Launched in 2010, Interim Term is a signature Mount Vernon program offering Upper School learners opportunities to explore personal interests, integrate disciplines, and gain global perspectives. Each year, the week before Spring Break while the Upper School students travel near and far on small group trips and participate in local Internships, our Middle School students also participate in group trips and activities that strengthen their relationships and expand their learning through hands-on experiences and curated expeditions. These opportunities reinforce classroom learning while giving students a preview of the exciting Interim travel opportunities available to them as they move into the Upper School.
Grade 6: Community Building & Orienteering in North Carolina
Grade 6 students are heading to Hendersonville, NC to attend the Mountain Trail Outdoor School (MTOS) for an exciting community-building adventure. MTOS is uniquely positioned in the Southern Appalachian region, allowing students to explore one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems. The experience at MTOS not only teaches students about environmental science but also builds their self-esteem and community skills through various adventure education activities. The trip to MTOS will be the perfect opportunity for students to learn, grow, and make meaningful connections with their peers and the natural world.
Middle School Science Teacher and two-time trip leader, Carolyn Edwards explains some of the mission-allied student benefits, “This trip is all about team building and inclusion. The minute we arrive, we assign each student to a group and change those groups after each get-to-know-you activity. We do ropes courses, puzzles, and design challenges. They learn how to use a compass and study orienteering, canoeing, climbing, and campfire starting. Community-building is a theme in Middle School. We set the tone in Grade 6 with this trip so they can continue to build on it through their time here. Our goal is not to change friend groups but to have the kids get to know and respect everyone.”
Grade 7: STEM Activities in Boston, Massachusetts
Grade 7 will engage with engineers, tour landmarks and participate in hands-on learning throughout this historical New England city. They will take in all Boston has to offer including:
- Participating in a science scavenger hunt at the Museum of Science
- Learn hands-on engineering techniques while assembling a robotic helicopter
- Engage with a group of engineers during a STEM tour of Fenway Park
- Test their problem-solving skills at the Boda Borg escape room
- Study the life of researchers and engineers during an MIT STEM tour
- Journey through time and discovery at the Harvard Museum of Natural History
David Song, Middle School Math Teacher and five-time trip leader for the Grade 7 Boston trip, shared his thoughts on the students’ experience, “The students don’t just enjoy spending time with teachers outside of school but also find the sites and experiences enjoyable and educational. The trip connects to their curriculum, be it through historic walks along the Freedom Trail or using logical reasoning at the Boda Borg escape room. Over the years, students have received a great deal of knowledge and have had a memorable experience in the city.”
Grade 8: Global Citizenship in Washington, D.C.
Grade 8 students are visiting Washington D.C. where they will gain insights and perspectives on US history, and what it means to be an engaged global citizen leader while visiting monuments and museums like:
The students will also have some fun with a dinner, music, and dancing cruise on the Potomac to George Washington’s Mount Vernon.
Middle School Learning Coach and Washington D.C trip leader, Allyson Campbell agrees that the best way to cement knowledge learned in the classroom is by supplementing it with real-world application, “Education beyond the walls of our classroom is where the real learning happens. It’s no longer something we just read about, it’s our chance to live it in the present. It’s always such a blessing to take our Grade 8 students to Washington, D.C., and watch them learn and explore.”