into the
library, with plaques that say, "Built by . . ."
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