Intensives are electives that provide an opportunity for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students in mixed-age groups to deeply explore an area of interest or a topic to which they might otherwise have limited or no previous exposure. Each intensive includes 6th, 7th, and 8th graders.
Intensives meet once a week for a double period for 8 to 10 weeks. There are three sessions during the school year. Intensives are led by middle school teachers or guest instructors.
Here are this fall's Middle School Intensives.
Advanced Magic: The Gathering - We will study and practice the more advanced aspects of the Magic: The Gathering trading card game by drafting and building decks. We will focus on statistics and probability in deck building and play strategy, mathematical and language concepts embedded within the structure of the game, and strategic thinking and resource allocation. All experience levels welcome, though a familiarity with the basics of the game would be best for this course.
End Extinction - Students will explore how the San Diego Zoo has contributed to recovery efforts of several at-risk species, including the African Elephant, California Condor, Desert Tortoise, and Polar Bear. By learning about and engaging in lab work based on current research being conducted at the zoo, students will broaden their understanding of their role in the conservation of animals that are currently under threat. The course will culminate in an animal behavior inquiry project in which students select and study an organism through a webcam. Projects will be shared on the final day of intensives.
Folk Dance and Music - Students will have the opportunity to learn basic dance steps and formations in addition to play traditional songs on ukulele, guitar, bass, violin, keyboard, washboards, and whistles while accompanying dancers. Everyone will get a chance to play and dance. All levels are welcome.
Journalism - It takes an inquisitive yet sensitive type of person to get information out of people. If you love to gossip or coaxed your older brother or sister into telling you where your mom hid the birthday presents as a kid, you’ll likely be a stellar reporter. This Intensive will review the job journalists do and the importance of their work. Come and experience the basics of being a journalist, it might help you to discover a new passion.
Let’s Organize! - Become a middle school activist fighting for solutions to gun violence in America. We will learn how to put our voices in front of voters - making sure they represent us when they go to the polls. We will organize ourselves into one of the first middle school groups to join Students Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Guest speakers will inform our work, and we will go to the Penn campus and Rittenhouse Square to lobby for action!
Photodelphia - What’s the difference between a selfie and a self-portrait? What makes an image “great”? Or “tear-inducingly fantastical”? In this intensive you will begin to form answers to these questions while exploring the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection. We will study basic principles and styles, as well the craft of photography - mastering control of the camera and photo editing to achieve the desired result. In this process, you will find your artistic voice as you chronicle the people and the places of Philadelphia that matter to you most.
Physics and the Life of Einstein - Learn about the life of Einstein though film and discussion. We will explore Einstein’s ideas and work through online resources (TedEd, YouTube, and others) and a few simple physics experiments. A final project will be to create a timeline of Einstein’s life, programmed in Scratch to make it interactive.
Science Board Games - Learn the basics of cell biology in active labs and through the board game Cytosis. Explore the underlying principles that get us sick and make us miss school. In the final project students will make their own cell models out of craft materials or with the free software Blender. We plan to include sessions with medical researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania.
Student Diversity Advisory Board (SDAB) - The SDAB engages students interested in diversity work at TPS and wishing to promote change from the student perspective. The inaugural year of the Intensive brought about policy changes and an increase in the number of student affinity groups. This term, while serving on the board, you will have a chance to provide feedback regarding what students want and need from faculty/staff, what they feel we are doing well, and what can be improved. Also you will have the chance to discuss current events and student-selected topics related to diversity and social justice. Join us to have your voices heard and continue to bring about change to our TPS community!
Visual Study of Beautiful Bugs! - This art intensive will focus on investigating the structures, colors, and patterns of a variety of common and exotic insects. Students will explore the intricacy of these fabulous creatures via photography, microscopic viewing and lots of hand-drawn rendered studies.
Yoga - Students will learn a combination of vinyasa yoga and restorative practices. Classes will combine mindfulness with traditional postures (including inversions) and basic anatomy. Aspects of yoga tradition will be covered as well. The final class will take place at a yoga studio in Center City. Students should wear comfortable clothes, such as yoga pants or warm-up pants.