What Are Intensives?

Intensives are electives that provide an opportunity for middle schoolers in mixed-age groups to deeply explore an area of interest or a new topic of study. Classes cover a wide variety of subjects, ranging from creating comic book stories to learning how to lobby for a cause to how to be an entrepreneur through creating and promoting student’s own inventions.

During intensives, students have an opportunity to learn from experts outside of TPS as well. This week’s “The Play’s the Thing!” intensive featured guest speakers Courtney Riggar, Production Manager at The Arden Theater, and Adam Riggar, Director of Production at Annenberg Center for Performing Arts. This class is constructing the set for the upcoming TPS Shakespeare Festival in February. Courtney and Adam helped students brainstorm ideas by relating set design to art – explaining that sets are a three-dimensional space consisting of colors, shapes, and lines. They spoke about the importance of set design, emphasizing that sets “create a feeling, advance the story, and tell the audience about characters based on the space in which they occupy.”

Why ride someone else’s roller coaster when you can build your own? In the K’NEX Amusement Park intensive, students are applying STEM concepts to build their own roller coasters. They are currently building roller coasters using blueprinted prototypes, which once completed, will be used to test speed, weight, and angles. Students will collect data from these tests and work in teams to try and create the fastest ride.

Intensives are a wonderful opportunity for students to try something new. “I was intrigued by the idea of building an amusement park myself—it’s something I’ve never done before,” shared Elli, 7th grade. Elli is more interested in building roller coasters than riding them, but she does have a favorite ride – the wooden roller coaster at Knoebels Amusement Resort – that helps serve as inspiration in the class.

We look forward to seeing the finished results from these winter intensives! To see the full list of winter intensives, click here.