Mini Week Explores Nine Themes with Hands-On Learning Over Two Days

For several days in October each year, Calvert Middle Schoolers exchange academic subjects for hands-on experiences that range from outdoor adventures to artistic pursuits and off-campus field trips. It’s called Mini Week, and this year’s program – Wednesday, October 25, to Friday, October 27 – departed from previous years’ patterns to highlight nine specific themes. Divided between these subjects, the students participated in two full days of enrichment related to their cohort’s theme: performing arts, visual arts, culinary arts, STEM, environment, animals, fall harvest, government, or wellness.
In addition, all students enjoyed a grade-level field trip to Bretton Woods (Fifth Grade), Camp Puh’tok (Sixth Grade), or Gettysburg (Seventh Grade and Eighth Grade).
We hope you will join us in thanking organizers Angel Menefee and Becky Kinney, as well as all chaperones and group leaders, for making Mini Week possible.
Keep reading for a summary of each of the nine themes.
Performing Arts
Open to Fifth and Sixth Graders, the performing arts track featured activities with the Roland Park Country School dance team, which taught students basic choreography, a peek behind the curtain from the Baltimore Improv Group and Baltimore’s Center Stage, and an on-campus workshop with Go Compose. This was the organization’s first in-person workshop after serving students primarily online.
Visual Arts
Seventh and Eighth Graders in the visual arts track spent most of their Mini Week off campus, traveling to Baltimore’s Creative Alliance near Patterson Park, Graffiti Alley in Station North, the BMA Sculpture Garden, and McFadden Art Glass. At two of these locations, students had the opportunity to express their creativity through spray painting (Graffiti Alley) and glass blowing (McFadden). In addition, the group met with community artist Christopher “kolpeace” Johnson, whose name stands for “Kids Only Love Peace.” Kolpeace spoke with students about his soul portrait painting, which he performs live, and artistic philosophy.
Calvert Fifth and Sixth Graders worked to create aerodynamic pinewood derby cars that effectively utilized weight, shape, and more to race to the finish line. Throughout each step of the process, students discussed the factors affecting speed before competing in friendly races.

In addition to working with their cars, the students built different projects using basic code and explored elements of robotics.
Culinary Arts
Calvert’s future chefs showed their skills with activities that culminated in an off-campus class at Culinary Craft Workshop and a “Chopped” challenge in Castalia. On October 25, the group toured Howard Community College’s culinary facilities before baking their own rolls and learning the basics of food science. On October 27, the group practiced proper knife skills, cooking best practices, and how to use a wok effectively while making stir fry with Culinary Craft Workshop. The students later divided into two groups with four ingredients each for their “Chopped” experience.
Enjoying lots of time outside, the students in the environmental group participated in a day-long hike before also venturing to the Rawlings Conservatory in nearby Druid Hill Park. At the conservatory, students had the opportunity to explore the facility’s grounds and analyze the various collections of plant life therein.
This theme celebrated students’ love for all animals and featured a close-up zoo talk with an animal handler from the Baltimore Zoo. Earlier, the students also traveled to Catoctin Wildlife Preserve, where they took a truck ride around the facility’s campus, seeing and meeting various creatures from all over the world.
Fall Harvest
The fall harvest theme saw students get to work on two farms in Maryland, First Fruits and Gaver farms. During their adventures, the group toured each property, played carnival games, picked out pumpkins, and helped harvest potatoes.
The Seventh and Eighth Graders in the history and government track split their time between Annapolis, where they visited the U.S. Naval Academy and other nearby landmarks, and Washington, D.C., where they toured the Smithsonian Museum of American History. The group also had the opportunity to walk around the National Mall and see the monuments within the area.
Health and Wellness
Fifth and Sixth Grade students got moving with visits to the Under Armor Performance Center and a climbing experience at Movement in Hampden. At both locations and on campus, the students learned about functional movement and healthy living, and Movement offered them the opportunity to safely practice bouldering.
Calvert School is a coed independent lower and middle school.