Full-Steam Ahead on Winter Term Planning

We are continuing to enthusiastically plan for Winter Term, which will be here before we know it!

Winter Term is an immersive academic program that fosters love of learning and intellectual curiosity, builds community, and empowers students to reflect and act.

“We can think of experiential education as a cycle of direct experience, reflection, analysis, and experimentation as opposed to a transmission of information from a teacher to a student,” said Dr. Sally Maxwell, Assistant Head of School for Teaching and Learning. “In experiential education, the teacher is the designer of the learning experience rather than the source of the learning. Since we are all directly experiencing life all of the time, if we can help students learn this way, we can give them more direct ownership over their learning and help them more deeply experience their lives. Even though we are always ‘experiencing,’ it is easy to be distracted, on our phones, or thinking about something else and miss the opportunity to learn and commit those lessons to memory and intentionally make them part of our understanding of the world.”

MICDS teachers and staff have been working on rolling out our first Winter Term for well over a year now. We have striven to create programming that values academic learning, personal passion/interest, community connection, agency, new pathways of instruction and assessment, and relevancy in an immersive, experiential framework.

We’ve known for years that our educators are smart, creative, and passionate. This comes through every day in their classrooms and beyond. Winter Term is giving them the opportunity to geek out even more about subjects they enjoy, and the space to share that enthusiasm with students. Here is a sampling of Middle and Upper School courses they’ve put together. Note: these courses may not be offered; it all depends on what students registered for!

Upper School

3-2-1 Blast Off

Explore flight by building helicopters, airplanes, kites, and rockets and flying a drone. You will engage with engineering design principles, properties of flight, and basic inferential statistics.

Cut, Press, Print – Printmaking

This class will introduce several printmaking media and techniques, including relief, gelli prints, linoleum plates, ez-cut, and serigraphy. Each technique will be investigated through demonstrations, in-class studio time to practice, and lessons designed to tie the history of printmaking to hands-on learning.

How Diet and Nutrition can Enhance Human Performance

Strength training and agility drills improve athletic ability. Studying and practice problems improve academic ability. What else can a person do to enhance their athletic and academic ability? Learn about food and its effects on the systems of the human body, through nutrition, diet, and human performance.

MICDS Congress

Have you ever wanted to write a new school rule for the Upper School? In this course, students will simulate the work of the United States Congress by proposing new school policies for the Upper School. Explore the legislative process at a deeper level by writing, collaborating, and debating proposed school policies in the hopes that they could be “signed into law” and take effect here at MICDS.

Rams Nation Sportscast

We might make SportsCenter’s Top Ten! Examine trends in sportscasting, such as preview articles, athlete features, play-by-play, and game-time articles before designing and planning the first episode of Rams Nation Sportscast. Schedule interviews, curate hard-hitting questions, and write commentary.


CIA. MI6. KGB. Immerse yourself in the top-secret world of espionage. What makes a great spy? What does it mean to be a secret agent and go undercover? What are the tricks of the trade? If espionage is about lying and deception, why is it a major part of international affairs? Just how accurate are those spy movies, anyway? Dig into questions like these and explore all things spy-related, from the history of espionage to real-life spies as well as fictionalized representations. Uuncover how spies learn to crack codes and create our own along the way.

The History That Influenced Star Wars

This course will examine and explore the real-life historical events, people, and societies that have influenced the fictitious and fantastical Star Wars Universe. Participants will ultimately create storylines for additional characters and settings that fit into the Star Wars Universe based on current and historical events, people, and societies.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about the hidden potentials of Winter Term,” said Chris Barker, Upper School World Languages Teacher. “What are some of the passions, hobbies, and connections that will bubble to the surface as students dive into their courses? I recognize that two weeks may not seem like much, but when I was in high school, my Winter Term experience was a trip to Honduras to work in a nutrition center for about a month. That trip was a pivotal moment in my personal development, and it was one of the things that set me on the path to where I am today. I’m really looking forward to seeing the hidden potentials of the MICDS community!”

Middle School

AppMakers Academy

Learn the essential skills to code your own mobile applications using key concepts such as block coding and user interface. Gain hands-on experience by creating functional prototypes. By the end of the class, students will have the knowledge and confidence to create working mobile apps of their own.

Law and Order: Who killed Pikachu?

Are you a true crime fan? Come help us solve a mystery! This course will require no prior knowledge and will include the science topics of chemistry, physics, and biology. Use your observation skills, collect evidence, and run experiments to analyze ink, blood spatter, fingerprints, tire tread, glass density, flammability, and other keys that will help you solve the mystery.

Mini MarComm

How would you like to be a part of the Marketing Department at MICDS and be in charge of Weekly News stories, Instagram photos, Tweets, Facebook posts, etc., about our Winter Term activities? If you like to conduct interviews, write stories, or take pictures, this is the course for you. By the end, you will be a published author or photographer!

Humans of MICDS

Are you familiar with the social media movement of “Humans of New York” and “Humans of St. Louis?” Are you interested in photography and storytelling? Develop your creative and communication skills while cultivating a deeper sense of unity and empathy within the MICDS school community. Through photography, interviews, and storytelling, capture the unique narratives of your peers, teachers, and staff members and share them via social media and/or other approved interactive platform(s) with your community.


Have you ever wanted to learn how to use power tools, 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC machines, vinyl cutters, or sewing machines? This is the place to do it! Maybe you already know how to use some or all of these tools and want to explore a project of your own, GREAT! By the end of the Maker course, participants will complete a project of their choosing using one or more of the tools described above.

A Brief, Fun History of the St. Louis Cardinals

Eleven World Series Championships, 18 National League Pennants, and more than 20 players in the Baseball Hall of Fame…come join this class on the incredible history of the St. Louis Cardinals and learn more about players such as Albert Pujols, Stan Musial, Bob Gibson, Ozzie Smith, and Willie McGee. Eat popcorn and Cracker Jack while watching exciting videos of the unforgettable 2011 World Series victory, and enjoy a Zoom call with a representative of the current St. Louis Cardinals baseball team—an announcer/broadcaster, sportswriter, or even a current or former player or coach!

Let’s Break Some Guinness World Records!

Are you competitive? Do you like challenges? Let’s work together to try and break some Guinness World Records! Possible challenges include: see how long you can keep two balloons in the air using only your head, who can build the tallest Lego tower in 30 seconds using only one hand, or how fast you can sort 30 M&Ms using only chopsticks! Ready, set, let’s go!

Relax, Reset, Re-charge!

The goal: Feel your best! This elective gives you time and space to tap into parts of yourself that you may not always have time to explore. Take time to read, journal, dance, sing, go on walks, play board games, and do other mindful activities that will hopefully bring joy and relaxation. It’s time to use our minds differently and feel re-energized to tackle the semester ahead. You will leave with a few activities and strategies that you know help you focus, re-energize, and feel your best.

“For me, Winter Term is going to give all of us, students and teachers alike, the opportunity to see and experience learning outside the traditional classroom,” said Dr. Jody Marberry, Middle School Teacher. “It gives everyone a more multi-dimensional perspective about the people in our MICDS community.”

Check out our Middle Students studying the course catalog and carefully selecting which experiences are most appealing to them:

Lower School

Lower School educators will preserve our current school day beginning and ending time while focusing on service learning in an immersive, mixed-grade level experience from January 3 through 5. We’ll begin with an opening assembly to kick off our special days, where we’ll focus on cooperation and understanding how we can give back to the community. The older students in each group can embrace leadership roles. At the end of our time together, we’ll gather for a closing assembly to celebrate all we’ve learned.

Laura Pupillo, Lower School Science Teacher, has been busy collaborating with her peers to create a unique, exciting experience. “One of the great things about Lower School Winter Term will be the opportunity for mixed grade level groups to work together,” she said. “Last year during Community Day, we tried out a morning with mixed grade level groups and new teaching teams. It was such a great way to get to know students and colleagues on a different level. The students enjoyed this time working with new peers as well. Returning to this model for Winter Term will be a highlight! In addition, we’re currently working on the theme of Celebrating Differences for LS Winter Term. We’re exploring community partnership opportunities and resources that will make our Winter Term week extra special. I have loved being part of the planning committee and working closely with such great colleagues.”

There are more courses in the MS and US curriculum, of course, plus lots of fun and exciting surprises for our Lower School students.

What’s next? Middle and Upper School students have registered for their preferred courses, selecting their multiple levels of choices. The excitement will only continue to build as they wait to hear which courses they’ll enjoy after winter break. Here’s to our inaugural Winter Term!